In 1985 husband and wife Julian and Rhona Blades opened the doors of their first womenswear store in Jesmond, a leafy suburb of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the North East of England. At the time, the two had only been in a relationship for a matter of a few weeks; Rhona was head lecturer in fashion design at Newcastle college and Julian had recently returned from Germany where he had been travelling throughout Europe as a self employed agent for Barbour and other British brands for three years, opening up the European market and having seen so many retail operations, he was very keen to start something new for himself. Their ambition was to bring a new refreshing intelligent offer of womenswear to the North East of England. The store became an instant success and very soon the word spread, business boomed and men started asking when they would be able to enjoy the same and so the neighbouring premises was acquired and Jules B for men was born.
"Their ambition was to bring a new refreshing intelligent offer of womenswear to the North East of England"
Julian’s family heritage was in tailoring going back over five generations with his great great grandfather being personal tailor of Lord Raglan (of 'Charge of the Light Brigade' fame) so it was no surprise that menswear was a natural progression; very soon Jules B was dressing the ‘movers and shakers’ of the North East and gaining a very distinguished reputation as the premier destination for designer fashion.
Jules B was now being recognised on a national scale by winning the industry's top accolades including Drapers 'Best Independent Fashion Retailer in Britain' no less than three times! Always sensitive to customer needs, the Blades could see a shift in shopping habits with the advent of the Internet and it was not long before they trialled selling online; the results were very encouraging and in 2008 Jules B invested heavily in a brand new website which gave them startling results! Jules B was now open 24/7 and business exploded and very soon the company had to relocate the web business to a new three storey 15,000 sq ft building incorporating photography studios, a graphics department, administration and warehousing. Jules B was now a multi-channel 'Bricks and Clicks' operation with the Internet representing 75% of the company's turnover, employing over 60 members of staff.
Feeling the need to expand their retail division, Jules B recognised a gap in the market in the North West and purchased a beautiful three storey Lakeland stone listed building in the picturesque town of Kendal in the Lake District. This too proved a success and after two years trading, another sizeable building was acquired directly opposite to become a stand-alone menswear store, and in 2017 a third store was acquired which became the home for a new venture named Zen by Jules B. This fascia discerned the offer even more and was directed at an ever-growing new demographic of female customer. This woman was not attracted by designer brands but demanded a very specific style of soft, comfortable, luxurious and uniquely styled product that was very different to Jules B's traditional fashion-forward brands. In order not to confuse the customer, Zen by Jules B was set-up to give a clear identity to the brands we were stocking to cater for this customer.
Our goal is to be recognised for our distinctive style, taste and unique offer of both men’s and women’s clothing, as well as an exceptionally high level of service and a fantastic shopping experience. We pride ourselves on going to extreme lengths to discover and acquire new and exciting products that we can showcase to our customers both in-store and in an online shopping environment. The Jules B ethos is 'product before brand'; every collection is assessed on the merit of its design, quality and value for money. As an independent we have the advantage of cherry-picking the best pieces from the best collections. Our buyers know and understand our customers and strive continually to find products that will satisfy and reward their tastes.
"We pride ourselves on going to extreme lengths to discover and acquire new and exciting products"
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