The Story of Hollands Country Clothing by Holly Thomson: Part 2

From Past to Present: The Continuing Journey of Hollands Country Clothing

Decades ago, before the internet existed, our relatives would have shopped locally as there really was little other option - some of our older customers might even remember this themselves. You’d buy your meat from the local butcher, vegetables from the greengrocer, pop to the local Doctor for any medical supplies, and the hardware store for just about anything else. 

Community was a much more prevalent concept back then, traders knew their customers by name and face and would enjoy a catch-up each time they stopped by. Reliability, trust, and service were three things that customers could depend upon when visiting their local stores.

You’ve joined me, Holly Thomson, rural storyteller and passionate countrywoman as I return to share the second chapter in the story of family-run, Hollands Country Clothing. 

Last week, I introduced you to the origin of them - the UK’s most connected country clothing retailer. The family’s rural roots run deep, across the the generations, from Grandma Mavis and founder Malcolm to family trio Matthew, Robert, and Sarah Holland driving the business forward under the watchful eye of co-founder, Mark Holland.

 

Building Trust: The Foundation of Hollands' Reputation

At Hollands Country Clothing, Sarah explained to me during one of our discovery calls, they pride themselves on the decades-long reputation of being a dependable country outfitter.

This is something they’ve tirelessly nurtured over the years; originally built up by Malcolm Holland and his son Mark who, come rain or shine, would take to the bustling local markets to sell wellington boots and wax jackets to local farmers and country folk, as a way of supplementing the farm’s hay sales income.

“Like many of our customers, our relationship with the countryside begins in childhood, or perhaps even before we are born, like for us. You could go as far as to say it was part of our DNA,” Sarah Holland explains.

 

The Evolution of Hollands: From Farming to Fashion

Picture this, down on a working farm (where the family still live), nestled in the North West of England, in 1978 Hollands Country Clothing was born out of a need to diversify the farm business, a question weighing heavy on the minds of many farmers nationwide, both then and now.

Diversification is a hot topic in farming, but not always for the obvious reason, as Sarah explains, “Yes, our grandfather wanted to ensure the farm could survive, but farmers are sentimental folk, despite the often stony exterior. The hope and wish to pass down the family’s farm and business to future generations, keeping their legacy alive is a desperate desire for many too, and diversification is a way in which many can do this.”

For the family today, whilst the business has flourished into what you see and interact with today, both thanks to you, the customers and Hollands’ own blood, sweat, and tears (there’s many a story to tell on that), their why remains much the same. 


Though they no longer farm the land now, it is tenanted. They do want to be able to call the farm home and live on the land like Malcolm and Mavis have done, and for the family, Hollands Country Clothing is their way of achieving this.

 

Living the Brand: Hollands' Family Wears What They Sell

So, you see, I’m sure you’ll agree, Hollands is a little different from other online country clothing retailers you might come across. Aside from being an independent, family-owned and run business through and through, the family members genuinely do live and breathe the countryside and the rural way of life. 


On this, Sarah shares, “We are our customers and that enables us to connect with you and understand what you need, want, and equally, don’t want in products. We have great relationships with our suppliers because we truly test products before stocking them and feedback to them, whether it’s our views or yours because the only way we can learn and grow is through discovery.”

Like their late grandfather Malcolm, they've had to learn on the go to be able to serve you - the customer, in the best way possible, and through chatting with both Sarah and Matthew, it is clear that they are committed to doing so as long as they can, although things have moved on a little from packaging and labelling parcels on Mavis’ kitchen table after a day of hard graft on the farm! 
 


To find out more about the transformation from then to now, be sure to sign up to our mailing list for the next chapter in the Holland’s Country Clothing story, coming soon.

 

 A woman with a brown dog posing next to a dark green 4x4 vehicle.

Holly Thomson, a former In The Country Magazine founder and livery yard manager, calls the beautiful South Downs home. Alongside Emma Warren, she co-manages the Countrywoman’s Guide magazine, a platform dedicated to uncovering the hidden treasures of rural life and fostering a community of shared wisdom and empowerment. As a self-confessed cowboy boot-wearing copywriter, Holly champions the ethos of shared wisdom, slow living, and the enduring power of storytelling.

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