Just over a week ago the Beans, Nanna and I were invited to attend a blog event a little closer to home in Rutland. For those of you who don’t live around these parts, Rutland is simply beautiful. It is home to Rutland Water, one of our favourite haunts for family walks and adventures. It is also home to Lands’ End HQ, the only name you need to consider when looking for stylish ‘nautical-inspired’ clothing for the family who wants to look good and enjoy a life outdoors. Lands’ End is perfectly suited to our family as we love to get outdoors, and given the opportunity I would LOVE to be skipper of my own Yacht! I have always had a ‘thing’ about the sea, bit of an odd one when you consider I don’t really enjoy swimming, but I could stare out to sea for hours on end given half the chance.
A little bit of history
Lands’ End began back in 1963 in Chicago – Gary Comer was a copywriter who had a passion for sailing. After working for a decade in advertising he felt the need to explore, and travelled Europe for a year. Upon returning to Chicago he spotted a gap in the market for supplying sailing gear; hardware, duffle bags, rainsuits and a few items of clothing. Over time he began to sell more and more clothing until eventually clothing out-sold the sailing equipment, and so Land’s End was born. Gary named the company Lands’ End, not after the famous landmark as some would have you believe but in Gary’s words . . .
“It had a romantic ring to it, and conjured up visions of a point to depart from on a perilous journey”
Gary was born in Chicago, the son of a rail worker who went on to found one of the world’s most respected mail order companies. His ethos “Do what’s right for the customer and the rest will take care of itself” is still one which Lands’ End works by today. They were one of the first companies with a call centre offering a Freephone 0800 number to its customers.
When looking to see what Lands’ End could offer their customers during the Summer months, Gary decided that Swimwear was the obvious choice. They are now considered to be Swimwear Experts and are one of the biggest swimwear suppliers. Next year they will also have Active Surf and Scuba gear to add to their name.
An exciting future
Earlier this year, Lands’ End proudly announced the appointment of their new CEO, former US President for Dolce & Gabbana, Federica Marchionni. Federica has lots of experience in fashion and high quality brand and it’s a happy coincidence that she also has a keen interest in sailing.
What Lands End have to offer
On the Lands’ End website you will find mens, womens and kids wear plus a small home section which grows to include gifts in the run up to Christmas. They plan their collections almost a year ahead, would you believe they are already looking at Autumn/Winter 2016 and when it comes to outerwear they have to start their planning even earlier to allow for testing.
Up close and personal
So last weekend, we arrived at Lands’ End HQ to a very warm welcome from a few key members of the Lands’ End team. The HQ is home to more than 600 members of staff in its rather impressive buildings which rather excitingly for me includes an Outlet Store (yes they will be seeing a lot more of me now). On arrival we were treated to a yummy lunch whilst being able to peruse the kids collection and then following lunch the children were all taken into another room where they could play games, watch DVDs, have their faces, hands and arms painted, draw and basically go wild with their new found friends. The Beans didn’t even want to know me!
With the Beans busy and fuelled by cake, I was able to sit and listen to the back story of Lands’ End and get to know the brand a little better. I mentally shopped the catalogue from the comfort of my chair and was then invited to try on whichever items took our fancy. It felt a little rude to ask to try on all of them but like I say, being local, I shall be back!
Lands End’ aren’t afraid of colour which was like music to my ears, I adore colour. I like that their style is smart yet relaxed, none of this ‘stuffy style’, their clothes are meant to be lived in and loved. Their kids collection also has an educational value to it, I could see all of my Beans wearing their clothing, I was even picking out clothes for friends children knowing their love of nature and the world around us. I took this photograph of the girl’s t-shirts and then asked Little Bean to point out any items that she liked, she chose the same two t-shirts.
Time to set sail
To finish off our afternoon we were reunited with our children before boarding a coach and travelling the 10 minute journey up the road to Rutland Water for a sail on the Rutland Belle. The sun was shining on the water, the bar was free and the air was crisp. We were given a guided tour of the resevoir and told how it was formed by Anglian Water in 1975 by damming the Gwash Valley near Empingham. It flood 6/7 square kilometers of the Gwash Valley and was later opened in 1976.
The Beans excitedly watched the small boats of the sailing school moving in lines around the water and took it in turns to sit in the Captains chair. It was such a relaxing way to finish off a day of fun, to get a glimpse of the activity which would spark such a successful business.
In the words of Jelly Bean,
that was a fun boat day
We didn’t return home empty-handed, Beanie Boy received a lovely Squall Jacket which will keep him warm and dry this winter. They use premium ‘bulk-free’ insulation encased in a ultra-durable waterproof nylon shell. They feature the ‘Grow-a-long’ sleeves which mean the coat will last for more than one year, the snowguard sleeve cuffs and EZ-Zip tabs for gloved fingers to handle with ease. I shall be sure to share our thoughts on that one with you soon.
Mummy didn’t miss out either, I received a lovely pair of black leather gloves and a gorgeously soft and snuggly chenille throw. It couldn’t have arrived at a better time as I came down with the flu the following day and felt seriously cold and shivery so I wrapped myself up in my blanket and took myself back to bed whilst Jelly Bean had his nap.
We really couldn’t have asked for a more enjoyable introduction to this amazing brand.
DISCLAIMER: All words and opinions are my own and may not be copied without my permission. I have not been instructed what to write.