Ulster Weavers repositions business after 140 years


An example of the new contemporary kitchen textile and homeware collections to be launched by Ulster Weavers at the Spring Fair 2022 in Birmingham, U.K. in February.

LISBURN, Northern Ireland – Ulster Weavers, a 140-year-old textile manufacturer from Northern Ireland, is going through its biggest change in generations as it repositions its business as a contemporary textile and homeware brand targeting the millennial audience.

The company, which has customers in 50 countries, including the U.S., is introducing new contemporary kitchen textile and homeware collections that are inspired by the places and culture of Northern Ireland as part of the major brand relaunch.

“The roots that ground us are a powerful combination for a brand in today’s marketplace – from our linen heritage and provenance to our local craftsmanship, textiles specialism, and quality of design and product,” said Gillian McLean, Ulster Weavers managing director. “In a highly competitive category, we now need to retell our story, connect with a new and burgeoning audience and deliver on our purpose to enrich homes and lives everywhere.”

Ulster Weavers has its roots in Northern Ireland’s famous linen industry, having been founded in 1880, and today is known for its vibrant textiles, with products that include tea towels, aprons and oven mitts.

The company’s new collections will include a range of new home furnishing items in contemporary designs which will be unveiled at the Spring Fair in Birmingham, U.K. in February 2022.

“We carried out a global audience and market research program. Our goal was to map the macro trends impacting our category and identify white space, key lifestyle movements, and consumer audiences that offered opportunity,” said Annie David, Ulster Weavers’ head of innovation. “This knowledge and insight provided the bedrock for our brand rejuvenation and informed our vision to bring inspiration and craftsmanship to every home in the world.”

David said the company plans to continue to keep its “finger on the pulse of consumer and design trends into the future in order to inform ongoing new product development.”

The brand relaunch is allied to a pledge by Ulster Weavers to grow sustainably, with a commitment to align its strategy with several UN Sustainable Development Goals and to make approximately three quarters of its new retail products in Northern Ireland.


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