Not many things will make me bound out of bed at 6.30am on Saturday morning, but the prospect of heading to Burghley Horse Trials to soak up the atmosphere, shop and watch the horses filled me with excitement.
I have a little secret to share with you; the reason I was attending this event was to meet the team behind Joules Clothing who are celebrating 25 years of Brilliantly British Style. As you can imagine my enthusiasm level’s where off the wall; Joules is a brand a love and wear myself and as I grew up in the countryside the brand and style of clothing was something that already featured heavily in my wardrobe.
As I approached the main Joules store at Burghley the excitement built up inside me; I get what I can only describe as a warm fuzzy feeling when it comes to visiting stores I love and even more so when I’m due to meet people behind the brand.
Whilst pottering around the store waiting to meet the representative, I was approached by a cheerful member of staff and with an immeasurable level of surprise (on my side), I was introduced to Tom Joule. Suddenly adrenaline rushed through my veins, I forgot my raging toothache, the fact I was tired and unprepared and went into ‘chatterbox’ mode. Fortunately for me, Tom like most entrepreneurial people was welcoming, energetic and wholly passionate about his brand, without ever being egoistic or rude.
There is so much thought that goes into each item that Joules retail; I like many others shopping at Joules on Saturday picked up a blouse adorned with bee’s and Tom picked up this very same piece and explained that they have a team of 10 who carefully design each piece and every tiny detail is unique to Joules.
As a brand they are on an ever-evolving journey to create pieces for a lifestyle that does not just look good on the outside but also feel’s good on the side, for those who love fresh air, walking the dog’s and afternoon tea – Now tell me that does not make you feel warm inside?. Tom Joule is a foodie and run’s the company like a family business, those are fan’s of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ may be interested to know that Frances who won last year was a Joules employee. Baking is encouraged at the Joules offices and Frances would often bring in her bakes to test on her fellow colleges, therefore it would come as no surprise that Joules have started a home collection. The mugs are beautifully decorated with the Joules floral logo, tea towels you’d be proud to wash up with and bedding so stylish you’d never want to get up.
In a world when fashion can be ‘faceless’ or appear to be endorsed by people who set an unattainable standard I was casually chatting with the man who started his business retailing in a field and welcomes (and praises) his employees baking. The whole experience felt almost a little surreal; one aspect that I found really impressive is how much Tom cares for his employees, I was taken to the back of the pop-up shop and introduced to the chef who was catering for everyone working at the event…
Please excuse the fact I look really angry here, I’m not(!) it’s just I had my wisdom tooth (& buddy) extracted so I was showing off a stunningly swollen jaw..such a good look!
Not just ‘any ole chef’, his credentials boasted working in some of London’s Michelin starred restaurants and he won a ‘Dessert Off’ against Gordon Ramsey (all I was thinking is that I would walk across hot stones to taste test at such an event!). Like most professional chef’s he was chatting to Tom and me, whilst chopping peppers at a breakneck speed, with a sense of total calm at the back of a tent. As a result of being cared for as if they are a family is that many Joules employees are long-term, everyone from those who’ve been there for 10 years to the charming till assistant was chirpy and proud to be part of the brand.
Equestrian events are a deep-rooted part of the Joules history (Tom Joule started by selling at outdoor events) and Joules fast became the brand to wear to the pub after an afternoon with the horses. Therefore Burghley was a flurry of brightly coloured Joules wellington’s (they are so comfortable) and family’s carrying bag’s packed with the 2014 Burghley collection by Joules. Whilst weaving my way around the shops I managed to see some of the event and found myself mesmerised by the physical body strength and agility of the riders and the sheer size and beauty of the horses. I was so taken a back at the speed they ride at and some of the jump’s are creative in terms of height and style, I watched a beautiful horse fly over a jump decorated with a large picnic basket! It meant a lot to me to share the day with my Grandparents, my grandmother has been riding for nearly 70 years (I do hope she forgives me for writing that for she is he pinnacle of ageing gracefully) and therefore there was no other couple I wanted to spend the day with at such an exciting event.
Fortunately, Joules is not just for horse riders or those that live in the British Countryside, also my lovely readers who are in the USA or Europe can also take advantage of Joules online shops.
So let’s chat, have you ever visited Burghley before or did you watch the event on TV? Do you buy Joules clothing? It appear’s from my instagram comments that many of you a horse riders, it’s on my bucket list to give it a try again…