In a town that used to make 35,000 pairs of jeans a week and employ 400 people, David and Clare Hieatt have set themselves a goal to get their town making jeans again and get 400 people their jobs back.
“Do one thing well”. This is the first line you see on the Hiut Denim website, the first thing you realise when you visit the Hiut Denim factory and the perfect line to start the ‘With love project’. We were lucky enough to meet the Co-Founder of Hiut Jeans, David Hieatt one sunny morning just outside Cardigan in his factory.
When we arrived at the Open Day shortly after 10, everything was in full swing. There was an eclectic bunch of customers, jeans enthusiasts and fans of the Hiut story waiting eagerly to find out the inner workings of this exciting company, itching to witness the process, the ideas and the people that make this innovative company tick, a company set up by David and his wife Clare just over 2 years ago.
We were looked after by Hiuts grand masters, a highly trained collection of individuals with decades of experience making the finest jeans. Each grand master talked us through section by section, from the initial cutting pattern on the computer to the finished pair of Hiut Jeans we held in our hands. At each station we found out all the intricacies of the jeans making process from the tweaking of patterns to the cutting, the stitching, ironing, riveting and finishing.
Even though Hiut is only just over two years old this particular group of grand masters have years of Jeans making ability between them and are part of what makes Hiut so special. This town used to make jeans… lots of them. 400 people used to make 35,000 pairs of jeans a week. That was until one day in 2002 the factory had to close. This tragedy forced hundreds of experts out of work. Decades of ability was lost instantly. David is now looking to these former jeans makers harnessing their skills to produce quality this time round, not quantity. Hiut allows the grand masters to individually craft each pair of jeans and then sign each one before they go out to the lucky customer.
David wants to get the town of Cardigan making jeans again and he currently employs a number of the staff from the old factory saying “12 employed, Only 388 to go”. He is an ideas man, a real inspiration. He built Howies with the aim of having an ethically correct clothing company. He set up the ‘do lectures’ first in Wales, then in San Francisco and soon in Australia to bring people together to share ideas, debate, listen and inspire. He created 25 Mile, a restaurant that sources it’s main ingredients from a 25 mile radius and of course Hiut Denim, born to get the town making jeans again and to be the most creative jeans company in the world.
In order to realise great ideas, you have to execute them well and then tell everyone. No-one will know how great your idea is unless you shout from the rooftops. David does this brilliantly, opening his factory every year, blogging on the Rivet Press, constantly finding unique ways to talk to the customer, sharing his ideas and his important time with anybody who is interested.