A long time ago in a faraway land – well, 1995 in deepest Mid Wales to be precise – I was working as a journalist looking for stories.
A useful local contact told me to keep an eye on the number of small companies that were springing up and promoting themselves as ethical and environmentally friendly long before such terms were considered worthy of mentioning to most people.
He predicted this would be a major growth area for the local economy in Mid Wales – one of the greenest parts of the UK playing host to some of the “greenest” companies in the country.
I did a couple of stories before moving on to pastures new. But I continued to keep an eye on the area I had worked for 18 months and my old contact was proved right. In the last decade or more Mid Wales has spawned all manner of ethical, eco-friendly and organic enterprises.
Although it has its origins in London, Howies moved to Ceredigion several years ago and has become adopted by the local community. And it most certainly falls into the category of successful ethical brands.
Howies is currently celebrating a major deal with the US clothing giant Timberland (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/mid/6357445.stm).
Howies started life in the mid-1990s selling t-shirts through a mountain bike magazine. It now employs 20 people and produces organic ranges of clothing that have proved to be particularly popular with mountain bikers and skateboarders.
The buy-out by Timberland will see the company expand further and the US manufacturer has made it clear that the green credentials of the Howies brand will not be compromised by the deal. Husband and wife team David and Clare Hieatt will continue to have creative control of Howies and the same management team will remain in place.
Good news for Howies and the Mid Wales economy.
Check out http://www.howies.co.uk for more information…there’s currently a sale on too.