Beating the odds is a recurring theme in the history of Abraham Moon. As the British textile industry collapsed, it clung on determined that there would be no compromise on quality.
The strategy paid off. Other factories cut costs in a failed attempt to compete with cheap imports while Moon moved onwards and upwards to the top end of the market.
It now supplies 100 per cent wool fabrics to the best fashion and homeware brands, including Burberry, Dolce and Gabbana and Ralph Lauren, along with John Lewis and Boden. Its interiors fabrics are in the White House, stately homes and castles, and, since 2009, it has manufactured its own range of fashion and homeware.
Now, the factory in Guiseley, near Leeds, celebrates 180 years in production with another bold move. This Saturday, October 14, sees the opening of its first flagship store. Abraham Moon is at 33 Stonegate in York, just a stone’s throw from the Minster.
Set over three floors with 1,700 sq ft of retail space, it will showcase its array of wool home furnishings, accessories, men’s and womenswear, alongside products from some of the designers it supplies. So there will be clothes from Holland Esquire, Jack Murphy and Ross Barr knitwear, along with tweed bags and purses from Butterfly Tree Accessories.
Moon already has an outlet shop at the mill, selling slight seconds, and a small boutique store at The Courtyard, near Settle. John Walsh, the firm’s CEO, says: “After the success of our first two retail outlets, we are delighted to be opening our new flagship Abraham Moon store in an iconic building in the centre of York. It’s a major leap forward but we are confident our classically British fashion designs and genuine Yorkshire made products will strike a chord with both local shoppers and tourists alike.”
The York store is the first of what Walsh hopes will be a small chain of six and he has Oxford and Bath in his sights. He feels they will lap up the quintessentially English brand with its impeccable pedigree. His family have owned the factory since the 1920 and have steered it through hard times and good.
It helps that the business has a great USP - it is England’s only vertical mill, which means everything that turns fleece to cloth is done in-house, from scouring to dyeing, spinning and weaving is done in-house. While high street retailers faces major challenges thanks to online stores, Walsh is confident that Abraham Moon will thrive. “We offer experience and heritage and we are the opposite of an homogenised store,” he says.
Abraham Moon, 33 Stonegate, York, www.moons.co.uk