david hieatt

11 posts categorized “craftsmanship”

Maybe the way you always do it is wrong.



  20150204 Hiut - Mwnt Pano 72ppi (3 of 3)


Two years ago I tried to update my Typepad blog with a card, it just wouldn't work

So, I got busy. I tried again, and no matter what card I used, I couldn't get it to work.

Just now, I tried it, and it worked fine.

What was I doing wrong? Don't know. But I was doing something wrong, but I kept on doing it.

The result was I didn't write a blog for two years.

Another example was some mornings I would bake some eggs for my daughter.

I would use baking paper so the eggs wouldn't stick to the dish.

They would always stick.

Then I run out. I tired to buy some more, but I bought the wrong one.

I got parchment paper.

I thought about sending it back.

Then i tried it. And it didn't stick.

I was stuck using a way that didn't work.

There is saying about walking in dumb each day.

It is a mindset that gets you to question about why you are doing it that way.

Especially, if it ain't working.

But even when it is working.

But could work even better.











In a busy world, be human.

Time is limited. And therefore, expensive.

So companies seek to take time out of each process to save money.

That’s why we when we phone companies up we can’t speak to humans anymore.

Instead we have to Press 1 for a suckier service than before.

So we all get it. We understand why they have to do it, but none of us really like it. No one thinks it is better. It’s just more efficient.

When we try to find ‘Love’, we don’t seek efficiency. When we play some music, we don’t sing to get to the end of the song. We don’t go to bed at night and dream about one day finding efficiency.

Humans are complex critters. But also incredibly simple too: Humans like speaking to humans. We just want to speak to someone who cares. Generally speaking, someone with a pulse helps this process along.

And who’d of thought this? Giving a shit can be great for business.

Zappos has built an entire business around caring about the customer. They even spend weeks training people, and then halfway through the training, they offer people money to leave. They want people who care to stay, and people who don’t care to leave.

So if you want to build a great company, make it less efficient.

Hire humans who care about the stuff you care about.

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He’s done his 10,000 hours, Mr Gladwell.

Photo 2

Getting the fit right on a pair of jeans is perhaps the most important

thing a jeans maker can do.


The difference between a great fitting jean and one that is sucky,

can be measured in a matter of millimetres.


That’s why cutting a pair of jeans from the cardboard pattern using a chalk and a single blade-cutting knife is an art.  It is where those millimetres can go missing.


And like all arts, it takes time to acquire.


Our cutter, at The Hiut Denim Co, has cut jeans for 38 years now. So in terms of hours, that is close to 80,000 hours.


Malcolm Gladwell wrote that to be considered a Grand Master at chess, you had to do 10,000 hours.


So I don’t know what that makes our cutter in terms of a title then, but I do know what it means for our customer: A great fitting jean.





Expensive is cheap

"The only really satisfactory way to approach the price problem is to ignore it. Good equipment always seems expensive, but whenever you find yourself in a store scowling at a price tag, try to remember that out in the wilds, where money is meaningless, the failure of a single item can easily ruin a trip. It may even endanger your life."

— The New Complete Walker, Colin Fletcher (Knopf, 1968)


(cheers joby for the tip off)


Time to go again


I took a look around to see which company I could call my jeans brand.

And I couldn’t find one.

So I am going to start a new jeans company in the spring.

I like quality. I like design. I like utility.

I like trying to change business models.

I like working for my customers.

I like working with talented enthusiastic people.

I like it when a company is striving to change things for the better.

I like being David in a world of Goliaths.

But I didn’t want to run around the same track again.

I wanted to do it differently this time.

So how are we going to do that?

Time, as they say, will reveal all.

Stacking wood wisdom

Wood stack

There are two types of weather to consider when storing wood:

Rain; avoid.

Wind; embrace.

(Picture from across the pond USA)

The Future was on U-Matic.


 A company’s first piece of work shows its intent.

It shows whether it’s going to make a dink in the universe or not.

When I started at Saatchi and Saatchi in 1987, I found a U-Matic with ‘Desk Lamps’ written on it in a pile of other U-Matics.

(U-Matic was like a big sized VHS tape)

When I first watched it, I just couldn’t take my eyes off of it.

I knew at that moment that this company would go on and change their industry.

Over the next decade I must have watched it hundreds upon hundreds of times, never tiring of it.

The company was an independent animation studio called Pixar that had just started in 1986. And the film was a computer-animated short film that lasted 2 and half minutes including credits.

It was just a small hopping desk lamp.

But it showed what they were capable of doing.

It showed their intent.

It said ‘we are here to make a dink.’




To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Mark Twain

Build me straight

film about building a boat.http://www.sabsonline.com/DisplayIte...temid=00000045

Lessons from a Lifesaver.


Our problem is not that we can’t do something well.

Indeed, we can.

Our problem is we can’t do everything well.

But, we have convinced ourselves that we can.

So we use all our energy up trying to be perfect at everything.

And you guessed what’s coming next: mostly we fail.

We fail because we don’t feel like we are doing everything as well as we can. (We aren’t)

And we fail because we work ourselves into the ground to prove something that we already know. (We are not super-human.)

And what do we do when this happens? Well, we tend to make up for our shortfalls by working even harder.

It’s a not a good loop.

But the trick is do less, but better.

We can learn a lot from the lifesavers on my local beach.

The beach is a couple of miles long.

So our local lifesavers admitted to themselves the patently obvious: That they couldn’t do it all.

So they got two flags and said that between these two points, ‘I can save your life. Beyond these two points, I can’t. You may well die’.

Be narrow.

Made In Maine

I discovered this shoe company called Quoddy. They still practice the art of making shoes in the traditional way. This is a little bit from their website.


Made in Maine is more than a geographical statement.  It’s an embrace of our heritage and an affirmation of our community.  The building that houses our shop has contained shoe companies since the 1800’s.  Lewiston, Maine, was the handsewn footwear capital of the world, home to many famous brands that over the decades employed thousands of skilled shoemakers.  Those brands have left town for the most part, but the shoemakers have not.  These talented people craft Quoddy footwear today.

We like to believe our products also reflect the spirit of Maine.  It is a vast state, land of big woods and wild ocean.  The name Quoddy comes from Passamaquoddy, the native tribe of Downeast Maine, which also lends its name to Passamaquoddy Bay, West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, and many other landmarks of Downeast Maine.  The Passamaquoddy are renowned for their artistry and craftsmanship, from birch bark canoes to woven ash baskets.  They also made moccasins.  Their approach using a full leather wrap around the foot and stitching it all together by hand was the inspiration for the footwear Harry Smith Shorey sat down to make in 1909.

The Wigwam on US Route 1 in Perry, Maine was the store the Shorey family set up to sell moccasins and other products of Maine to tourists who ventured that far up the coast, or more accurately that far “Downeast” as the locals say.  It is still there today, at the same location in Perry, alongside the Quoddy offices.

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