One of the finest producers of cashmere in the world has invested £100k in a rebrand that aims to increase its international foothold and make its garments more appealing to the younger generation.
The Hawick Cashmere Company, which has 15 stores spread throughout Europe, America and the Far East, recently unveiled its new name ‘Hawico’ to staff and buyers at a private event held in the Borders.
Boasting the most advanced knitting production plant in the UK, the company, which initially produced couture pieces for the likes of Chanel, Hugo Boss and Burberry before selling its luxury products direct to consumers in the 1990s, will also launch its first e-commerce site in July.
With help from Business Gateway Scottish Borders, the company is also benefiting from advice and support from Scottish Development International (SDI), the international arm of Scottish Enterprise. Assistance through its Overseas Market Support and International Manager for Hire programmes has enabled a 30% financial contribution from SDI towards the overall rebrand project costs.
David Sanderson, Deputy Chairman of Hawico, said: “The rebrand will help us put everything into context. The Hawick Hosiery Company was our original name back in 1874, and Hawico its nickname. By embracing that name we not only give a nod to our heritage, we highlight our individuality and uniqueness.
“The rebranding of all our stores is now complete as is the overhaul of the website which will be the first place many of our customers will interact with us. Once it is e-commerce ready we hope it will expose Hawico to more countries and a younger clientele who have the money to spend on luxury goods.
“Working with renowned fashion photographer, Christian Ammann, has helped us create stunning images and an utterly beautiful video which will allow us to show Scottish cashmere at its best, arming our brand with a global appeal and uniformity.”
He added: “It’s an exciting time but getting your head around spending £100k on machinery is much easier than investing it on more intangible things like photography, but everything we do must reflect the high quality of our product and that costs money. Our Business Gateway adviser Sandra Campbell understood very quickly what we wanted to achieve. She helped pull together applications and access various pots of money that has ultimately allowed us to lay foundations for the continued success of the brand.”
Sandra Campbell, Business Gateway, said: “By working with us Hawico was able to access funding through SDI to begin its comprehensive rebranding and market development strategy, which included working with Christian Ammann. His photography has captured the essence of the brand and its Scottish heritage which the luxury end of the market demands. We will continue to work with Hawico over the coming months to further develop new markets, both on and offline.”
Until recently, the company focused on selling directly to leading fashion houses and select stores. However, changing consumer behaviour has seen it alter the way it targets its customers.
Sanderson said: “We began noticing a shift in buying patterns so decided to open our own stores in cities where we knew there was a demand for luxury Scottish cashmere, like Tokyo, Zurich, and Beaver Creek, Colorado. Now 80% of our sales are overseas.
“We have also invested heavily in new technology that produces a three-dimensional, seamless garment which allows us to build in design features. This was something we could not do with more traditional methods, although we still use traditional tailoring skills for some aspects of our production. This investment has made our production plant in Hawick totally unique.”
He added: “Because we use the finest luxury yarns and latest technology, we are at the head of the revolution in luxury textiles and our rebrand will help us sell part of Scotland’s rich heritage to the 21st Century global market.”