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jerryking : savile_row   2

Ways to make excellence pay
October 17, 2007 | FT | By Alicia Clegg.

Bruce Hodgson, founder of Artichoke, a company that designs and makes bespoke fitted furniture for the very rich, has little ambition to be the biggest brand in his sector – but he would like to be the best. The same can be said of perfumer Linda Pilkington, creator of Ormonde Jayne, and Sean Dixon and Richard James, co-founders of Richard James, a Savile Row tailoring business whose turnover (something in “excess of £7m [$14.2m, €10m]”) is less stellar than its reputation and celebrity-gilded client base might suggest.

Serving the super-wealthy has never been the preserve of brands with super-sized sales. Quite the reverse. What the super-rich long for are not luxury labels but one-off, superbly crafted goods. Serving such customers allows talented artisans to work at the pinnacle of their craft. With this opportunity, however, comes a challenge: finding a business model that rewards exceptional skill.....The business model emboldening Mr Hodgson to raise his commercial sights grew from a partnership, in 1998, with the late David Telling, founder of the entrepreneurial business services company Mitie Group. Invited to pitch for a contract to make a boardroom table, Mr Hodgson produced a quote that Mr Telling dismissed as "too expensive". Something must have impressed him, however, as he personally invested £70,000 in Artichoke, donated land for a bigger workshop and became chairman.

Under Mr Telling'sstringent tutelage, Mr Hodgson swapped hand-to-mouth bookkeeping for management accounting. Artichoke learnt to break down the cost of complex projects and value work in pro-gress to a far higher degree of accuracy than most artisan businesses. Once certain of the numbers, Mr Hodgson developed a "contractually rigid approach" to payment. This gave him the confidence to tackle complicated proj-ects, in which deviations from the customer's original specifications can leave small contractors facing big losses.
artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  bespoke  brands  business_models  craftsmanship  furniture  high_net_worth  Savile_Row  mens'_clothing  fragrances  luxury  management_accounting  hand-to-mouth  one-of-a-kind  professionalization 
may 2012 by jerryking

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