It was a mark of jubilation for the members and extended members of the Lowe family, who spent the past weekend celebrating a full quarter of a century in the socks business and the milestone 25th anniversary of Roy Lowe & Sons.
Founded in 1996 by brothers Tim and Martin Lowe, and named in tribute to their late father whose own sock career spanned more than 50 years, culminating with his appointment as managing director at Samuel Eden, Roy Lowe & Sons has become a go-to name in socks circles, supplying some of the biggest names in retail today.
For the past 25 years, the business has been providing licensed character and non-licensed socks to bare feet across the UK, working with high street retailers, grocers, independents, online retailers, and in recent years, directly to the consumer.
“When I left school in 1981, my old man said to me: ‘No-one else will employ you so come to the factory on Monday!’. That was the start of my affinity with socks. Because of this, I have been given the honour of never having a job interview during my working career,” said Roy Lowe.
“I have learnt a lot over the years, but I think my main lesson to pass on would have to be that the best business has always been done over a drink or five – I think Ben and Hannah are trying to emulate this!”
Combining Tim’s technical expertise, with Martin’s in-depth knowledge of customer markets and the licensing industry has seen the company grow its reputation to be the UK leaders in licensed character socks.
“The new management structure is well covered with Steven, our Finance Director, and Phil, our Technical Director, who have been with us since the formation of the company. Then we have Ben, Kelly and Hannah who are stepping up to drive the business forward. We are very thrilled to take a back seat and watch the business grow,” said Tim.
Recounting his own time within both the licensing industry and the family business, Martin Lowe has paid tribute to the industry that ‘made socks fun’ over the years.
“I am proud to say that I have made friends for life; David and Nigel from Aykroyds and Tim at TDP to name but a few…” he said. “And of course, the sock monkeys who I have worked with over the years – thank you for your valuable time. It is great looking back at what we have achieved.
“When we started licensing at Eden’s we were in the top three in the Disney royalty stream. At Lowe’s we have worked on so many different deals, signing Harry Potter, currently coming up to a 20 year partnership with Peppa and Nickelodeon, and of course the numerous agencies all with their own unique selling points.
“Fundraising for The Light Fund was always a pleasure, Deannie Doo, Radda and myself started with the ‘tri-sockle’ biking from Mansfield to the licensing awards in London. As most blokes who become MAMIL’s (Middle Aged Men in Lycra), know that lycra tends to flatten certain bits out. We decided over a boozy lunch to enhance said certain parts by using large carrots as props. Needless to say, we were getting a few gasps of appreciation from the front tables!
“Can I say it’s been an absolute pleasure, and if you haven’t argued or fallen out with me at some point, you weren’t doing your job correctly.”
Ben Lowe, now part of the third generation of Lowes to succeed in the socks business, said: “We Lowe children were told repeatedly since we were young that we were not to go into socks; clearly Kelly, Hannah and I failed to listen!
“From my first week at work in Las Vegas, where I received a warning on my first day for being late… it has certainly been a learning curve on socks, licensing and drinking. I think I speak on behalf of the whole company (past and present employees) when I say how proud we are of what Tim and Martin have achieved over their careers, and over the last 25 years with Roy Lowe & Sons.
“What an incredible tribute to Grandpa, and one that lives testament to his name and reputation. Here’s to the next 25 years of Roy Lowe & Sons!”