In an increasingly crowded and compromised world, what is it that both stands us apart and makes us fulfilled? And in a highly commercial world, where bludgeoning budgets can destroy diversity of enterprise, how do small businesses and start-ups compete and thrive?
David Hieatt, co-founder of Hiut Denim Co and the Do Lectures, gave a provocative and emotive insight into the ethos that is writ through his personal and business life: how the power of purpose can be the fuel for personal fulfilment and a driver of business success.
Hieatt told his story at a U+I Think event at our office in London, describing how Cardigan, a small town of 4,000 good people in west Wales, used to have a denim factory where 400 people would make 35,000 pairs of jeans a week. For three decades, until it closed.
Hieatt started The Hiut Denim Company to bring manufacturing back to the town and to use all the residual skills of the community’s former workers, breathing new life into the town.
No motivational speeches were or are required, says Hieatt, because everyone in Hiut knows why they are doing what it is that they do. And it is just this – the power of purpose – that underpins both business success and personal fulfilment for everyone.
That purpose is the ballast in the company’s hold, keeping it stable while dynamic creativity and fruitful failure are allowed to run riot.
Purpose was and remains a powerful weapon in the company’s commercial armoury too, as it competes against global brands with gargantuan marketing budgets.