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Westaway and Westaway: A Journey from Retail Outlets to Online Retail
Westaway and Westaway, a renowned men's wear wholesaler, commenced its trading operations in 1937. However, it wasn't until the end of the Second World War that the company established its first showroom in Bloomsbury, London. Over time, this showroom transformed into a bustling retail shop during the mid-1950s, offering a vast assortment of high-quality Scottish knitwear and tartans. The unique appeal of these products resonated with both students and tourists from overseas, leading to their increasing popularity.
Embracing the fashion trends of the swinging sixties, Westaway and Westaway opened its second shop opposite the iconic British Museum. This new location catered to the era's fashion-forward crowd, featuring tight-fitting Shetland pullovers and mini kilts. The shop quickly became a go-to destination for those seeking trendy attire.
Throughout the 1970s, Westaway and Westaway experienced significant growth, gaining worldwide acclaim for its extensive selection of cashmere knitwear from leading Scottish manufacturers. Customers from all corners of the globe flocked to the store, lured by the promise of the finest cashmere at the most reasonable prices in London. This recognition was reinforced by an article written by Elaine Goodman in the New York Times in early 1985, further solidifying the company's reputation.
During its peak in the early to mid-1980s, Westaway and Westaway boasted three prominent shops in London's Holborn area. The flagship store stood proudly at 62/65 Great Russell Street, adjacent to the British Museum. Additionally, the company operated another store at 92/93 Great Russell Street, situated at the opposite end of the museum, along with a smaller outlet at 29 Bloomsbury Way.
As market conditions shifted and the number of Scottish manufacturers dwindled, Westaway and Westaway adapted its business strategy. Seeking new opportunities, the company ventured to Spain to directly engage with customers in cities such as Bilbao, San Sebastian, Oviedo, and Madrid. The business flourished, leading to the establishment of the first Spanish shop at General Pardiñas, 74, Madrid. While this shop has since closed, a new location at Duque de Sesto, 13 was introduced and flourished until the crisis of 2011, the fall in demand leading to its closure in 2012.
Throughout its history, Westaway and Westaway has consistently offered a mail order service to cater to customers' needs. Initially, this service relied on phone and letter-based orders, accompanied by traditional catalogues. However, with the advent of the internet and secure online transactions, Westaway's mail order business transitioned into an internet-based model. Customers can now conveniently browse and purchase products online.
While Westaway and Westaway's retail outlets have now closed, the company's evolution into an online retailer has ensured its continued presence in the ever-changing market. From its humble beginnings as a men's wear wholesaler to its global fame as a purveyor of premium Scottish knitwear, Westaway and Westaway's journey is a testament to its ability to adapt and thrive in the face of evolving customer preferences and technological advancements.