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The Barbour Beginning
The Barbour story begins with John Barbour who was born in 1849 and raised on a farm in Galloway in West Scotland, the second son of a family whose links through history can be traced back to the 14th century.
At the age of 20 he left the farm to try his luck across the border in the north east of England where in 1870 he started business as a travelling draper. A year later, he married his childhood sweetheart, Margaret Haining who bore him 11 children and gave him the encouragement and belief to start J Barbour & Sons in 1894 in 5 Market Place, South Shields.
The shop sold all manner of products loosely described as drapery including outerwear, boiler suits, painterís jackets through to underwear, and, in the flourishing town of South Shields the shop which became known as ĎBarbourís,í thrived successfully. Almost from the first, Barbour derived an important part of its income from the shipowners, ship builders and seamen of the port, supplying Beacon brand oilskin coats designed to protect the growing community of sailors, fishermen, river, dock and shipyard workers from the worst of the weather.
Today Barbour's headquarters are still in Simonside, South Shields. Although it sources products from around the globe, wax jackets are still manufactured by hand in the factory in Simonside and each year over 100,000 jackets are processed via the central, subsidiary and local customer service operations.
There are now over 2,000 products across the two seasons and the collections now also cater for Ladies and Children .
Barbour now has 8 of its own retail shops in the UK, and a presence in 29 countries worldwide including Germany, Holland, Austria, France, the United States, Italy, Spain, Argentina, New Zealand and Japan.
Broadening out from its countrywear roots, today the company produces clothing that is designed for a full country lifestyle. As well as jackets and coats, the Barbour wardrobe includes trousers, shirts, socks, midlayers and, knitwear, much of which is produced in its own factory in Galashiels. Recently the brand was tipped as one to watch as younger customers discover Barbourís unique benefits.
Nevertheless, in whichever area the company now operates, it remains true to its core values as a family business which espouses the unique values of the British Countryside and brings the qualities of wit, grit and glamour to its beautifully functional clothing.