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Ratcatcher at Burghley Horse Trials

Ready for 2016

As we approach Spring having endured a wet and damp winter, our thoughts are now in planning our 2016 show season. We have fresh new faces in our team for the summer who look forward to meeting customers old and new. Our brand has continued to develop fabulous new products over the winter which will be launched and showcased at our country events. The following list may be added to over the coming weeks.

16 to 17 April BASC gamekeepers Show Catton Park

4 to 8 May Badminton Horse Trials

Burghley Horse Trials

13 to 15 May Chatsworth Horse Trials

19 to 21 May Devon County Show

28 to 29 May Herts county Show

1 to 4 June Royal Bath and West Show

Royal Bath and West Showground

9 to 11 June South Of England Show

23 to 26 June Royal Highland Show

29 to 30 June Royal Norfolk Show

1 to 3 July Scottish Game Fair Perth

12 to 14 July Great Yorkshire Show

16 to 17 July Great Eccleston Show

22 to 24 July UK Game Fair Stoneleigh

29 to 31 July The Game Fair Ragley Hall

4 to 7 August Live Blenheim Palace

5 to 7 August Festival of British Eventing Gatcombe Park

27 to 29 August Fenlands Game fair Cambridge

1 to 4 September Burghley Horse Trials

10 to 11 September Sandringham Game Fair

17 to 18 September Midland Game Fair

We hope to see you this summer.

 

 

Whilst we have to import many things out of necessity, it is so much better to be able to buy British grown or made products. Through our Ratcatcher brand we attend many of the biggest and best agricultural shows in the UK and delight in the fantastic products available in the food halls which in general come from local artisans using British meat and vegetables. We love to both enjoy and in turn support this local and British endeavor.

In May 2016 we will be launching our very first fleece garment which will be MADE IN ENGLAND from the superb world renowned Polartec thermal Pro fabric for both LADIES AND GENTS. We listened to our customers over the last year and this was the fabric they wanted. We asked about the fit and what other features were important. A discreet chest pocket for wallets or mobiles was a popular addition, especially for hearing your phone whilst out in the field. The price of the garment raised quite a debate. Many people mentioned how many fleeces were on the market at prices from £10 to almost £200. The current market leader is retailing at around £130. The general consensus was that the product quality and performance were the main criteria, although the garment must represent value for money. We think that at a price of £105.95 for a premium MADE IN ENGLAND, POLARTEC fleece with extra features and your favorite fit and trim represents REAL BRITISH VALUE. Our first two colours will be Olive green and Navy which have been matched from the colours of our Ratcatcher Moleskin trousers.

EARLY ORDER SPECIAL OFFER  Any orders placed between now and the end of February will receive a 40% Discount WHY? Because we know that the sooner the gilets are been seen then the sooner our sales will come in. We want the new Ratcatcher Fleece Gilet to become the choice of the countryside THE BRITISH MADE CHOICE OF THE COUNTRYSIDE. Use Voucher Code GBFLEECE to order your fleece now.

BACK BRITISH FARMING AND BACK RATCATCHER BRITISH FLEECES

We are currently adding a touch of paint to our factory shop/ showroom and will re open the doors during the first week of December. Our country store will be open to the public on Wednesday and Thursdays from 3pm till 6pm and then Saturday from 10am till 1pm. If customers are looking to buy full suits or are wanting wedding hire then we strongly advise making a private appointment outside of the above hours, in order that we can give the time and attention required.

Arriving at our store will require driving through an industrial estate which was once the home to one of the biggest textile finishing companies in the UK. Today the estate is a thriving mass of SME’s from roller blind manufacturers to bespoke furniture makers, plumbers to transport companies. We are on the edge of Baildon village and surrounded by wonderful green fields which stretch down to the river Aire. Within 5 miles you will find a huge range of interesting places to visit including the Haworth Moors and Bronte Parsonage, Saltaire Heritage Village and the National museum of film and photography and many more.

Our store will include all the great brands featured on our web store along with lots of one off special products and exclusive design samples. There is also an ongoing clearance sale where we drastically reduce the price of garments that have been out and about within our country show operation and might have picked up mud splashes etc but are still first quality.

In true Yorkshire style you will find warm hospitality, comfortable seating (for your partner) with complimentary drinks and plenty of topical reading material.

We look forward to meeting many new and old customers at our new country clothing store and sharing our philosophy of delivering great product with provenance and personality.

