I started Eagle & Fox, in its first incarnation, back in 2004 when I was a student. I didn’t have a grand plan of what kind of company I wanted to run. I was just excited by the idea that I was growing a business.
Customer service, fulfilling orders, and growth were top priorities. Product selection, branding and design were less important. We were one of the first businesses of our kind to be 100% online, so more products was more important than which products.
I love competition. It makes us stronger.
Over the years a few other businesses jumped on the bandwagon. I love competition. It makes us stronger. It also helps focus our attention.
Then, Emma and I started speaking about joining forces and transforming the company into Eagle & Fox. The kind of company we wanted to run was different to the company we had. We had to make some changes. Some have been slow, some have been hard. But, we’ve stuck to the plan and we’ve built the company we dreamed of.
One of the biggest changes was selling parts of the business. At the time, we had expanded to five separate stores: Kilt Society, The Tartan Blanket Co, and three stores selling pewter items – hip flasks, tankards and quaichs. We simply didn’t have the time or passion to make all those brands great.
So, we sold the three pewter stores in January.
We had orders from Kate Middleton and the Prime Minister
We were really pleased to find a buyer who is passionate about taking those stores forward. It’s a hard thing to sell something you’ve built with care and attention for many years. You feel responsible for it. You know its quirks and hidden talents. In the weeks leading up to the sale, we had orders from Kate Middleton and the Prime Minister. But, even that didn’t dent our confidence that we were doing the right thing.
We also got a sense of freedom and renewed focus. We had more time and attention to focus on the two brands we are most passionate about. In a way, we’ve become a simpler business in the sense that we are more focused. I don’t know of many businesses our size that run multiple brands. It definitely helps that they are coherent and complementary.
What I didn’t anticipate…
Emma and I have also spent the last few months solidifying a team to support the new brands. We have a few new team members with one or two more to come. What I didn’t anticipate is that our new team feels more connected. Like we’re a single unit. We share the same goals and vision. There’s a huge synergy generated from that.
Both the refined focus and new team members are contributing to some exciting new projects. We’ve been working hard on designing new products, packaging, imagery, and lots more. I know this wouldn’t have all been possible if we still had five brands to manage. Sometimes, less is more.