John & Nicola Sugden headed for the Highlands in Mach 2015, swapping the city lights of London for the tranquility of the Highlands, and more importantly taking over at the reins of the iconic Highland tailor and country outfitter Campbell’s of Beauly. With John’s background in the clothing industry, their aim was to revitalize this Highland institution, after the previous owners the Campbell’s (4th generation) decided that it was time to retire.
Four years in, they have increased the Campbell’s team from 12 to 17, a business which provides both bespoke tailoring made in house above the retail premises, as well as a unique and quirky retail store. Not only that, a feather in their cap has been the appointment of a Royal Warrant to Her Majesty the Queen in 2017. Their current expansion plans will allow the tailoring department to expand and signifies the success so far of a young couple who grew up locally and have long family ties to the textile industry.
The business, whilst run by the Campbells’ family, was historically known as the “guardians of tweed” and specialized in sporting tweeds and Highland wear for rural folk and Highland gentry throughout Scotland and the UK. Thanks to the sensitive approach of John & Nicola in not wanting to spoil this treasured “Highland gem” of a business, they have expanded their retail offering and secured the future of their tailoring team, but they maintain their core interest; maintaining a traditional craft, celebrating local skills and provenance, and engaging with the rural community through providing local employment.
In retail, where possible, all clothing sold is manufactured in Britain by businesses with synergy with Campbell’s: privately owned and family run. The bespoke tailoring garments are made by hand on site by six seamstresses and a tailor. In an age of mass market production, John & Nicola have maintained the exclusivity of Campbell’s by ensuring that change has been subtly and gradually managed, whilst breathing some young enthusiasm and fresh ideas into a business with such a well known historic reputation in the Highlands and rural Scotland.