You’ve probably never heard of the small town of Cardigan, Wales. Unless you live there, why would you? It’s a small place with a small population, and like any other small town in the UK… or America… or France… or anywhere in the world for that matter. Except it happens to house one of the best brand stories I know, and boy do these small town folk know how to tell a story.
Hiut Denim are the ones who power this tale, a company that produces less than 1,000 pair of jeans each year. I personally don’t like jeans. I don’t own a pair. I haven’t worn any for several years. Yet despite my total apathy toward them, I write about a company that makes them. Because they know how to tell a story that matters, and the overarching aspect that drew me towards their tale is this…
Cardigan is a small town of 4,000 good people. 400 of them used to make jeans. They made 35,000 pairs a week. For three decades.
Then one day the factory closed. It left town. But all that skill and knowhow remained. Without any way of showing the world what they could do.
That’s why we have started The Hiut Denim Company. To bring manufacturing back home. To use all that skill on our doorstep. And to breathe new life into our town.
As one of the Grand Masters said to me when I was interviewing: “This is what I know how to do. This is what I do best.” I just sat there thinking I have to make this work.
So yes, our town is going to make jeans again.
[Tweet “”That’s why we have started The Hiut Denim Company. To bring manufacturing back home.” @HiutDenim”]
I adore this. I hope you do, too. Not only does it tell a story about Hiut Denim and why they set up in a small town like Cardigan, but it shows how to tell a good story in general.
That business you’re building… it isn’t about the money you make or the products you craft or the impressive growth metrics you share with investors and peers. Sure, this matters to YOU, but this isn’t how to tell a story that makes your customers weak at the knees.
In a competitive and chaotic world like this, your customers need real reason to give a damn. Huit Denim make jeans, but this isn’t what makes them important because lots of companies make jeans. Big deal. Who cares? And why should anyone care about you and what you do?
There’s a reason, and you can learn a great deal from how Hiut Denim tell a story.
HOW TO TELL A STORY THAT MATTERS
Check out what Hiut Denim say in their manual:
We live in a town full of people who know how to make a great jean. They have spent decades making jeans. They are the Grand Masters, as I call them. And I know they will make a great jean on our behalf.
But I also know a big part of the jeans business is about how you tell your story. We will have to tell our story every bit as well as we make our jeans.
The good thing is we have a great story to tell: A town that stopped making jeans after 30 years. Then one day started making them again.
Hiut Denim are, and rightly so, proud of making high quality jeans. These are the type of jeans you buy once and wear a lifetime. They’re quality. They’re prestigious. In the same way a good pair of shoes shares an amazing journey, these jeans do, too.
But their story isn’t about the jean, oh no. It comes down to two entities:
- THE WORKERS & LOCAL COMMUNITY (AKA: CARDIGAN)
- THE CUSTOMER
Their story begins with the true unique message that sets them apart from everyone else… The Town of Cardigan.
They recognise the talent this town has, and how large companies gutted it in an instant when they decided to go abroad where labour’s cheap. I live in Yorkshire, and for the most part it’s a humble place in this world. It’s full of industry and working class graft, and there are many town around me that have in the past specialised at one skill or another.
When you take this out of a town, it destroys families. It cripples livelihoods. I emphasise with the town of Cardigan, and I appreciate the pain they must have felt when the big boys left. I like to think most people can emphasise with this, and I’m sure you do, too.
But this only works, and people will only know about it, if YOU TELL THIS STORY!
PEOPLE MAKE A STORY WORTH SHARING
When you buy a pair of Hiut Jeans, you know you don’t just get a high quality pair crafted by skilled workers. I mean, this is good news, because these jeans aren’t cheap. You want to know they’ll last, but as well as this you know you’re joining a true community that loves what they do.
Because the town of Cardigan still remember what life without denim was like, and it’s easy to appreciate what you love when you have to live without it for a while.
No matter where you are in the world, a Huit Denim customer forms part of the team… community… a figurative tourist of Cardigan. And Hiut recognises this, which brings us to the second aspect of how they tell a story:
They embrace the notion of placing a History Tag in each pair of jeans, which provides you, the customer, with a unique number that places you and your pair of jeans within the grander story and community. From there you can upload pictures and document how YOU continue the story. Because the story inside the Hiut Denim factory only goes so far, but where you take it outside is where the tale gets interesting.
[Tweet “”It will give our objects more meaning. It will mean we throw things away less.” @HiutDenim”]
I love how Hiut Denim partner with a site like this, because it invites their customer to truly be part of their story. Reading about it is one thing, but participating in it’s another. I know a lot of brands do this through Instagram and Twitter, but it isn’t the same, because most of these are gimmicks at best, whereas what Hiut do forms a true foundational role within its tale.
It connects you, the customer, with the people of Cardigan and the skilled workers who made your pair of jeans.
It gives you, the customer, a genuine reason to continue the story these workers began through adventures of your own.
It gives your inanimate pair of jeans life, because they suddenly play a grander role in all this.
And that’s the genius of the history tag. And that’s the genius of making a product to last. It will give our objects more meaning. It will mean we throw things away less. Because it attaches the stories to the objects that we love
PEOPLE TELL A STORY BETTER THAN YOUR PRODUCT DOES
Hiut Denim tell a story like few do. It’s simple and minimalistic by design, because it doesn’t need much else. It’s about a small town that had its feet ripped from under it, but given a second chance through genuine values that people like you and me can respect (whether you wear jeans or not).
It’s about the culture and people within the business, and their skill-sets and love and appreciation for what they do. I know folk like this, who take pride in the machines they operate and products they craft. We don’t see it as customers, but when you tell a story like Huit do, you do.
[Tweet “”@HiutDenim tell a story like few do. It’s simple & minimalistic because it doesn’t need much else.”]
But more so, they invite YOU to be part of the journey. Not through gimmicks. Not through force. Through genuine messages that give your inanimate objects life and love. Few brands pull this off, because most focus on the it.
Whereas Huit Denim focus on the who… aka: PEOPLE.
This isn’t about you copying what Hiut Denim do. It’s pointless to do so, because their story’s unique to them. It’s about you digging deep enough until you understand and appreciate what YOUR story is. What truly makes it tick. More often than not, there’s a cause and community of people there, and if you connect this with your customer, and do it in a genuine and loving manner, you’ll tell a story I’ll no doubt love and write about one day, too.
I don’t like jeans, but fucking love Hiut Denim. Here’s to them, the small town of Cardigan, all those Huit customers around the world – and of course you for reading this. I hope you’ll say hello and share your thoughts via FACEBOOK or TWITTER, and go forth to tell a story of your own that rocks my world.
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