Leo Workwear was established in 1981 by Peter Turner and Gwyn Hook under the name Platesound Ltd (a name generated at random).
We later named a garment
the Ilfracombe trouser!
established in NORTH DEVON
Leo have always been based in North Devon, mainly in Barnstaple, but it all started with a few months in Ilfracombe.
Postcard of Ilfracombe in the 1980s
First contract signed was with Boots the Chemist to supply 1200 pairs of knickers.
BEAR STREET, barnstaple
Moved to Bear Street, Barnstaple and changed name to Leo Textiles Ltd. The name 'Leo' was chosen as it was simple and memorable.
first HIGH VISIBILITY GARMENTS
First high visibility garments were supplied to Berger Traffic Markings.
British Standard BS6629 introduced for High Visibility Clothing.
derby WORKS, BARNSTAPLE
Leo moved to Derby Works in Barnstaple, leasing a part of the S&T mill.
Garments were made from scratch by our team of machinists.
Leo bought the garment client book from their main high visibility customer Simsco and started supplying directly to about 30 customers.
FIRST CLASS SUPPLIER
Recognised as a ‘First Class Supplier’ by The Post Office, an award that would be repeated multiple times in the years to come.
First garments were certified to the new European standard for high visibility clothing, EN 471.
Leo moved to a larger factory in Barnstaple, where they would stay for 17 years.
1 of 2 40 foot cutting tables at Princess Street.
Peter contemplating the future during building work at Princess Street!
staff THEN & NOW!
PETER - 40 YEARS AT LEO
LUKE - 23 YEARS AT LEO
MATT - 18 YEARS AT LEO
BEV - 20 YEARS AT LEO
ALI - 24 YEARS AT LEO
HELEN - 28 YEARS AT LEO
FIRST IMPORTS - BANGLaDESH
Leo's new logo, here they established their corporate colours of blue and orange.
Co-founder Gwyn Hook retired in March, 2001.
Gwyn overseeing development of the offices at Princess Street
Delivered to six different continents for the first time - everywhere but Antarctica!
DELIVERIES FROM CHINA
First major purchase of coats from China as most manufacturing is switched to Asia.
Leo introduced its first website.
10 million garments
After 25 years in business, Leo had supplied over 10 Million garments.
Rebrand to Leo Workwear to create a clearer identity and introduced the new logo.
WHIDDON VALLEY, BARNSTAPLE
Moved to the current 3½ acre site at Whiddon Drive and focused the emphasis on the Leo Workwear brand.
Introduced 23 new styles as the range was significantly expanded
Leo exhibited at their first major global safety exhibition, A+A in Dusseldorf and are now regular exhibitors.
Leo Stand 2013
Leo Stand 2019
Leo proudly introduced their first product specifically designed for women, the Rosemoor Breathable Jacket. The success of which led to many more products being created in the coming years.
first women's products
Exports grew at a rapid rate, with Leo exporting to a record 43 different countries in one year.
The introduction of MyLeo, the online ordering system allowing customers to place orders directly, 24/7. Today around half of the orders are placed on this platform.
Launched the first stocked high visibility maternity garments in the UK, enabling pregnant women to work more safely in appropriate PPE.
Created the UK’s first high visibility modesty garments, which
allowed women to stay safe in appropriate PPE without
compromising their religious beliefs.
The first EcoViz range of polo shirts and t-shirts launched. These were fully conforming garments, made from recycled clothing. The range massively expanded over the coming years.
litres of water saved
EcoViz® garments manufactured
plastic bottles recycled
trees, equivalent C02 saved
"Leo have come a long way in the last forty years. It’s nice to reminisce about the days before computers when you could physically see the results of a busy day. But of course it is very rewarding to see the great leaps forward the business has made. Our success is due to the hard work of our brilliant employees and our steadfast commitment to creating great products and doing the right thing. In 2021, the Leo Workwear team is as strong as ever as we pioneer the future of high visibility workwear with our innovative EcoViz and Womens’ ranges. I’m enjoying expanding the business and look forward to many successful years ahead.."
-Peter Turner, Founder and Managing Director.