On The Up

Hawthorn founder: Brexit currency dip meant our products lost a fifth of their value

Praseeda Nair | 19 July 2017 | 7 years ago

Tom Lovelace Hawthorn
Tom Lovelace has been at the helm of Hawthorn for three years
As a business which is reliant on an overseas supply chain to produce its good, Hawthorn felt the impact of the Brexit vote more than most.

(1) Who are you and what’s your business?

My name is Tom Lovelace and I’m co-founder and director at Hawthorn, a premium clothing manufacturer based in London. We produce custom goods for a range of clients from small fashion brands to larger corporates.

(2) How long have you been around for?

We have been trading in this business for just over three years, since 2014. However, wehave been around for longer than that as weused to have our own clothing brand which developed into Hawthorn.

(3) How do you make money?

As a clothing manufacturer, we produce items in bulk. Producing in bulk means that our processes are very automated, and a lot of cost goes in to manufacturing just the first piece the subsequent items are much more cost efficient. In addition, our factory is based overseas, which allows us to take advantage of cost efficient labour and raw material rates.

(4) What makes you different and why should people take notice?

We are unique in the fact that we offer the lowest minimum order quantities in the world for custom clothing, something we achieve by having full control of our own facility. Some manufacturers ask for minimum orders starting from 300 pieces, for example, whereas we can produce the same products, to just as high a level of quality, if not better and at a quantity from just 50 pieces.

(5) What was key in terms of getting started?

As I mentioned previously, my business partner and I actually had a clothing brand before starting Hawthorn. Our brand was essential for starting up Hawthorn because it grew from our own struggle to find a manufacturer who could produce high quality items at the lower quantities required by smaller brands. Once we discovered that the problems we were having were actually very common and there really was nobody out there who could help, we decided to set up our own overseas facility and to begin producing for others in our situation.

(6) What setbacks have you had along the way?

The main setback we have had in business was the fall in the value of the pound after Brexit. Because we produce everything overseas, and as such deal in US dollars with our supply chain, we rely a lot on the stability of our currency. Brexit instantly wiped 20 per cent off the value of everything we did overseas and unfortunately it still hasn’t risen back to where it was before. As we strive to always give the best possible service and products to our clients, we have had to absorb some of these losses, which isn’t easy.

(7) In five years? time, I will be

In five years time I will be doing the same as I am now, but I plan to be working with more brands and making a difference to the fashion industry in a bigger and better way than I am already. My passion for the industry drives Hawthorn and although I do plan to move in to other areas of business, fashion will always be in there somewhere.

(8) What one tip would you give to others starting out?

The most important thing to remember if you’re starting out in business is that in most cases, things take a lot more time than you may estimate. You may have the best business plan in the world, but it’s more than possible that due to external factors you could be delayed.

My advice would be to triple any time frame you have, to ensure you have enough time to properly complete the task. Rushing your development can have catastrophic effects, especially when it comes to your online presence. Take the extra time to perfect what you do and you’ll give yourself a great start.

(9) Who are your business heroes and why?

My business hero is Steve Wynn, the hotel magnate who is well knows for casino and hotel development in Las Vegas. I am a perfectionist, and although it can sometimes be a curse, I am glad to be like it because it ensures everything I do is up to the high standards I and my customers expect. I find that Wynn’s attention to detail in his developments is truly inspiring and he is definitely someone who I strive to be like when it comes to business.

Meet Britain’s youngest CEO 11 year-old Jenk Oz

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