Shaper: Peter Williams

Show aired on 29th July 2017

Transcript

Peter Williams
Peter Williams is founder and CEO of Jack Wills.

Established in 1999 as a single shop in the seaside town of Salcombe, Jack Wills has since expanded to become an international brand with 90 stores (and counting) across the globe, including the UK, US, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Middle East, and currently shipping to 130 countries worldwide via jackwills.com.

Jack Wills is a British fashion and lifestyle brand that has always believed in creating premium clothing and accessories for people who appreciate design, quality and attention to detail. It’s known for heritage inspired classics with a contemporary twist and is proud to fly the flag for Britain around the world, whether through a collaboration with a Yorkshire mill or the Jack Wills Seasonnaires’summer on the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Authenticity, honesty and irreverence are just three of the qualities woven into the ‘Fabric of Jack’ and this company ethos has stood fast for 18 years.

Peter Williams founded Jack Wills at the age of 23, having graduated from UCL with a degree in economics. He returned to the position of CEO in August 2015, having stepped away in 2012, and has since orchestrated a buy-out with BlueGem, owner of the iconic Liberty brand and department store in London, driving forward the reinvigoration of the Jack Wills brand.

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“The arrogance and naivety of youth…I didn’t have any idea as to how difficult it was going to be so I couldn’t really understand how it could possibly be anything other than wildly successful.”

“I figured that if I could create a brand which bottled that spirit, that sort of youthful spirit if you like, then that was going to be a very compelling proposition not just domestically, but around the world.”

“One of the most brilliant things about starting a business is you break all sorts of rules, but you don’t even realise you’re breaking them because you didn’t really know what they were in the first place.”

“I said to Rob one day, ‘the worst thing that can happen next year is we turnover sixty two thousand because by then we will have probably starved to death’.”

“…the utter exhalation of walking down the street and seeing someone wearing one of your T-shirts. I still feel like that, you know. I still feel like that.”

“Trust me, I’ve made my fair share of bad decisions as well.”

“I think anybody who has anything other than humility, along with that naivety and desire to be successful, is going to fail. As soon as you have a swagger it’s the day your shareholders should sell their shares I think.”

“Challenges evolve, but at the nub of it you’ve got to make a product that your target customer wants to buy and you’ve got to sell it to them at a profit.”

“If you don’t really, really, really intimately understand your customers, I am not quite sure how you can hope to ever succeed.”