The biggest brands to come out of Greater Manchester
Manchester is a hub of fashion, music, food, drink, and an impressive art and culture scene. The city and its people have so much to offer. There’s been many instances where budding entrepreneurs and dreamers have taken their Manchester brand into the world, and it’s skyrocketed.
So, if you’re like us and have ever wondered what major brands have come from Manchester, this is for you…
The Co-op | Man City | Man United | JD | Vimto | Henri Lloyd | Hydes | Joseph Holt | Pataks | PG Tips | Boddingtons | PZ Cussons | Warburtons | Umbro | Reebok | Soreen | Timpson | Gio Goi | Missguided | Betfred | Ticketmaster | Boohoo | We Buy Any Car | Rollys Royce | Regatta | The Warehouse Project | Parklife | Footasylum | Barburrito | McVities | LateRooms
Kicking things off with a true Manchester giant. The Co-operative, or the Co-op, was formed in 1844 to bring communities together. By 1863, the group branched out into wholesale operations, providing Co-op products to be sold in their stores, which catapulted it into success across the UK. Hailing from Rochdale, the Co-op has become the UK’s largest ethical mutual business. They were the first major UK retailer to stock fair-trade products AND first to sell fair-trade coffee. So, you could say Manchester is the birthplace of UK fair trade! Co-op as we know it, extends their brand across a number of different markets across the UK. Primarily in food, insurance, electrical, legal services, travel, funeral, and banking industries. Today, you’ll spot the Coop’s shiny HQ right by Manchester’s Angel Gardens, standing proud where it all began.
Manchester City was originally founded at St. Marks over 140 years ago. Eight years later, in 1887, they became Ardwick Association Football Club, then finally deciding on Manchester City in 1894.
The team has had some iconic performances in football history. One being a particularly successful period in the late 60s and early 70s, winning the League Cup and the Euros. They were just the second English team to have achieved that in the same season. It was until 2011/2012 that they won another title, with that last minute goal from Aguero earning their first title in 44 years. The team that were once considered underdogs, have fast become one of the best teams in the world.
Manchester City understands the power of having a ‘brand’, having invested heavily in their brand marketing, partnerships, and digital platforms over the years.
In 1878, Manchester United was first formed as Newton Heath. Newton Heath later joined the League alliance, which went on to merge with the Football League, which allowed the club to be placed in the First Division. Many years later, the club went on to change their name to what would become one of the world’s most renowned names in football club history, Manchester United. They’re currently sitting at the third most profitable clubs in the world at $4.2 billion.
When they signed a £750 million kit deal with Adidas in 2015, they became one of the most commercially successful brands in the world. They’ve garnered worldwide recognition, with strong commercial strategies focusing on the players and the club.
Did you know that JD stands for John and David? That’s the founders – who would have thought something as simple as taking the first initials of their name would become such an iconic brand? The JD Company, founded in 1981, started off trading from a small shop in Bury, Manchester – before opening a store in the Arndale Centre in Manchester in 1993.
The success led the company to open a store on Oxford Street, London – leading to them testing their luck on the London Stock Exchange in 1996. After 6 years JD had acquired nearly 200 stores – with a number of acquisitions (First Sport and Blacks Leisure Group), and by 2005 they had bought an extra 70 stores from the Administrators of AllSports. The business, which had been growing rapidly within the market, announced a number of sponsorship deals with football clubs (Bournemouth, Bury, Charlton, Dundee United , Luton and Oldham). JD went on to acquire a number of famous rugby brands, increasing their strength in the sports retail market. In 2021, it reached a value of 6.17 billion British pounds, more than seven times higher than it was in 2011.
In 1908, Vimto was created in a warehouse at Chapel Street, Salford by a man named John Noel Nichols. By 2006, it was the fastest growing soft drinks brand by value! It’s available in all kinds of forms – sweets, alcohol, ice lollies.
It’s a popular drink during Ramadan, particularly in the Middle East. So much so that shops in the Middle East limit to two bottles per customer! While there’s no one factor that made Vimto such a Ramadan staple, its sugar content is widely regarded as the reason it’s become the go to beverage when breaking fast. A high sugar content means a quick energy boost, so it makes sense. The Times reported that in 2007, 15 million bottles were sold in one month!
The British Sailing Brand Henri Lloyd was first founded in Manchester, England 1963 by Polish born fashion designer and WW2 veteran soldier Henri Strzelecki. The company helped pioneer the latest technology for waterproof clothing, such as Bri-Nylon fabrics, and the incorporation of Gore-Tex waterproofing.
