Ulster Weavers, the 140-year-old textile manufacturer from Northern Ireland, is going through its biggest change in generations as it repositions its business as a contemporary homeware brand targeting the millennial audience.
The company, which has customers in 50 countries, is introducing new contemporary kitchen textile and homeware collections that are inspired by the places and culture of Northern Ireland as part of the major brand relaunch.
Ulster Weavers has its roots in Northern Ireland’s famous linen industry, having been founded in 1880, and today is renowned for its vibrant textiles, with products including tea towels, aprons, and oven mitts. The new collections will also include a range of new home furnishing items in contemporary designs which will be unveiled at Spring Fair in Birmingham in February 2022.
The brand relaunch is allied to a pledge by Ulster Weavers to grow sustainably, with a commitment to align its strategy with UN Sustainable Development Goals 9, 11,12 and 14 and to make approximately three quarters of its new retail products in Northern Ireland. As a result of the relaunch, Ulster Weavers plans to increase turnover 100% between now and September 2024.
Gillian McLean, Managing Director of Ulster Weavers (pictured), says: “Ulster Weavers have been linen makers and shapers since 1880. But we are set to go through the biggest change that the company has experienced in at least a generation, as the launch of our contemporary kitchen textile and homeware collections repositions our brand to connect with young millennial families worldwide.”
“The roots that ground us are a powerful combination for a brand in today’s marketplace – from our linen heritage and provenance to our local craftsmanship, textiles specialism, and quality of design and product. In a highly competitive category, we now need to retell our story, connect with a new and burgeoning audience and deliver on our purpose to enrich homes and lives everywhere. Our commitment to operating sustainably for the benefit of our customers’ businesses and our consumers’ lives is a key part of our strategy and makes business sense. Producing locally, responsibly, and sustainably not only supports the social and economic welfare of our local community but also protects the environment for future generations,” she adds.
Annie David, Head of Innovation at Ulster Weavers, said: “We carried out a global audience and market research programme. Our goal was to map the macro trends impacting our category and identify white space, key lifestyle movements, and consumer audiences that offered opportunity. This knowledge and insight provided the bedrock for our brand rejuvenation and informed our vision to bring inspiration and craftsmanship to every home in the world. We are very proud of our rebrand and new collections and look forward to showcasing them at Spring Fair. We will also continue to keep our finger on the pulse of consumer and design trends into the future. This will inform ongoing new product development, enabling us to create relevant products on an ongoing basis that meet and exceed the needs, wants and expectations of consumers for the benefit of our customers.”
You can see the new-look Ulster Weavers at Spring Fair in February 2022