Leicestershire clothes-maker named one of the UK’s best rural businesses in national awards

Leicestershire clothes-maker named one of the UK’s best rural businesses in national awards

A clothing brand from Leicestershire which uses the finest British-spun tweed has been judged one of Britain’s best countryside-based clothing firms at the Rural Business Awards (RBAs) 2017.

Butler Stewart Clothing, from Market Harborough, came highly commended for Le Chameau sponsored Best Rural Clothing or Accessories Business at a glittering ceremony on October 5 compered by Jules Hudson of BBC Escape to the Country fame. The only UK-wide programme dedicated to showcasing the success of rural businesses, the awards are now in their third year and are run in partnership with the CLA and Amazon.

Rural Affairs Minister Lord Gardiner said: “Farm shops, food producers and rural start-ups are a vital part of the UK’s economy, generating over £230 billion every year. It is fantastic to see the breadth of talent on display across our rural communities and I am delighted so many hardworking businesses have been honoured.”

“The stories of these successful rural businesses are incredibly inspiring and just go to show the immense talent that exists at the heart of our rural communities in the UK,” said Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon. “I would like to extend a hearty congratulations to those who were successful in the awards, and to thank all those who entered and shared their successes, and wish them the very best for the future.”

Butler Stewart Clothing is an exclusive clothing brand specialising in tailoring and tweed, creating understated, luxurious, timeless British elegance for men and ladies. Founder Anna Butler, who sources all tweed from Scottish and English mills, impressed judges with her strong entry. The company uses wool from British farmers and employs three tailors – one of them in the next-door village. Butler Stewart also helps the rural economy by attending twenty country shows, game fairs and horse trials every year across Britain.

Anna Butler from Butler Stewart Clothing said, “Being involved in this year’s Rural Business Awards has been a really fulfilling experience. Programmes like this are so important in supporting rural enterprises and helping the rural economy flourish. Those values are key to my business as I use only Scottish and English tweed and support local businesses, like tailors and other suppliers.  Being highly commended in the Best Rural Clothing category will give me, my suppliers and customers a huge boost and help Butler Stewart Clothing achieve even wider recognition in 2018 and beyond.”

The RBAs are the brainchild of Leicestershire businesswomen Anna Price and Jemma Clifford, who wanted to showcase the wealth of entrepreneurial talent in rural areas of Britain – a sector of the economy they felt was all-too-often overlooked in favour of large city-based firms.

The awards are organised by rural businesses for rural businesses and judged by people who understand the rural sector, which is growing rapidly and employs in excess of 3.4 million people in more than 600,000 businesses across the UK.

This year’s awards saw nearly three times as many entries as in 2016, with businesses from 52 counties in the UK sending in their applications. They were split into 13 categories with five finalists in each, of which one winner, one runner-up and three highly commended prizes were awarded, plus an overall champion of champions. The awards this year showed particularly strong representation from Yorkshire and Lancashire, and the most popular categories were tourism and diversification.

Awards co-founder Jemma Clifford said: “Since we started our awards in 2015, we have seen some really strong entries in the clothing category. There are so many rural clothing makers out there in our Great British countryside who are making such a difference to the economy by sourcing locally and creating beautiful garments which showcase the very best of traditional British craftsmanship and heritage fabrics. Butler Stewart is one such business and it was with great pleasure that we awarded it highly commended in this category. We wish Butler Stewart every success in the future.

“The Rural Business Awards give rural enterprises of all sizes the opportunity to showcase their success and the contribution they are making to our thriving rural economy – just the firms that have entered in 2017 have combined turnovers well in excess of £70m. Hundreds of companies enter the RBAs each year and the finals illustrate the best businesses the countryside has to offer in each of the 13 categories.”

CLA Director General Helen Woolley said: “The CLA is delighted to partner with the Rural Business Awards to highlight the vital contribution our rural areas make to the wider economy.

“It was a great pleasure for me to be a part of the judging panel to see the passion for rural business demonstrated by the finalists. My congratulations go to all the winners who have shown great expertise in their field and have a real understanding of how they fit into the rural economy as a whole. I urge all our winners to keep flying the flag for rural business!”

This year’s glittering awards ceremony was held at Denbies Wine Estates in Surrey. Next year’s awards will be open for entries in November 2017. To find out more, visit www.ruralbusinessawards.co.uk

Find out more via social media on:

T: @RuralRBAs

F: The Rural Business Awards

Keep up with the Twitter chatter and use #RBAs.

Best Rural Clothing or Accessories Business finalists:

Derriere Equestrian Ltd, based in Broadway, Worcestershire (WINNER)

APT Fabrics Ltd, based in Ardkeen, Down (RUNNER UP)

Butler Stewart Clothing, based in Market Harborough, Leicestershire (HIGHLY COMMENDED)

Emma Brown Tweed, based in Preston, Rutland (HIGHLY COMMENDED)

Loopy Ewes, based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire (HIGHLY COMMENDED)


The full list of Rural Business Awards 2017 Winners:


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