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Entrepreneur realizes dream by selling goods in Beijing

By Cecily Liu | | Updated: 2017-09-05 23:54

Ross Barr-Hoyland always hoped to do business in China like his father, and now his vision is finally turning into reality as the department store the British House, in Beijing, will start selling his clothes from October.

The British House will initially sell Ross Barr cardigans, jumpers and polo t-shirts, with prices ranging from 145 pounds – 225 pounds.

"We're really keen to grow our sales in China. As a next step, we'll explore ecommerce opportunities, before looking into opening a physical store," said Barr-Hoyland.

Barr-Hoyland, who founded the menswear company Ross Barr two years ago, is representative of innovative young British companies looking beyond the European market for new opportunities. Ross Barr’s revenue this year has reached 60,000 pound, with 45 percent of sales generated internationally.

Department stores such as the British House offer a great opportunity for British companies to get access to the Chinese market and trade on their British identity and reputation for style and quality. Opened this June near Tiananmen Square, the British House sells British products such as Turnbull & Asser, Aspinal of London and Rachel Riley.

Barr-Hoyland, who first visited Shanghai and Beijing in 1999, said he is thrilled to see China's changes over the years. His father ran a recycling business, working extensively with Chinese partners.

"As a result of my dad's trips, I visited China frequently and we have many Chinese family friends. They're all so happy for me that I'm coming back to China, although in a different sector from my dad," he said.

From the outset, Ross Barr clothing items look similar to classic British brands such as Burberry and Barbour, featuring simple and elegant looks with designs reminiscent of historical British attire. But what makes this brand special is perhaps Barr-Hoyland’s vision to revitalize British textile industry through the brand's growth.

His home city, Wakefield, in West Yorkshire, was once a famous wool center, but has declined over the years.

Barr-Hoyland said he is keen to keep his production in Britain. He uses Scottish wool dyed and spun by West Yorkshire Spinners in Keighley before being manufactured in Leicester.

"I aim to build an authentic British brand to help revive British textiles, combat the decline in former industrial heartlands and provide opportunities for people in these areas," he said.

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