Cotton Traders: A British Mail Order Company Shares the Dream of Nelson Mandela

To the casual reader the term cotton traders would suggest people who produce and market cotton for the textile industry worldwide.  And conjure up visions of global operations like Plexus  which promotes its brand as involved in “farming, ginning, warehousing, manufacturing, logistics, and marketing operations.”

Think laterally and out of that box, but not too far away, and you  will discover a British company which goes by the name of Cotton Traders.  A pun on the name of one of its founders.  After enjoying huge success as international rugby players through the 70’s, Fran Cotton and Steve Smith founded Cotton Traders in 1987 and over the years have made it into one of the most successful mail order companies in the UK.  By 2010 it employed 1000 staff and boasted an annual turnover of more than £65 million.

Their catalogue features his and hers, menswear, womenswear, footwear, and accessories collections.

Nelson Mandela. Creative Commons License.
Nelson Mandela. Creative Commons License.

The Cotton Traders brand received powerful product placement on the big screen in February 2010 with the smash hit 'Invictus' starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. Clint Eastwood directs the film which is based on the events of the 1995 Rugby World Cup where South Africa achieved victory with the open support of the new president, the freedom fighter of the century, Nelson Mandela.

During the 1995 Rugby World Cup, Cotton Traders sponsored England, Wales and South Africa, so the Cotton Traders logo is visible on the Springboks’ training jerseys and tracksuits. 

And that is how a British company started by two rugby pals played a role in the dream of the South African hero, Nelson Mandela. 

More by this Author

Comments 6 comments

viking305 profile image

viking305 6 years ago from Ireland

A very interesting hub about something I did not know about. The Cotton Traders brand of the online mail order company was an interesting read.

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba

Nice hub, thanks for sharing your knowledge.

glendoncaba profile image

glendoncaba 6 years ago from Somewhere in the hubverse Author

@viking305: Happy you enjoyed the read.

@Leanman: Thanks for stopping by.

Breezemount 6 years ago

Visit From humble beginnings of just 4 vehicles in the mid-90s Breezemount have developed to become the UK and Ireland’s leading express 2-man home delivery provider. Our friendly and flexible approach ensured that the service we offered excelled at a time when customer service was a complaints department.

khalil 17 6 years ago

Pls I need to know the site I an open it in the UK .. my son is there and I want to choose clothes by net .. URGENT .. so how can I open the catalogue site with prices .. many tks

glendoncaba profile image

glendoncaba 6 years ago from Somewhere in the hubverse Author

@Breezemount I don't know why I am allowing such flagrant promotion but go ahead...

@Khalil: Are you talking about Cotton Traders, then I have hyperlinked it in article but here is link again:

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article