A Cheltenham-headquartered clothing brand has seen turnover jump by 300 per cent in 2021 after opening its first shop in the town – and an American depot to cope with overseas demand.
Using classic films, iconic actors and vintage designs as inspiration, &Sons’ clothing has caught the eye of a niche market, and its new ‘experiential’ Clarence Street store has proved a shrewd move.
James Cowdale, a partner in the business founded by Gloucestershire-based photographer Phil James five years ago, said: ‘We have had a lot of interest as word has spread, and huge growth in the United States.
‘We have just opened a distribution centre over there and hope to have a store open in the near future.
‘We forecast turnover to double again in 2022 and we tripled head-count in the last 12 months.’
The brand’s business model relies on its online store, but customers are enjoying being able to visit its stylish Cheltenham shop to try on clothing, then pay and order for next day delivery.
It is a model that allows the fledgling business to keep a handle on costs, ensuring it only orders what it needs from the British designers and manufacturers it supports, has no returns, and does not need to use expensive warehouses to store its stock.
‘The idea for the business came from Phil. As a photographer, he needed clothes that were functional and hardwearing, but smart enough so he made the right impression at the client-facing meetings sandwiched between photoshoots,’ said Cowdale, who also runs design agency Third Floor Designs.
A fan of showbiz icons like Steven McQueen and James Dean, he began seeking British designers and manufacturers who could produce what he was after – and the &Sons clothing range was born.
From carver jackets and British wool cardigan to handmade boots and baker boy hats, the collection is designed to be durable and long-lasting and made to fit all seasons.
By Andrew Merrell