This year will see us reducing our number of shows but being bigger and better at the ones we attend. Over the last four years we have listened very carefully to our customers on what is important for them and which shows are the most relevant to us. First and foremost we are a commercial enterprise and have to make a profit in order to both survive and then re invest in new design and product in order to move forward. As such whilst it would be nice to spend the whole summer at one show or another, the hard truth is that these days many shows are not viable for a high end clothing brand due to the cost of attending and the change in customers buying habits. Twenty years ago before the internet took hold, the local country show would have been the main place to stock up your country clothing for the year, however it is now much more of a day out with the family.

The large agricultural, game and Equestrian shows remain as great events for both the public and ourselves. The biggest part of our customer base is from the Farming sector and during a busy farming summer, the County show is likely to be the only time that Farmers can be prized away from the huge work load facing them during the busy season. In recent years though as broadband finally reaches the more remote areas of the countryside it is apparent that internet shopping has been embraced and welcomed by the farming community which has made the pressure to stock up at the shows less important.It is really important though that customers can try on garments to find their size and fit for future purchases such as http://www.charleswall.co.uk/jacket-blazers-menswear

Overall we see this shift in shopping trends as a major opportunity for a small brand like Ratcatcher to become well known throughout the UK, Europe and then further afield. Our shows offer the perfect occasion to talk to old and potential new customers in a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere where we can put across our message of real passion for what we do and the quality of our product. This type of relationship would be impossible for a brand purely using the web as a sales channel. It is then our hope that our customers will both continue to buy from us on line or over the phone for the remainder of the year, but also recommend us to their friends which is the best possible way to grow our country clothing brand.

This is our provisional list which may expand a little!

**** We love to talk to customers 01274 597431

 

From To month show

11

12

April BASC Catton Park

6

10

May Badminton Horse Trials

21

23

May Devon County

27

30

May Royal Bath and West

11

13

June South of England

18

21

June Royal Highland Edinburgh

1

2

July Royal Norfolk Norwich

3

5

July Scottish Game Fair Perth

14

16

July Gt Yorkshire Harrogate

31

2

July CLA Harewood Leeds

29

31

Aug Fenlands Cambridge

4

6

A/Sep Chatsworth game fair

3

6

Sep Burghley HT  Stamford

19

20

Sep Midland Game Telford

3

4

Oct South of England Crawley

 

For the last three years many customers have visited our stand at country shows just to tell me how good our moleskin trousers are. I think 30 years is a record for wear so far, which whilst being quite extraordinary is also a long time between purchases!

I personally have three pairs, two standard fit and one jean style. After three years of very heavy wear they are as good as new albeit a little faded after so many washes. My wife actually enjoys pressing them and comments on how they return to such a smart appearance every time.

So why are they so much better than the majority on the market? Two main reasons, the first one is that we buy the very best Moleskin fabric available on the market.

The fabric is woven from a fine cotton yarn but compacted very tightly in weaving which gives weight to the fabric along with a very smart appearance. The fabric is then finished under heat which allows it to shrink fully which prevents further shrinkage after the garment is washed.

Other cheaper fabrics are loose in construction to reduce the cost of manufacturing which then causes shrinking problems later. Furthermore if the construction is loose then the yarns will work against themselves in wear and degrade much quicker.

Our fabric is also dyed with premium quality dyestuffs which allow many washes with very little colour loss. The second advantage to our trouser is the quality of garment manufacture. High quality pocket bags and waistbands and very strong threads added to top quality zips and fasteners. All of these extras add cost and it is an area where quality can be reduced in an attempt to achieve a cheaper selling price.

smart and hard wearing Ratcatcher Moleskin trousers

Smart and hard wearing Ratcatcher Moleskin trousers

Click here to choose your quality Ratcatcher Moleskin Trousers

Our customer who had 30 years from his trouser in effect paid £2 per year for his trousers. So many people have told us that the cheap trousers only last a few months if they are lucky, so in real terms their purchase is costing over £50 per year.

Furthermore there is no pride in a garment that was made for price in a sweat shop in the far east.

All Ratcatcher garments are made within the EEC of which many are still sewn in the UK. All our tweed is woven in England and we are proud to play our part in supporting what is left of the British textile industry.

Although the Ratcatcher brand is well known in the country it is always hard to get the message further afield unless you are part of a multinational with millions to spend on advertising. We want our customers and bloggers to shout out our name to others in the hope that our quality can be enjoyed and valued by a much wider community.

