3
Sep
2014

Upping the pharmacy style stakes

We’ve been so thrilled with the all of the positive messages we’ve received in relation to this post talking about our new brand. Considering the response, I thought I’d continue to build the anticipation and share some details about the design approach for our new uniforms.

I’m a huge believer that what you wear has an enormous impact on what you do and the way you do it, so it was inevitable the design of the new uniform was going to be given significant priority as we planned our new evolution. We wanted something that really reinforced the fresh, spirited, fun feel of our people and organisation, something our people would be thrilled and delighted to wear and supported an active, energetic approach to day-to-day activities.

It’s probably not surprising the traditional uniform providers struggled with this concept. We quickly realised that picking a fabric out of a book, checking which other corporates had already made the same selection and applying that to an existing range of garment styles wasn’t going to deliver what we wanted.

Designing our own fabric seemed like an obvious way to overcome the first part of the challenge and get something unique that reflected our new brand story. While we didn’t know exactly what we were looking for, we certainly knew it wasn’t our new logo miniaturised and replicated over and over!

After hitting more road blocks than The Amazing Race (our family’s must see TV event of the week) time was running out for the big reveal on 9 September 2014.  Stuart had a flash of inspiration and asked: ‘Why don’t you see if Paul is interested?’

Contacting Brisbane’s leading couture fashion designer, Paul Hunt — best known for his amazing bridal and evening wear — may not have seemed the most logical way of solving our uniform problem. Particularly when he was in Paris on an extended sabbatical. But thinking outside the square and delivering via the unexpected has been a hallmark of the way we’ve always done business, and it quickly became apparent that Stuart had actually come up with an outstanding solution.

I first met Paul at a MBFF event in Brisbane a number of years ago when I fell in love with everything that he sent down the runway. Emboldened by a glass or two of champagne at the after party, I approached and told him I wanted to buy the whole collection.  He responded with: ‘We should talk!’

While sober heads prevailed by the time we met up the following week, and I didn’t actually buy the whole collection (I did come away with a rather gorgeous selection though, which I have thoroughly enjoyed adding to on a regular basis ever since), it was the start of a lovely friendship which has included plenty of business discussions along the way.

I texted him in Paris, asked if he was interested and he immediately replied, ‘yes.’ We sent through the brief and, within 24-hours, had both a fabric design and initial garment sketches that had us leaping out of our skins with excitement. Why Stuart’s idea had been so great, was despite the fact this was Paul’s first foray into fabric design, he knew us as people, knew the way we did business and the values that were at the core of everything we do. This, plus his amazing talent, allowed him to deliver, in 24-hours, the perfect solution to a problem we’d been struggling with for weeks.

It was also a fantastic illustration of the premises on which we are building our newest business activities:

  • Geography no longer presents insurmountable barriers. In this day and age it is possible to work effectively and rapidly with people regardless of their global location
  • Traditional models of design and manufacture go out the window when digital enablers are introduced
  • Cultural fit and a partnership approach are still the key elements of success in any relationship, commercial or otherwise

We couldn’t be more thrilled with the beautiful, stylish, but completely fit-for-purpose designs, that will be making their debut at our launch day next Tuesday, and can’t wait for our team to see their amazing new look!

with paul

Keen-eyed readers of this blog would also remember Paul was responsible for my beautiful Vegas Vow Renewal dress, but refreshing your memory of its design is not going to provide you with any hints…

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3 Responses

  1. Flora Fascinata

    I am so excited and so thrilled that Paul Hunt is doing the designs!!! You are a lovely muse for him, and I know you have enjoyed buying his work over the years. I want a uniform!!! :O

  2. Pingback : Cathie Reid | Dior, Paris, champagne & macarons – need I say more?

  3. Pingback : Cathie Reid | The final miles of the rebrand roadtrip

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