Wearside's most stylish office? Inside End clothing as it launches recruitment drive
It’s undoubtedly the most stylish office space in Washington – and it’s one that’s befitting of one of the North East’s biggest clothing success stories.
In just 16 years, END. has gone from a single store in Newcastle’s High Bridge Street to a hugely-successful e-Commerce retailer with a multi-million pound turnover, selling globally.
Its main headquarters is in an undisclosed location in Washington which, although unassuming from the outside with no signage, holds one of the biggest North East fashion pioneers of the past decade.
While its three stores, in Grainger Street, Newcastle; Glasgow and London sell direct to the customer, it’s END’s e-commerce operation which has seen it soar, with its menswear, womenswear and lifestyle products, which are much coveted by its 2.5million Instagram followers, shipped all the world.
Such is END’s success that as well as selling products from hundreds of high end brands such as Balenciaga, Burberry, Gucci, Kenzo, Moncler and many more, it’s become a brand in itself, working on exclusive collaborations with the likes of Palm Angels, New Balance, Adidas, Clarks, Off-White, Stone Island and Vans.
END. is the brainchild of university friends Christiaan Ashworth and John Parker who channelled their shared passion for fashion to create their first store soon after graduating from Newcastle University.
Their fresh take on merging streetwear with luxury proved a hit and their online presence soon began to boom, while the retail side outgrew its original site in High Bridge and moved to Grainger Street, with a second Newcastle store soon to open in the former Byron unit in Grey Street.
Many of their employees have grown with the brand, rising through the ranks – and now they’re looking for more people to be part of the team.
Like many online retailers, END. saw huge growth over Lockdown and it’s created a wave of job opportunities. They currently provide 400 jobs at their Washington base, with another 350 across its original distribution centre in North Tyneside and offices in London.
There’s currently more than 50 vacancies, many of which are based in Washington, with roles also available in North Shields, Newcastle and London, from the logistics of getting goods to the customer to buying roles and marketing to photography and social media.
Lynn Perry, People Director at END, says it’s a great opportunity to be part of a creative business that’s ahead of the curve.
“Some people work here now who started as shoppers in the very first store,” she explained. “We also find that some people move into other roles and we encourage that. Some people join as logistics and apply internally for more creative roles.
"Everybody has been back in the office this month after Lockdown and there’s been a great buzz,” she said. “They’ve worked incredibly hard from home and we gave them welcome back goody bags as a thank you. We’re still social distancing and wearing masks moving around the office as we want people to feel safe.”
Other perks at this most modern of offices include a canteen with its own games area, staff discounts, table tennis tournaments, staff quizzes, a dress code where people are encouraged to feel relaxed whilst showing their personality and regular visits from street food traders – and in a heatwave, as it was during our visit, even an on site ice cream van with vouchers for free cones.
Creativity is more than encouraged at the office which has its own studios for its in-house campaigns.
Lynn added: “Putting looks together is what makes us quite unique, being able to put streetwear with luxury.
“Our collaborations, in particular, help to set us apart, such as exclusive colour ways which we launch first to the market. From a sneaker perspective, there’s an unbelievably high demand. We’re very proud of our heritage as a North East brand and of the collaborations we do on a global level.
"Anything with END. on it sells really well, people want that product. When Christiaan and John opened the first store in High Bridge they saw a gap in the market and were buying products other people couldn’t get hold of and that remains today.”
Sarah Graham, Head of Talent, said although the work they do is high end, the End offices themselves are very informal.
“I think people have a perception of fashion as being pretentious, but it’s not like that here at all,” she explained. “It’s very relaxed and people dress for who they are, anything goes, within reason.
"We’re a really inclusive and fair employer and people who work here really like the environment and the perks.”
Another recent addition to the END. brand is its womenswear range which was launched in July and has led to the creation of more job vacancies. It was a natural progression after 30% of its menswear was already being bought by women and worn as unisex.
With Lockdown causing even more of a demand for streetwear and casual wear, END. has continued to thrive, selling thousands of products a day to its legion of customers. It seems there is no End to this North East firm’s success.
For jobs vacancies at END. visit www.endclothing.com/gb/careers
Some of the Washington-based End vacancies
::Head of Marketing – Brands and Campaigns
::Social Media Photographer
::Customer Order Returns Coordinator
::IT Security Lead
::ERP Functional lead