Corgi has its roots firmly in West Wales, where Rhys Jones, an enterprising local trader, opened a small shop called Ford Mills in 1892. Rhys concentrated on drapery items, supplying goods by horse and cart, and quickly developed a thriving business. He spotted an opportunity to manufacture and purchased a number of second hand Griswald hand operated circular knitting machines to produce thigh high woollen socks for local colliers. He then followed on with a similar product, but in a finer quality, for men to wear to chapel on Sundays. From the beginning, Rhys paid enormous attention to detail and quality, and, as the reputation of his products grew, demand spread across east and mid Wales. Upon his death, Rhys’s son, John Jones, continued to operate the business, and he was succeeded in turn by Rhys’s grand- daughter, Enid Jones. In 1935 Enid married local teacher Glyn Jones, who took up the management of the business along with his wife.
The Second World War brought contracts to produce socks for Allied forces. The work force was doubled to meet demand, and new automatic machinery was purchased. While on a buying visit to a Bedford factory, Glyn Jones observed how his original Griswald hand operated machines could be adapted for special design effects, and when he returned to his Welsh factory he experimented and taught one of his employees the design and production of what were later to become known as Argyle patterned socks.
The quality and design of the socks attracted immediate attention and within a very short time the company found it was receiving orders from America and beyond. The export market had opened up! To meet growing demand, additional Griswald machines were purchased, and it soon became clear that the company would have to expand and move to larger premises to meet demand.
As part of the change, a new company, Corgi Hosiery Limited, was formed to cover the manufacturing side of the business – the name was influenced by the Corgi dog, a Welsh breed made popular by the then Princess Elizabeth’s fondness for it.
The company continued to expand and develop, and when Enid and Glyn’s son, Huw Jones, joined the company in 1960, it started to diversify into knitwear. The company continued to grow, developing a worldwide reputation for its quality and design.
In 1989 Corgi was awarded a Royal Warrant by his Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales. This has become a mark of quality for the company’s products across the world, and is regarded with enormous pride by everyone at Corgi.
In 1997, the involvement of the Jones family in the business was secured for another generation when Huw Jones was joined by his son, Chris Jones, and his daughter, Lisa Wood. Since 1997 the company has undergone another period of change, expanding its product lines to include ladies and children's wear. In 2008, Chris and Lisa took over the running of the business when Huw Jones semi-retired. To expand the business, investment was needed, and more importantly the company had to expand its sales capabilities. Both these goals were achieved when Corgi joined forces with Dents, a UK glove manufacturer world renowned for its quality products.