In 2009, the company became official suppliers of clothing and footwear technology for the F1 Brawn formula one Race team, part of a commercial partnership. The company’s been through some tough times, having gone into administration into 2018. However, three days later the company was purchased by Aligro Group!
The Hydes brewing dynasty was first born back in 1863, by Aldfred and Ralph Hyde who acquired a small brewing concern from their grandfather. As the years passed by the brewery was managed by various family members, outgrowing its premises several times due to the increasing fortune.
In 1889, William Hyde took charge when the brewery was settled at the Queens Brewery site in Manchester. He created a strong presence in the North West, acquiring an estate of public houses distributing Hyde products in droves. This reputation was rewarded in 1944 when they changed the name to Hydes Anvil Brewery to incorporate the family trademark. Today, Hydes brewery has sites in Salford, owning and managing over 40 pubs in the North West.
Independent family brewer Joseph Holt has been brewing since 1860 in central Manchester. They have a strong passion for heritage due to their long residency in Manchester, establishing nearly 170 years in the industry. That is a heritage not to be questioned!
The Joseph Holt Brewery has always been in the family, further acknowledging its place in Manchester as a local family brand. Their legacy was set in stone in 2007 when Joseph Holt was named the Manchester Evening News’ People’s Champion in the Greatest Ever Business Leaders Awards. To this day, Joseph Holt operates over 145 pubs. Holt’s is one of the few remaining UK breweries able to supply their beer in hogshead barrels.
Patak was founded in 1957 by a man named Laxmishanker G. Pathak. LG Pathak first found his feet after moving to London to practice his passion for Asian food, cooking up delights such as samosas, jalebi, and kulfi.
After raising enough money, he managed to open up his first shop on Drummond Street in London, where the news about his delicious food spread like wildfire. Present day Patak operates out of Leigh, Greater Manchester employing over 700 people worldwide to manufacture its rich Indian produce.
Although many of us favour a Yorkshire Tea, it might change your mind once you know that PG Tips actually hails from Manchester.
Arthur Brooke first opened up shop in 1896, selling reliable tea blends locally. He then struck gold in 1870 when a grocer asked for a bulk order at wholesale prices. In the 1930s, the tea was named ‘Pre-Gest-Tea’ before it was shortened to what we all know today. Unlike most companies who were producing at the time, which were blended teas – PG imported pure, high quality teas from India and China.
PG Tips are certainly a company that knows how to build a brand. The Monkey has long been the face of the brand, with a mix of Johnny Vegas’ accent in there, and they’ve never looked back.
What was once known as the ‘Cream of Manchester’ after a controversial advertisement in 1992, Boddingtons started off by owning several pubs throughout the North West. The brand received considerable recognition for its Boddingtons bitter (Boddies) that was the first to be packaged in cans containing a widget. Today, Boddingtons is well known for itss two bees logo that represents the ‘hive of industry’ in Manchester.
PZ Cussons currently hold their headquarters in Manchester, and act as a major worldwide manufacturer of personal healthcare products and consumer goods. Back in their infancy, they had a small trading post in Sierra Leone trading goods between West Africa and the UK, eventually expanding across the globe by holding various branches.
A major milestone for the company, owned by George Paterson and George Zochonis, was in 1884 when PZ listed on the London Stock Exchange based on their performance through challenging times and two World Wars.
In 1876, Warburtons was established in an assuming grocery shop in Bolton. Bakers Thomas and Ellen Warburton maintained their philosophy that still stands today, “This is a family company selling traditionally baked bread with freshness and quality you can really taste.”
Present day, Warburtons operate 12 bakeries and 13 depots across the UK employing approximately 5,000 employees. They produce over two million bakery products each day out of their factory in Bolton, which still stands today.
Sports brand Umbro started off in a small workshop in Wilmslow, Cheshire, founded by Harold Humphreys and brother Wallace in 1924. Four years on they supplied over 500 teams with Umbro sportswear, making their big debut at Wembley in 1934 when Manchester City and Portsmouth went head to head.
In 1974, Umbro’s founder passed away and in the same year the England football team chose to wear Umbro shirts by choice, until the FA stepped in. In 2007, the multinational company Nike bought Umbro to revitalise the brand, leading to the launch of the ‘Tailored in England’ line. In May 2012, Nike decided to sell Umbro to Iconix Brand Group in order to focus on its own sports brands.
Continuing with the sports brand theme, Rebook’s history back way back when in 1980. Bolton-bred shoemaker J.W. Foster developed the first known running shoes with spikes, enabling athletes to run faster than ever.
Back then they went by the name J.W. Foster and Sons before renaming the brand to Reebok, operating as a subsidiary of Adidas since 2005. The company are now venturing into many new sports areas increasing its fitness industry presence with yoga, dance, aerobics and cross-fit.
