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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 February 2007, 13:12 GMT
Timberland buys 'green' company
Howies hooded top (picture: Howies)
Howies says it is based "where the air is pure and the rivers run clean"
A small Ceredigion clothing company which is popular with mountain bikers and skateboarders has been bought by US giant Timberland.

Howies, whose products include organic T-shirts and jeans, employs 20 staff at its base in Cardigan.

The firm was formed by David and Clare Hieatt in London in the mid-1990s, and moved to mid Wales in 2001.

It uses recycled cotton and polyester, and gives part of its turnover to environmental and social projects.

Mr Hieatt said the deal would allow the company to grow further while maintaining its "standards and values".

David and Clare Hieatt
It just felt right from the first phone call
David Hieatt

On the company's website, Mr Hieatt said the firm needed more money to expand further.

He said he and his wife had already re-mortgaged their house twice, and used the rest of the property to "guarantee the company overdraft".

But when it finally came to picking a partner, Mr Hieatt said Timberland "understood why we do business our way".

"It just felt right from the first phone call. They were down to earth and honest, forward looking and into ideas and their values matched our own."

In another statement released by the assembly government on Tuesday, Mr Hieatt added: "The deal with Timberland will allow us to grow further while maintaining all of our standards and values."

He said he and his wife maintained creative control of Howies, and the same team would continue to run the company.

Jeffrey Swartz, president and chief executive of The Timberland Company, said his firm was "excited and inspired" by Howies' brand potential.

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