Founded in 1856, Burberry is a luxury products brand with over 150 years of history. Based in London, the brand is renowned for its high-end offerings, including trench coats, fragrances, fashion accessories, sunglasses, and cosmetics. Burberry has a strong reputation for quality and is recognized as one of the leading luxury brands in the world. In 2021, it had a revenue of $2.83 billion and a net income of $375 million. Burberry has an extensive global team of nearly 9,300 employees and was ranked 73rd on Interbrand’s Best Global Brand list in 2015.
The Founding of Burberry: A Brief History
At just 21 years old, Thomas Burberry founded Burberry in 1856 with the opening of his store in Basingstoke, England. He began by creating clothing that would protect people from the harsh British weather. As the years went on, Burberry gained experience and changed its marketing strategies. In 1870, the company began to expand its operations by focusing on the production of outdoor clothing.
In 1879, Thomas Burberry introduced the gabardine, a groundbreaking raincoat that was waterproof, breathable, and highly durable. This innovation caused a stir in the industry. In 1893, gabardine gained widespread popularity when it was worn by Dr. Fridtjof Nansen during his historic expedition to the North Pole and the Arctic Circle. Nansen is a renowned Norwegian explorer, zoologist, and winner of a Nobel Prize.
Burberry’s Bold Beginnings in the 20th Century
The Burberry team wanted to find a suitable logo for their rapidly expanding business, so they held a contest to give the general public a shot at it. The winning design, dubbed the “Equestrian Knight logo,” was inspired by armor from the Middle Ages that can be seen today at London’s Wallace Collection.
Burberry’s history is filled with exciting and innovative moments, such as the world record set by naval officer Edward Maitland in 1908. Maitland wore gabardine, a revolutionary raincoat developed by Burberry, and flew from Crystal Palace to Russia in a hot air balloon, breaking the record for the longest distance flown overseas. This feat showcases the durability and practicality of Burberry’s gabardine and the brand’s willingness to embrace new technologies and ideas.
In 1913, Burberry outgrew its original quarters and moved to a larger London building designed by the renowned architect Walter Cave. This relocation marked a significant milestone in the brand’s growth and demonstrated its commitment to continuing expansion and success.
In 1914, during World War I, Burberry developed the concept for the first modern trench coat. This was designed for the needs of soldiers, complete with epaulets for attaching accessories like gloves and whistles. It also created various similar items at the time for combat, including a grenade carrier and a shield for battle.
Burberry’s Iconic Products: The Burberry Check and Aviation Garments
Burberry’s iconic check pattern was first used in the 1920s to line the company’s trench coats. The company’s signature check eventually became an icon for the brand. Burberry’s dedication to developing aviation attire in the 1930s was another example of the brand’s commitment to innovation.
The company sponsored the 1937 flight from Croydon to Cape Town in the Burberry plane. Pilots Betty Kirby-Green and Arthur Clouston, both decked out in Burberry, set a new record for the fastest round-trip flight between London and Cape Town on this flight.
Queen Elizabeth II gave Burberry a royal warrant for its weatherproofing services in 1955, officially recognizing the company’s achievements to that point. Great Universal Stores (GUS) bought the brand that same year. In 2005, however, Burberry reversed the terms of this acquisition and once again became a privately held company.
Burberry’s Path to Success: A Look at the Brand’s Rise to Prominence
The brand’s international prestige increased in tandem with its rising sales of Burberry products across the United Kingdom. It was estimated in 1965 that one of every five coats exported from Britain was a Burberry. This may have contributed to the Prince of Wales’ decision to grant the fashion powerhouse a second royal warrant as an upscale retailer.
Before the 1960s, Burberry was known primarily for its raincoats. Despite this, an unfortunate incident in a Paris shop led to the decision to put money into accessories when a window display unexpectedly sparked a meteoric rise in demand for the company’s scarves and check umbrellas. One of Burberry’s most expensive items ever sold was a limited-edition women’s trench coat from the Spring/Summer 2013 collection that went for $25,500.
Despite being a British brand, Burberry only has two manufacturing companies in Britain and produces the rest of its products elsewhere. Today, Burberry’s products can be found in around 421 stores in 51 countries worldwide. The brand was also the first to offer its audience a live stream of a fashion show.
An Overview of Burberry’s Wide Range of Products
Burberry is a luxury fashion brand that sells a wide range of products, including:
- Clothing: Burberry is known for its iconic trench coats, which are made from waterproof and breathable gabardine fabric. The brand also sells other types of outerwear, such as jackets, parkas, and raincoats. In addition to outerwear, Burberry offers a variety of clothing options, including tops, bottoms, dresses, and jumpsuits.
- Accessories: Burberry sells a range of fashion accessories, including handbags, luggage, small leather goods, and scarves. The brand is also known for its signature check pattern, which can be found on many of its accessories.
- Shoes: Burberry offers a selection of footwear for both men and women, including boots, sneakers, sandals, and dress shoes.
- Eyewear: Burberry sells a variety of eyewear products, including sunglasses and eyeglasses for both men and women.
- Fragrances: Burberry has a range of fragrances for both men and women, including classic scents such as Burberry for Men and Burberry for Women.
- Cosmetics: Burberry offers a range of makeup products, including foundations, concealers, blushes, eyeshadows, and lipsticks.
- Home goods: Burberry sells a selection of home goods, including bedding, towels, and scented candles.
In addition to these products, Burberry also offers a range of services, including personalization options and monogramming for specific products. The brand is committed to sustainability and has several initiatives to reduce its environmental impact. Burberry is known for its high-quality products and is recognized as one of the leading luxury fashion brands in the world.
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The Burberry name has been associated with high-end clothing since 1856. The company is widely distributed around the globe. With a global team of nearly 9,300 employees and a presence in over 421 outlets and franchise stores, Burberry has a solid international reputation. Thanks to its dedication to delivering high-quality and eco-friendly products, it is considered one of the best luxury brands out there.