The phrase “English countryside” has many associations in the collective consciousness—horses, sheep, rolling fields, rambling cottages or stately mansions, and yes, rain. The British brand Joules was born and bred in the English countryside, and has been crafting apparel for its denizens for going on three decades. It has become one of Britain’s best-loved clothing brands by providing sturdy, hard-wearing clothes for the country, but with a twist: bright colors, playful prints, and new takes on classic designs.
Joule & Sons got its start in the 1980s in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, selling country work clothes at equestrian events and country shows. After a while, Tom Joule, who worked with his father Ian, branched out from the tweedy and strictly practical fare to offer spiced-up polo shirts in bright colors and with eye-catching details. They were an instant hit, as were the bright pink Wellies (rain boots) that Tom developed. Joules began to move in a new direction. The essential offerings were the same, but they become more colorful and playful. The business model didn’t change, though, until hoof-and-mouth disease struck the UK in 2001. With horse shows and country fairs cancelled, Tom Joule had to find a way to distribute his inventory. He contacted local shops and went to the mailing list he’d built up over the years, and discovered that these channels were much more effective means of expanding the brand.
Today, as Joules celebrates its 25th-year Jubilee, its clothing and footwear can be found in retail outlets, including its own chain of charming boutiques, throughout the British Isles. The range of products has expanded too, to cover activities beyond working the stables, exercising the horses, or tramping around the countryside. It offers a wide range of apparel and footwear for all occasions, led by the bestselling Field Welly rain boot (1.4 million sold, and counting). Clothing for kids is an important part of the lineup, too, inspired by Tom’s own outdoors-loving children. They all share a dedication to quality and an eye for color that has made Joules, in its words, “Best in Field for 25 Years.”