Blakely, a Norfolk-based clothing brand, will open a pop-up shop in London’s Covent Garden next month to mark 10 successful years of trading.

Gareth Newman founded Blakely in 2012 after being inspired by the fashion brands he encountered in the USA – and then gave up his career as a pharmacist when the brand took off.

“During my year out before university, I spent a lot of time in the US and thought the brands over there were so cool,” he said. “I wondered if I could do something similar in the UK, but I was a 19-year-old with zero money. Then I went off to university and had even less money, but as soon as I qualified as a pharmacist, my first payslip went into creating Blakely.”

The company’s name derives from the village of Blakeney on the north Norfolk coast – half a mile from where Gareth’s father grew up – with its 42,000 square foot warehouse and head office located nearby.

Blakely also has a warehouse in Belgium, which serves as its EU HQ. Since launching, the brand has attracted customers worldwide – and has more than 300,000 followers on Instagram, including celebrities such as Sharon Stone.

“A good percentage of our sales go to the EU, Australia and the US,” Gareth explained. “The power of social media is that you can reach people you wouldn't normally be able to reach – it’s really helped us scale the business out to other territories.”

The Comet: Gareth Newman founded Blakely in 2012Gareth Newman founded Blakely in 2012 (Image: Archant)
Gareth said the quality and durability of Blakely’s products has also helped its growth in the UK and beyond – adding that he personally handpicks the materials and suppliers. “We regularly visit our suppliers to ensure everything is as ethical as possible,” he said. “There's no stone left unturned.”

In November 2021, Blakely opened its first pop-up shop on London Street, Norwich. Gareth said in May 2022 that it will remain open for another year after “exceeding expectations”.

“At the start, I loved building the brand and designing products, but another big thing the business has created is a massive sense of community,” Gareth explained.

“The Norwich shop has allowed us to reach out and interact with the community way more than we were ever able to before – being a solely online business,” he added. “It made us feel so much more fulfilled because you could actually see people wearing the products.”

The company will open a second pop-up shop in Covent Garden on Saturday, October 29 – in celebration of its 10th year of trading.

“Not everyone can get to Norwich, so we wanted to replicate that in London, which is obviously more central, and where we have a huge customer base,” said Gareth.

“It’s the perfect location – we’d take it on forever if we could, but we are only going to be there for a couple of months,” he added. “It’s beyond my wildest dreams.”

The Comet: Blakely has launched a new Decade collection to mark its 10th year of tradingBlakely has launched a new Decade collection to mark its 10th year of trading (Image: Blakely)
Blakely is also launching a limited-edition Decade collection to celebrate 10 years of the brand. Available to purchase in both pop-up shops and online, the new collection will include Gareth’s handwriting “as a little personal touch”, said Lauren Parker, brand partnership manager.

“We wanted to produce a limited-edition collection as a celebration,” she added. “Giving customers the fabrics and silhouettes that they really want – and that they know and love us for.”

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