Jon Wall

Click here to choose your quality Ratcatcher Moleskin Trousers

 

We announced last year of the imminent arrival of our ladies tweed shooting garments and are happy to say they have arrived and images are now available.

Our new ladies tweed Gilet is made in England from our exclusive Saxony fabric

 

The garments can be bought in this new tweed or alternatively you can purchase in any of our other tweeds with a making time of just 6 weeks. We are sure that for many shoot organisers this will be an ideal outfit for their female staff and can easily be coordinated with the chaps by using a common tweed.We will of course be holding fabric in stock to make all the extra’s like hats, coats and many other requests.

The early part of January is a very dangerous time for making rash decisions which often involve commitments that just can’t be kept to. Last week I fell head first into this trap when I entered the newly organised York Marathon. I had just watched a news feature about the event, which had informed me that it was being run in the name of Jane Tomlinson who probably has inspired me in my lifetime more than anyone else. So I had to get involved and anyway York is pretty flat so why worry. Within three days of going live the event was sold out with over 5000 runners and at this point I pinched myself and started considering my actual circumstances. Being 50 isn’t that big a deal these days, but never having been a runner during these years is a little more concerning. Add the dodgy knee, the stroke and my current weight and the case was there to quietly cancel my application and let someone else take my place. The thing is that I like to do things that I am not supposed to do and this is definitely one of those.

My weight as of 13th January stands at 14 stones and 13lbs. I probably need to shell the best part of 3 stones to have a chance. More importantly I need to learn how to run, how to breathe and also what to wear. A training schedule will be required and if possible some running company. Over the next few months I intend to report on my progress via this blog and hopefully when anyone sees what position I am starting from it may encourage a contribution to my chosen charity (TBA) or even to do an equally silly challenge yourself. If nothing else I hope to keep it entertaining.

 

Through our highly regarded Ratcatcher brand, we have been kitting out Keepers and shooters with their tweeds for many years. Time and again the question has been asked if we made high performance garments to sit alongside the tweeds and up until now the answer was no. Tweed is a niche that can be made in small quantities to exclusive designs and as a medium size company we are able to undertake this ourselves. Working with high performance fabrics such as GORE-TEX is a different league and requires huge investment in product ranges and volumes in order that you can be approved to use such fabrics. With this in mind we are delighted to be offering the complete range of products from Harkila nd Seeland of Denmark. Both brands are well respected in the shooting and hunting world and have the size and expertise to continually move their product forward to embrace all that becomes new in technology. They have a superb product range that not only covers all you could need in hunt clothes, but world class footwear and a huge list of accessories. Over the next few months we will be building up these new ranges on our web site and you can also view and buy them from our shop in Baildon West Yorkshire. From March 2013 our show unit will start its journey around the best country shows in the UK and the full collection will be available there too.

Market leading quality from Harkila of Denmark

Having spent 30 years in the Yorkshire wool textile industry it is a real pleasure to design new tweeds and have them manufactured in the North of England. Over the last 6 months we have created some fabulous new designs which have been made into classic items for the country ladies wardrobe. To compliment our existing styles we have just created a new ladies shooting set which includes breeks, culottes and a shooting gillet. Whilst this new range has only been made in one tweed we offer the service of making these garments in any of our running tweeds as specials to order. This year has seen a huge increase in the number of private shoots ordering our mens tweed suits and it was fitting to build a range to provide the same quality,style and value for the lady shooter.

 

The high street has made life really difficult over the past few years when it comes to sizing. Most large brands will undersize garments in a bid to make customers feel better about themselves which then causes upset and disappointment when trying on garments that are sized more accurately. Obviously style is difficult to be precise with, but there are certain measurements which would benefit the customer if there was complete uniformity across all brands.

At Charles Wall we attempt to go by the ruler as closely as possible but accept that standard sizes will not fit everyone. As such we keep a large stock of trousers with an unfinished bottom in order to hem to inside leg measurements from 36″ downwards. And in order not to discriminate against even longer legs, we keep fabric available to allow us too fulfill all leg lengths and all waist sizes to order. To date our largest waist made was 56″ and the smallest 26″ for a couple of young lads whose father decided they were old enough to enjoy wearing their first Ratcatcher Moleskin trousers.

Over the last 2 years we have seen the volume of special make orders increase substantially which is probably as a result of larger brands refusing to hold the vast stock sizes of years gone by. You can understand what a financial headache this must be but equally how frustrating for anyone outside of the “standard sizes”

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