In 1938, John Sorensen first development the soft, sticky, moreish malt loaf. Just a year later, the small bakery became a booming business and was acquired twenty years later by Warburtons.
The brand name is derived from ‘Sorensen’, after the family that once ran the company.
Timpson is a brand known for their vast array of services including watch repairs, key cutting, house sign creation and most importantly high quality shoe repairs.
Timpsons started out life as a shoe retailer founded by William Thompson and brother in law Walter Joyce. William set up his first shop back in 1865 on Butler Street, Manchester where he sought out to perfect his craft of shoe making. The real turning point for him was when he began to run a multiple shoe business, one being on Oldham street where he sucked people in with shiny window displays and perfectly aligned shoe placing.
Business was booming in the 1930s and the company opened around ten shops a year, capitalising on their brand ethos of good styling, value for money, and good customer care.
John Timpson, chairman and owner of Timpson, joined the business early 1960s where he moved them in and out of several acquisitions including the £42million buyout by Hanson Trust PLC at the time. This led to the demise of the shoe trading business, allowing them to focus on the shoe repair and key cutting business it is today. Timpson present day operates out of Wythenshawe in Manchester operating 1350 outlets in Ireland and the UK. What started out as a small shop in Manchester is now a Private Ltd company, purchasing other well known brands such as Max Spielman. Talk about coming a long way from polishing shoes in the back.
Gio Goi is a British fashion label created back in 1988 by The Donnellys. The two brothers were originally known for selling clothes and memorabilia at raves in Manchester, most notably at the Hacienda in the 80s.
After successfully launching the brand, the brothers faced a legal battle with Giorgio Armani over the legality of using “Gio”. The brothers eventually stopped production after the legal battle, but the brand was officially relaunched in 2005 with new financial backers and celebrity faces. The fashion brand still operates out of their Manchester HQ.
The brand was founded back in 2009, and still holds its HQ in Manchester. They pride themselves on being digitally immersive, and on trend with everything from social media to celebrity catwalk design. Rapid fashion online retailer Missguided currently delivers to over 160 countries worldwide!
Betfred started back in 1967 when a man named Fred Done and his brother Peter started the chain with a single betting shop in Salford. Since then they have built it into the world’s largest independent bookmaker. Based in Birchwood, Warrington, Betfred also topped the list of this year’s North West Top 200 Businesses magazine for the fourth year running! Today, Betfred has more than 1,350 betting shops and are the main sponsors for some of the biggest sporting events including Cheltenham Gold Cup and World Snooker Championship.
Ticketmaster is a global ticket sales and Distribution Company that was founded in 1976 by college staffers Albert Leffler, Peter Gadwa and businessman Gordon Gunn. The company made its first major move to the UK in 2009 when they acquired a ticket exchange site, Getmein.com.
A year later, Ticketmaster and Live Nation officially announced their merger deal under the name Live Nation Entertainment. Ticketmaster UK currently holds their headquarters in the heart of Northern Quarter, Manchester. Over their lucrative history, Ticketmaster have connected the world to live entertainment, ticketing from the likes of the 2004 Athens Olympic games to the local commonwealth games held in Manchester 2002.
Fast fashion doesn’t come without its criticisms, but international fashion retailer Boohoo continues to grow having made £1.745 billion in 2021.
It all started back in 2006 when Boohoo launched online. Co-founder Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane wanted to reach consumers fast through on-trend fashion. Since their inception, Boohoo has acquired other online fashion brands, namely the LA based Nasty Gal.
We Buy Any Car
Used Car buying website “We Buy Any Car” was founded back in 2006 by Noel and Darren McKee. Currently headquartered in Middleton, Greater Manchester, We Buy Any Car now operates 160+ branches worldwide, with reported revenue of £315.1m in 2010. The company also utilised the market of buying vans in 2010 when they launched webuyanyvan.com. To us, We Buy Any Car will always be remembered for their catchy TV jingles that stick in your head.
The prestigious car manufacturer Rolls Royce was first established when Henry Royce and Charles Rolls reached an agreement to manufacture a range of cars to be exclusively sold by CS Rolls & Co in 1904.
At the time Henry Royce built his first car in a Manchester factory and Charles Rolls owned a car company in London. Rolls Royce continued to grow their brand over the years, providing some of the most incredible developments and design in the motor & aerospace world. They are one of the world’s leading producers of aero engines for large civil aircraft and corporate jets and second largest provider of defence aero engines and services in the world. In 2021, they amassed a revenue of $15.14 billion and continue to distinguish themselves as the quintessential British motoring brand.
