Posted on 13 January 2021
Clarks is probably Britian’s best known shoe company and was founded in 1825 by two Quaker brothers.
Brief History of Clarks
Cyrus and James Clark came from Street, a small village in Somerset. The brothers were running a tannery, making sheepskin rugs, when they had the idea to make slippers from the off-cuts. These first slippers were known as the Brown Petersburg and became overnight bestsellers.
By 1828, the company now known formally as C. & J. Clark Limited had developed both a national and international shoe trade (Ireland in the 1820s, Canada by the 1830s, Australia in the 1850s).
The Great Exhibition of 1851, designed as a showcase for British industry and design, saw Clarks win a gold medal for their latest shoes – made from latex.
Recession hit Britain in the 1860s and the company turned to the Society of Friends for a loan. The society granted the loan – but on the condition that the company was modernised.
The modernization of the manufacturing process meant innovative new designs for Clarks’ shoes and the company went from strength to strength. By 1950, Clarks had become a market leader and expanded into America.
During this time the company had reinvested its profits into the welfare of its local workforce. An adult school was founded so workers could continue their education, a library opened and a town hall paid for. Clarks also created recreational playing fields and built affordable housing
As of 2021, Clarks is still operating – but is in financial trouble due to the decline of its high-street sales. A Hong Kong private equity firm may provide this historic company with a rescue plan.
Consistently creating strong brands for their shoes, Clarks have used a variety of advertising badges over the years. A few of which are below: