Grenouille ® - 25 Years in the Making
The Grenouille® brand was first launched in the late-1990s by my wife, Vicky's parents, Cindy and Greg Cowell; with both Vicky and myself working with brand for over a decade before starting Salamander Shirts.
Grenouille has always focused on producing competitively priced garments, using quality fabrics and with an easy care styling. In the early days, the brand quickly gained popularity with the country living and holiday / travelling community, due to their popular cotton seersucker shirts. For those that haven't yet had the pleasure of seersucker before, it's the ultimate easy care fabric; wash, drip dry and no need to iron.
The Grenouille name, (pronounced 'Gron-wee,the French word for frog) was suggested by Vicky and came from a logo embroidered on one of their most popular early shirt designs.
Over the years the brand achieved success in numerous areas of ladies fashion, however the shirts continue to be the item that the brand is best known for and that constantly capture the hearts of their customers around the world.
In 2014, Grenouille launched its Signature collection of fashion shirts, featuring unique prints and numerous design details. Since its launch the collection has grown from strength to strength and now rivals the seersucker in popularity.
In February 2021, Greg and Cindy retired and we were fortunate enough to take over the Grenouille brand. Vicky and I are delighted that we are able to take it forward and hope that we're able to see in flourish for another 25 years!
Salamander - A new beginning!
2011 was a big year for me and the start of the journey that would lead to Salamander.
In early 2011 I made the decision to leave my job as a business management consultant and joined my wife’s family’s business, taking up the challenge of being the operations manager for Grenouille. The other major life changing event that took place was in December, when my wife gave birth to our son, Samuel.
The change in career, re-ignited the creative / artistic streak in me and gave me the opportunity to meet the people and learn the skills that would enable the initial spark of an idea to become what I’m sharing with you today.
During my time at Grenouille, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to be involved and learn the garment design process, leading to my own collections being put into production and sold. Being very honest, there really is nothing that can describe the feeling of seeing a garment you designed, being worn by a person, walking past you on the street!
The Birth of Salamander
It was during a product development trip with my family at the end of 2018, when the idea for Salamander first popped into my head. We were visiting a fabric supplier and I decided it might be a nice idea to have my tailor make some shirts for me and my son, using some of the incredible fabrics on offer; after all there’s something quite fun and special wearing matching clothes with your kids. I asked Samuel to select some fabrics he liked and after much deliberation, he selected seven designs.
The following day, I was visiting one of the factories that produce shirts, when I mentioned to the factory owner, K. Siriporn Oy, my intention to get some shirts made for my son and me. Their immediate response was that they’d be delighted to help. Two days later and the shirts were finished and became the designs for the first Salamander Shirts collection.
We loved the shirts and whenever we wore them we received compliments and questions about where we got them. Naturally the compliments became the catalyst that spurred me to decide that I wanted to share our concept and product to the world and so Salamander Shirts was conceived. The brand name was partly inspired by Grenouille's amphibian connection and also because I love the spiritual symbolism and meanings of salamanders; vision, energy, growth and adaptability.
Today and the Future
Vicky and I are excited to be able to take forward the Grenouille brand alongside Salamander and we'll continue to focus on designing competitively priced clothing, using great quality fabrics.
If you've got any suggestions or comments, good or bad, then we want to hear them. Without knowing what we're doing well or not so well, we can't keep making the items that you all love.