On Thursday 23rd April, creative entrepreneur David Hieatt shared his inspiring story so far with a group of YCN Members and friends.
On Thursday the 23rd of April David returned to the YCN Library, and generously shared his latest ideas, insights and learnings with a group of like-minded Members and friends in the YCN Library. Designers, marketers, entrepreneurs and other curious guests from the food, film, fashion and travel industries made up a rapturous audience, to which David told the story of Hiut Denim, where it started and what keeps driving him forward. He is on a one-man mission to get the 400 world class jean-makers in Cardigan Bay their jobs back, after Chinese industry put denim manufacture in Wales out of business. So far he's employed 15 staff – with 385 left to go. After hearing his story, audience members put their many questions to David, seeking advice on time-management, leadership skills and learning when to say no.
Six things we learned
1. Have purpose
When approaching a new project or business venture David asks himself two questions. Does it matter to me? Can I bring some change? If both answers are yes, you have a purpose. Purpose is vital for businesses, it is the force that drives them forward. A company with purpose is energised and motivated, irrespective of how much money is being made.
2. Think of your problems as gifts
Don't begrudge small budgets or lack of resources, these are the tools that will make you think outside the box and set you apart. When you can't spend, you have to think. Hiut Denim is small yet speedy, able to respond much faster to new technology and trends in comparison to larger, much slower companies.
3. Tell stories
Thanks to smart phones and social media, stories now travel freer and faster than ever before. And stories sell products. Today, it's not enough just to have a great product, you have to be just as good at telling the story of your brand. It's important to learn the craft of your story and spend time perfecting it.
4. Trust breeds magic
David's carefully hand-picked team in Cardigan Bay are his trusted friends, collaborators and teachers as well as his employees. Anything's possible when you work with great people and trust allows people to be great, to fly. David holds up his hands and admits that he knows little about making jeans and even less about running a factory, and so delegates all responsibility, giving free rein to his staff – the 'grand masters' – to make things work as they see best.
5. Do interesting things, and interesting things will happen
Through open minded collaborations and pursuing interests that excite and inspire, interesting opportunities come back around to surprise and delight.
6. Be smart enough to know when you don't know
David is a firm believer in ideas and the power those ideas can bring. The best ideas are those that don't have reference points, as they're the most original. David's ideas are endless. Some are more successful than others but he remains confident that one idea will be the one, though he doesn't know yet which idea that will be. The main thing is to keep having ideas, trying them, testing them out. Past experiments at Hiut Denim have included the History Tag, the No Wash Club, and the Hack Proof Pocket. A current favourite of David's is #internetofradio – a little gadget that allows the factory's soundtrack to be chosen by tweets.
A huge thank you to David and to all that attended. Signed copies of David's book DO Purpose are available to browse, buy and borrow in the YCN Library. Thanks to Propercorn as always for supplying our guests with something to snack on.
Location:72 Rivington Street,
London, EC2A 3AY,
Start:23rd April, 2015 at 6:30pm
End:23rd April, 2015 at 8:00pm