The popular outdoor and leisure-clothing company, Regatta, was first established in 1981. The group has grown to include the outdoor and travel-clothing brand Craghoppers, snow wear brand Dare2be and family outdoor brand Hawkshead.
Back when it all began, the team was made up of just 12 people. They just wanted to provide consumers with affordable quality products. They wanted to bring fun to the outdoors and get people ready for their own personal adventure. As of 2021, there are 1986 Regatta employees worldwide. Given their popularity, we think they’ve succeeded!
The Warehouse Project
Warehouse Project was inspired by the late 1980’s club culture, when people turned up to off the cuff parties in closed down warehouses.
The Warehouse Project (WHP) was a joint venture started up by Sacha Lord and Sam Kandel, both known for their involvement with nightclub Sankeys in Manchester. They started their own parties back in 2006, holding their first night at The Boddingtons Brewery in Manchester.
WHP has since appeared at venues including Victoria Warehouse and an underground on Store Street. The most recent season was its biggest yet, held at Depot – a massive new 10,000 capacity music venue at the heart of the new Mayfield development.
Before 2010, Parklife was known as the Mad Ferret Festival! We think Parklife has a better ring to it, somehow. Parklife is Manchester’s biggest festival, held annually in Heaton Park. It was originally held in Platt Fields Park but since cultivating interest across the UK, they moved to a bigger location. The festival was co-founded by Night Time Economic Adviser, Sacha Lord, who also started up The Warehouse Project. It’s become one of the UK’s biggest festivals, accommodating around 80,000 each day.
High street sports and fashion streetwear retailer Footasylum started their journey back in 2005. It was launched by the co-founders of the JD sports empire, John Wardles and David Makin. They have an extensive brand portfolio, including sportswear giants Nike and Adidas as well as up and coming brands. Footasylum pride themselves on providing the latest lines season to season, bringing fresh streetwear to Manchester where they first started out. They now have over 44 stores across the UK.
In 2005, self-proclaimed burrito lover Morgan Davies opened up the first Barburrito in Piccadilly Gardens. It was the UK’s first ever burrito bar, and quickly became popular amongst the lunchtime crowd. Now, they have over fifteen stores in the UK, and we expect they’ll continue to grow even more.
We think that’s everyone! Let us know if we’ve missed anyone else and we’ll add it to the evergrowing Manchester brands list. We’re proud to be a distinctly Manchester agency and have worked with some incredible Mancunian brands. If you’d like to work with us on growing your brand (Manchester based or not!), don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Jacamo is a men’s clothing brand designed by the N Brown Group that currently resides in Manchester. The N Brown Group Company has moved considerably since 1859 when it was first founded. They won Business Of The Year for businesses with a turnover exceeding £50m in 2007, and recently bought underwear retailer Figleaves for £11.5 million in 2010. Jacamo is currently one of many successful brands associated with the group. Jacamo believes in going ‘The Extra’… because why not ey! You only live once.
Standing as one of the UK’s leading hosting providers, UK Fast is a worthy mention due to their local presence in Manchester especially. They offer clients dedicated server, cloud and application hosting which they operate out of their 30,000sq ft campus in Hulme. Let’s just say you can’t miss it! UK Fast is undoubtedly a strong power in Manchester, taking respective positions in The Sunday Times for “100 Best Small Companies to Work For” and winning “Best Hosting Provider” four years running at the ISPA awards. We didn’t even mention their 24 percent turnover increase from £23.4m to £28.9m in 2013 when they first launched the eCloud service. 1999 was where the journey began with Lawrence Jones and partner Gail Jones founding the company. They have gone from strength to strength over the years, filling out two floors at City Tower due to their rapid expansion before settling in to their bigger home in Hulme late 2013. We challenge you to forget those blue and red letters!
The Mcvities name derives from original British maker, McVitie & Price ltd established back in 1830 in Edinburgh. Throughout their history McVities have brought us the chocolate digestive (1925), Jaffa Cake (1927), Penguin bar (1932), Hobnobs (1985) and many more. Present day, Mcvities is the best selling biscuit brand in the UK churning out over 2,000 Jaffa cakes a minute (apparently) in their Stockport based factory & HQ.
Late Rooms originated in Salford, Greater Manchester 1999, which at the time went by the name ‘on the day for the day’. They were purely a site for unsold rooms; however, 8 years later they merged with leading leisure travel group TUI Travel PLC. Late Rooms are still centred in Manchester offering over 65,000 properties worldwide. If you ever need cheering up, head over to their social media pages. Expect giggles in the form of funny fails and silly animals doing weird & wonderful things.