I have a favourite pair of jeans, and I bet you do too. But here’s the thing, the jeans I love have seen better days.
The rips and tears might appear fashionable but trust me, they’re all wear and tear rather than some sort of “trying too hard to be cool” statement.
So, for the last year or so, they’ve been confined to only be worn at home, and not if we have guests.
A few weeks ago, en route to a meeting with Rightmove, I noticed the Nudie jeans repair shop in Soho and decided to treat my old faithfuls on my next visit. And that’s when I was blown away, (and considerably more so than when the wind rushes through the gaping holes at my knees and thighs).
I was greeted like a long lost friend. Admittedly I was wearing a newish pair of Nudies, they are a brand I like, but the response to my question, “is there anything you can do with these?” as I handed over my decade old faves was remarkable. “Oh yes, we certainly can,” followed by an examination that would put many a Savile Row tailor to shame. “How much will it cost?”, I asked. “Oh, there’s no charge, we repair for free or you can trade them in for a new pair and get 20% off but these have plenty of life in them yet.”
This got me thinking and asking why? Why on earth would Nudie set up a shop, in a part of London where retail space is no longer cheap, to offer a free repair service thus negating sales of their new products? And the more I thought about it, the more I got it, and then a quick visit to the Nudie website confirmed my feelings.
Nudie has a purpose, what I call a FBI (Fantastic Big Idea). They believe in sustainability and improving the environment. They’ve worked out that clothes can have a negative impact through the amount of water used in their manufacture and frequent washing after purchase. So they champion production techniques of old that result in “dry denim” and encourage wearers to go for up to six months between washes. They design their jeans to be worn over and over again and then, when they get tired, or even close to falling apart as in my case, they’ll repair or recycle them.
And what I love about this, other than the free repairs and the chance to wear my favourite jeans outdoors again, is that they’ve worked out a bigger idea than just their “what” or “how”. As Simon Sinek describes in his TED.com talk, they know their “Why”, (which he wrote about in his book, ‘Start with Why’).
I’ve worked with many estate agents, house builders and suppliers to the property industry and only a handful at best have truly identified their “Why”, their reason for being other than financial reward. And whilst it’s not essential to have done so in order to have a successful business, those that endure and pioneer and are a positive force for the world mostly have.
Estate agents on the “what” and “how” level sell and let properties. Some maybe go further and are a positive part of their communities, a good local employer and a trusted advisor for those clients that need a helping hand. But I think there’s potentially something much more significant. Estate agents enable people to move on with their lives. And that, I offer, is the start point of your FBI – you don’t just help people move from one property to another, you’re there to enable their life stages, changes, improvements. Adopt that mindset within your business, get every single team member coming to work with that sort of cause in their hearts and I predict remarkable things will happen.
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