Never Stand Still. But Always Stand for Something.
How you start out is how you will end up.
I don't know where I got that phrase from, but there is a lot of truth in it.
If important values,dreams, aims aren't put into place from the beginning, they don't just magically turn up during the journey.
I remember one day having a conversation with the landlord about how bad the floor was, and how I thought he should get it painted. His mindset was different to mine. He was happy with mediocre and I wasn't. I ended up walking out and left the landlords in the factory without any goodbyes being said. The next day, we went and bought some floor paint and some rollers.
I wanted everyone to know that if we were going to make great jeans, we wouldn't surround ourselves with mediocre. Mediocre is contagious. And it would set us out on the wrong path.
The floor is now part of folklore of Hiut. Everyone in the factory knows what our intent is: To be great at what we do.
One way to make sure you beat mediocre is to work with people who have already battled with it and won. I like working with a small team of people who have proven to themselves and the outside world that they have the desire to push things forward.
My idea for the factory was to make it feel precise, to make it feel uncluttered, to make it feel almost zen like, where the only thing to concentrate on was the art of making a great jean.
One member of our small team is Russell Ashdown who runs Remodel Design (Others are Nick Hand who designs the Year Book, Jon Heslop who develops our internet strategy). He designed the space at the factory and in so doing, he shaped our future. Of course, helped along by the Landlord.
I will put up some more photos next week. I will end by sharing his thinking on the project.
The most important thing to get right is the fit.
So we spent a year on just two fits.
The Regular. And the Slim.
And by all accounts, it was time well spent.
Our returns rate is running at around 2%.
The industry standard is around 20%.
Whatever we have done, we have done it well.
But we can’t settle for being just good at something when there is a place called great that we would like to go to.
If we want to get our town to get 400 jobs back, we will have to go there a lot.
So the last two days we have got the 'A' team together to see how we can improve.
The ‘A’ team is made up of Claudio, Steve and Norman. (And of course, all The Grand Masters)
Between them they have nearly 200 years of know how of making you know what.
First to change was to make the coin pocket compatible to the iPhone 5. (It’s 1cm longer than the iPhone 4).
Then, we changed the pocket itself so it was smoother to get your hands in.
Then we spent some time making the internals less bulky so it’s more comfortable to wear.
Then we altered the rise by 1 cm so it feels better on your back.
Each time we made a change, Steve would alter the pattern. Then Claudio would cut a pair. Then Grand Master Elin would make them up.
And I would get to try on.
We did that for two days. And then finally everyone was happy. And we signed them off.
Then it was over to Norm to go and change all the patterns digitally across all the sizes.
The company that keeps pushing forward is an interesting one.
That is the culture here.
That is what we stand for.