The history of Hansen & Jacob
I have always taken a great interest in clothing ever since I was very young. From the age of 20 I have been involved in fashion and clothing in all sorts of different ways. It has always been of vital importance for me to follow the right dress code and trends and in this way showing my reverence towards guests, visitors and clients through my way of dressing when meeting them.
For a long time I had the notion to launch a brand of menswear clothing. I had different ideas which I put on paper through sketches and by writing down all my ideas. This process took quite a number of years.
In year 2000 I could see an opening in the market for “up-graded casual clothing” for men. Clothes which are of high quality, in popular colours and in various patterns in combinations with one another which one had not seen before.
Materials from high quality producers
The materials were to be purchased from high quality producers and the production was going to be made by skilled manufacturers with great knowledge.
The ideas started to take form and I began sketching on a business plan as well as what a collection could look like.
In the year of 2003 I hired a designer based in Florence who helped me develop my sketches from my drawing board and slowly a collection started to take shape. Following many visits to various manufacturers and fabric exhibitions around Europe, we began working on a collection with the aim to launch it in the Autumn of 2006.
Next on the agenda was the big question: “What was the brand name going to be”? We tested many various names but nothing felt really good. We decided to approach an advertising school to assign the students to take part in an in-house competition to decide on the best brand name. The result of this competition was that the students had come to the conclusion that the brand name should bear my name. From the very start I was totally against the idea of using my name. However, after a while and a lot persuasion I gave in but we all agreed on the fact that Johan would not work so well internationally and hardly in the Nordic Countries. Finally, we decided upon Jacob which would work much better. Jacob was a fictitious name and in this way we ensured that my full name was not exposed.
We went back to the advertising school where we once again asked the students to take part in another competition in order to decide on the design of the logo format and after some serious contemplation of the 10 best suggestions we decided on the look of today.
A close friend of mine by the name of Jacob was asked to come to the presentation of the brand at Stallmästaregården where we also had invited various potential customers for a catwalk show of our first collection. Jacob was surprised when I told him that the brand name actually originated from him.
The personal expression
I hired an experienced team of people with skills in design, purchasing and sales to make my ideas come into fruition. The administration systems were run in conjunction with other clothing companies in the group at the group’s headquarters, drawing the benefit from the existing staff and procedures already in place. I have always been extremely committed to the design of the clothing and still make contributions to more or less every garment.
Finally the brand was launched and it was well received albeit with some skepticism. We appointed a host of ambassadors in various age groups whom we dressed up with our garments in combination with making a massive advertising campaign. The promotional ads, which had been hand painted, featuring our garments were very eye catching and attracted a lot of interest and attention.
The “piece de résistance” of the collection was initially our shirt range; the same shirt can be worn both for leisure as well as dressed occasions due to its unusual design featuring different detailing on the back and sleeve of the shirt as well as our luxurious lambswool & cashmere sweaters.
Many asked the question why I carried on with Hansen & Jacob when it proved to be capital intensive as well as showing losses.
For a number of years, we were mostly renowned for our shirts but in more recent years our trouser range has become extremely popular due to the style and comfortable fit. We have become reputable for our high quality merchandise, very good fit and for having our own special expression and signature throughout the collection.
During the first five years of the business a lot of cash had to be injected although the selling did take off and we had a bigger turnover than we had envisaged. Many asked the question why I carried on with Hansen & Jacob when it proved to be capital intensive as well as showing losses. However, an entrepreneur works on a gut feel and does not give up what he believes in and what he can be really good at and this strength made me carry on. The following year Hansen & Jacob reached the break even point and has since then grown on an average of 20% p.a.
In the year of 2014 we launched our first women’s’ collection under the same brand name as our men’s’ side. Many people had enquired over the years why we did not make a ladies’ collection. The first ladies range was tested in five stores in Sweden and five stores in Norway and to our delight it was very well received. After having launched 6 ladies wear collections we had established a brand name in the Swedish, Danish and Norwegian market and now we have started to look around for new territories to enter. The ladies’ range is a clear reflection of Hansen & Jacob basic idea/ business idea. It is casual clothes for women.
…ranges for the fashion conscious man and woman who want to look smart for either leisure or professionally; whatever the occasion
As we expand our business we are now facing new challenges as we are starting to export into several new countries to take the brand to the next level. Starting to export to a new country requires finding and appointing the right people/agents which we have failed to do a few times in the past. Our target is England, the Benelux and France in the first instance.
To build a long term brand name takes time and patience, regardless of the nature of the industry. It is time consuming and it is reliant upon skilled and loyal employees who understand the business and are committed to the concept.
We design and produce ranges for the fashion conscious man and woman who want to look smart for either leisure or professionally; whatever the occasion. To strengthen the brand name, we have a few pieces of suiting which compliments the overall men’s offer so that the range now is a fully fledged collection with pieces which can be worn for leisure, work and week-end depending upon what profession you belong to.
Our clothing is a clear expression both in design and colour selection, and we try to find a range of garments for the well-dressed, discerning customer who likes clothing with a classic design that is contemporary to the prevailing fashion trend.