Last year was a big year for Celtic & Co. The brand celebrated its 30th birthday and received its second Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade. What’s more, as people in lockdown sought out its comforting all-natural knitwear and sheepskin slippers, Celtic & Co also saw sales soar by 60 per cent.
Based in Newquay, Cornwall, Celtic began in 1990 when Nick and Kath Whitworth decided to buy a small boot-making business, with just seven pairs still in stock. They taught themselves to sew, developed their iconic sheepskin boots and became the Celtic Sheepskin Company. Today, rebranded as Celtic & Co, the company is an extraordinary success story. It employs over 50 people and sells its range of products, from footwear and coats to accessories and luggage, across the world. The brand is confident that the level of growth it saw last year will continue into 2021 as more and more people discover its products.
Celtic & Co is passionate about British manufacture and is proud to continue to make its sheepskin slippers, boots and accessories in Newquay. These home-produced items still make up over a quarter of the business and will always be at the heart of what it does. All its other pieces are sourced from as close to home as possible, with 75 per cent of all products British-made. ‘Post- Brexit and post-Covid, “Made in Britain” will be even more important to our customers, who want to be reassured by quality and craftsmanship, ‘says co-founder Kath Whitworth. ‘Our customers tell us how important it is to support British brands and that it can be difficult to find British-made products, so we’re delighted to be providing them.’
Celtic & Co curates five catalogues a year which, says Kath, its loyal customers can’t wait to receive. The brand also engages with new and existing customers via digital and social platforms as well as by email. It now has loyal customer bases in many other countries, including Australia, Germany and Canada, plus a growing number of boutiques that stock its collections.
Since 1990, Celtic & Co has been at the forefront of the slow fashion movement, crafting products from natural sustainable materials, which are designed to last a long time. The brand’s mission is to strive for a better fashion future. ‘We continually seek out new ways to improve, always keeping the conversation open with our customers about where we feel we could do better,’ says Kath. In 2021, the brand will focus on working with knitwear suppliers to increase its use of recycled yarn. It also plans to up its use of digital technology to reduce its carbon footprint, using digital CADs instead of supplier samples and continuing to use Zoom rather than travelling for meetings.
Celtic & Co has built its brand around 16 key circular principles, which include repairing and resoling services, to increase the longevity of its products. In 2021 the brand will strengthen its rejection of disposable fast fashion and stay true to its Great British values of quality, craft and purpose.