Iconic Lake District brand Herdy celebrates 10th birthday

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13 September 2017 5:21PM

LAKE District brand Herdy celebrates its 10th birthday today.

The firm, inspired by Cumbria's Herdwick sheep, was unveiled on September 13, 2007, at the Westmorland County Show.

It was set up by Diane Hannah, who remains director, and her husband Spencer.

Originally with a range of just three products - mugs, pin badges and keyrings - it now has more than 400 in its range.

The inspiration for Herdy was the Herdwick sheep and we recognized, along with the region’s fell farming culture and heritage, it had to play a central role with our charitable give back policy

It also has four stores, in Bowness, Grasmere, Keswick and Hawes in North Yorkshire, with a fifth opening in Kendal, where the firm has its headquarters, next month.

Alongside this, it trades with more than 300 retailers across the UK, in mainland Europe, Japan and the USA and sells its goods online. It employs more than 20 people.

The founders are originally from Bolton, Lancashire, and were inspired to create Herdy after a friendly encounter with a traditional Herdwick after moving their design business to the area in 2003.

Mrs Hannah said: “We chose to move to the Lakes because we’ve always loved the area. We were working for clients nationwide with our design business so to move an hour further north wasn’t a disadvantage. We chose Kendal because of its train links and proximity to the motorway network. There’s no doubt, if we hadn’t moved to the Lakes we wouldn’t have come up with the idea for Herdy.”

The couple’s success has been credited to the cute character of Herdy itself - which was used in the Lakes District's successful World Heritage Site bid - and the brand’s reputation as being ethically sound.

In 2007 Diane and Spencer launched the Herdy Fund, a profit share programme which aims to support rural sustainability and community projects in the Lake District, which has helped protect upland fell farmers and the Herdwick species.

Herdwick sheep farmers contributing to the latest project - Herdy Sleep - are paid double market value for the wool used in the pocket sprung mattresses.

Mr Hannah said: “The inspiration for Herdy was the Herdwick sheep and we recognized, along with the region’s fell farming culture and heritage, it had to play a central role with our charitable give back policy. It’s really important to us, our company purpose and how we develop the credibility around the brand.”

To celebrate its 10th year a giant Union Jack Herdy has been travelling in the Lake District including, scaling the region's tallest fells and being rescued on Coniston Old Man by Coniston Mountain Rescue team. Smaller, limited edition hand-painted versions have also been created to mark the occasion.

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