Gardeners get into top gear with Genus as hikers and dog walkers follow

Made for gardeners by a gardener, UK clothing and tools brand Genus Gardenwear takes a down-to-earth approach to all its ranges with the emphasis on performance whatever the activity and whatever the weather.

Business consultant Sue O’Neil planted the first seeds for her e-commerce operation 11 years ago and it’s now a perennial favourite among both retail customers and horticultural professionals where it serves as part of their workwear uniform.

With the popularity of gardening and outdoor pursuits soaring during and post the pandemic, the business is seeing 10 per cent annual growth and forecasting a £750,000 turnover for 2024/25.

For O’Neil the time has come to seek a first round of external investment. In the region of £500,000 she is looking for a business partner with experience in the sector and diversification so Genus can scale its product pipeline and forge wholesale collaborations.


Among the Gloucestershire-based company’s hero products are its Royal Horticultural Society-endorsed Caddy Bag (£69), that’s stocked at RHS Wisley. The easy clean carrier features base handles to make removing dirt easier and has 14 pockets, with a pouch to keep twine clear of tangles.

There’s a big following too for Genus’s razor-sharp Japanese tools and especially its functional trousers. New this year is the heavy duty ProPant which has secateurs stab-proof pockets, padded knees and comes in a wide variety of waist sizes and leg lengths.

“We became and are the niche between gardening and clothing. Customers start with legwear usually, then come back for something else,” says O’Neil.

“Our product development strategy is both innovative and cautious. We don’t overreach, each product is carefully considered first and always high quality.”


With 100 items and their variations now on offer, manufacture is in the Far East and O’Neil is supported by a network of 15 freelancers and mentor Colin Fisher, a former chairman of UK outdoor giant Rohan. “Running a business can be lonely and Colin is a really good sounding board,” she explains.

Her new Genus product pipeline includes affordable gloves, kneelers, and a one-tool holster aimed at commercial sales through retailers, something difficult with clothing which needs more space and changing rooms.


When O’Neil first began she was rejected for backing by an investment community who, unable to see the wood from the trees, opined “gardeners only use old clothes”. 

“I knew that was wrong and it spurred me on,” she says. “Genus is living proof today of how right I was.”

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