Hunter Wellies – A British Success Story

A pair of wellington boots doesn’t sound remotely like a fashionable accessory that people aspire to owning. Normally associated with wet, rainy days and muddy fields! However, a British company are transforming this unfortunate image into a true designer fashion brand for the 21st Century. Hunter wellies have been produced since the 1850’s and despite a somewhat difficult journey over the years they are finally beginning to flourish.

In the mid 19th Century, an American businessman arrived on the shores of Scotland with a mission. He wanted to find a manufacturing plant for his boot making business. He quickly found a property block and began converting the buildings to accommodate his needs. The company he founded was known as the North British Rubber Company and started off it’s existence with only four staff. Twenty years later the number of people on the payroll leaped to over six hundred!

Around 1914-1915 the company was asked by the British Government at the time to supply the Armed Forces with footwear capable of enduring the dreadful conditions suffered by soldiers in the trenches. Despite the war being a horrific conflict it’s true to say that the war led to a significant upturn in profits for the business as over one million boots were supplied to the Forces.

Again during the Second World War the company was asked to provide footwear for the soldiers as well as gas masks, life vests and other rubber based equipment necessary to the army.

The company continued to thrive but was still very much seen as a functional item of clothing rather than something that had any fashion appeal to it.

Nevertheless, these boots were still widely used and became synonymous with wellington boots. In those days if you owned a pair of wellies then they were probably made by Hunter. Even the Royal Family used them and the company were proud to be able to display a Royal Warrant of Appointment on their products.

A combination of factors led to the company experiencing severe financial problems in the early part of the 21st Century. Manufacturing costs increased significantly which put a strain on the company’s cash flow. As with many British manufacturing companies at that time and before it became increasingly difficult to maintain a manufacturing base in the United Kingdom and so the company started looking at options abroad such as the Far East.

This proved to be a masterstroke as production costs became more reasonable and the company started building upon it’s brand name.

Hunter wellies started to be worn by festival goers at major music festivals such as Glastonbury which in turn made the brand familiar to a whole new generation.

Today, the Hunter boot is not only functional but is becoming something of a fashion brand in it’s own right!


Source by Marek Kamella