Hestra Gloves started in 1936 when founder Martin Magnusson manufactured heavy-duty hand coverings for Swedish lumberjacks. The family-owned business has since moved into gardening, a happy circumstance for both retailers and gardeners alike.
Detroit-based English Gardens has been carrying Hestra’s gardening gloves in several styles and colors for three years. The garden center’s top sellers are light-weight “dip” gloves, made from form-fitting material best used for potting, planting and everyday projects, and a leather-palmed glove designed for rougher work.
“All Hestra does is gloves,” says Dean Darin, a merchandise manager and shareholder with English Gardens. “They took their expertise and made high-quality gardening gloves.”
Darin noticed the distinctive style and sizing of the product after spotting it at a trade show. Hestra’s gardening gloves are sized similarly to shoes, complete with an online fitting chart. This level of attention is unique among gardening apparel manufactures, Darin says.
“I have a couple of pairs at home,” he says. “I’m a size 14 shoe and need extra-large gloves, and [Hestra] is able to provide me with a size that fits.”
Women comprise about 85 percent of English Gardens’ glove sales. The retailer’s female customers appreciate the Hestra line’s durability and attractive design.
“They like the look, and when the gloves get worn out, they’re coming in to buy a new pair,” Darin says.
Overall glove sales have grown by 30 percent since English Gardens began carrying the brand. Not only is the product a difference-maker for the company’s bottom line, its creator is cognizant of what styles are most popular.
“We provide point-of-sale data on what styles and colors are selling the fastest,” Darin says. “They fine-tune their assortment, which helps us.”
Thanks to high sales figures, garden center stakeholders are happy Hestra expanded beyond the European lumber industry.
“It’s been a great line for us,” Darin says.