Robin Philpott of Farlows talks to Hetty Chidwick about British standards of quality, loyal customers and sporting trips of a lifetime.

The ultimate dream is to have a favourite pastime that masquerades as a job, as is the case at Farlows.

‘I genuinely see it as a privilege to work in an industry that’s also a hobby,’ discloses Robin Philpott, managing director of the 177-year-old company as we sit and chat in the Pall Mall establishment – which is rather like a sweet shop for fieldsport fanatics.

Most staff members have devoted entire careers to the London sporting emporium, their passion for shooting and fishing matching that of the loyal customers coming back for more. Some staff have such long-standing relationships with customers that they refer to them as their ‘own’, whereas other devotees simply pop in now and again for advice – the
key to everything Farlows is about. ‘If you give bad advice, there’s nowhere to hide,’ cautions Mr Philpott.

However, there’s no chance of anyone at Farlows giving suspect guidance because their depth of knowledge comes from personal experience and a genuine love for the sport. These days, customers are getting younger as shooting becomes more popular, less elitist and more affordable, which means that lightweight garments made from technically advanced materials are very much in demand.

Everything with the Farlows name on it is made in Britain and the company has a Royal Warrant from The Prince of Wales, whose interest lies in supporting smaller, craft-based manufacturers. ‘We actively seek out manufacturers in the UK that use traditional British methods, with traditional British standards of quality,’ declares Mr Philpott.

The company’s reputation for finding the finest things for the field has led to it launching a travel agency to help arrange sporting trips of a lifetime. There’s absolutely no doubt that Farlows offers exemplary service, allowing you to kit yourself out in the best attire and equipment – whether field or river – and the chance to make some lifelong, like-minded friends along the way.

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Robin’s tips for sporting attire

  • To retain all the properties of the fabric if it gets wet, the key thing is to let the garment dry at room temperature and never in a damp garage, airing cupboard or over a radiator, as it dries too quickly and changes the construction of the cloth.
  • Once the piece of clothing is dry, remove dirt with a soft brush.
  • And don’t carry too many cartridges in one pocket – keep them evenly balanced, so the coat sits straight on the shoulders.