JACK & JONES - Keeping it real
The Danish menswear brand JACK & JONES will celebrate their 30 years anniversary. The brand was founded in Denmark in 1990 and ever since then the brand has followed its own rules and created a unique brotherhood culture both inside and outside the company.
Anders Gam, Brand director at JACK & JONES has been with the brand since the beginning in 1990 and in this article, he reflects back and elaborates on the brands journey throughout the years. “I was just 24 years old when I was given the task to help build up JACK & JONES. I came from another textile company, but I had never experienced such pace and entrepreneurial spirit that was present at BESTSELLER. We were only a handful of people back then, so we all rolled up our sleeves wherever it was needed, and that was every day!” Ever since the brand launched its first collection of jeans during Oslo Fashion week in 1990, it has grown rapidly. The same year the first JACK & JONES store opened its doors in Trondheim in Norway and just 8 years after the brand could open their store number 100. Now the number counts more than 900 retail stores and thousands of wholesale customers and partners around the world.
Craftsmen to the bone
From small beginnings the brand has evolved into one of Europe’s leading producers of men’s jeans- & fashionwear and is now the largest business unit within the BESTSELLER company. Not everyone can claim the same denim heritage as JACK & JONES. With the rapid growth throughout the years, it is hard to argue their success. Every year more than 6 million JACK & JONES jeans are sold worldwide, and that single product category stands for the main part of the total business. That jeans are the backbone of the brand is also reflected throughout the brands’ headquarters, located in a small town called Brande in the middle of Denmark. Besides the denim-inspired décor, the HQ houses one of the most advanced laboratories for testing and innovating fabrics, fibers and trimmings. “We are dedicated to respecting our past and our history of collaborating with some of the most competent and environmentally advanced manufacturers in the field. So, we trust our know-how but at the same time we are committed to innovating the future. That is why we constantly test and evaluate our products to assure a stable quality and keep up to speed with new innovations.” That innovation is a cornerstone in the brand becomes evident when investigating the brand’s history of producing more sustainable products. Already in 2007, the first collection of products made solely from organic and Fairtrade certified cotton was introduced. Ever since then the brand has been determinately committed in developing its sustainability efforts and in early 2018, the brand relaunched its most sustainable denim collection to date called Low Impact Denim. But being able to develop a good product cannot stand alone as being the only key to the brands fast growth journey. The answer also relies on solid business acumen and a no- nonsense attitude. “We have a very simple and direct way of thinking and working in our company, and our culture is very flat in its structure. We work as one team and we stand together. We listen to the markets and to our customers and we consider both our customers and our manufacturers as partners.” Anders Gam elaborates.
Pragmatic and bold
But the brands pragmatic way of doing business does not make them old-fashioned. Actually, they never stand still and are constantly moving the business forward by exploring new opportunities. But at JACK & JONES they enter new ventures in a different way by being bold enough to dare and trust gut feelings and intuition. “Most often we don’t make long analyses before we take decisions. It’s not always an advantage to think too much about things, and most often we lay the asphalt while driving. We dare to do it this way because we know we are fast in taking new decisions and if we can see that things are about to go wrong – we quickly turn paths, so it never becomes too much of a disaster” says Anders Gam. To be able to act fast and adapt quickly towards demands requires a short decision-making process and self-confidence. Since the brands beginnings in 1990 it has launched several new initiatives and most recently JACK & JONES launched Junior collections to be able to cater for a younger audience. “Our first junior collection was created and launched over a period of just 1.5 months. We are able to do this because we collaborate closely with our partners, within our team but also with our suppliers. We are hands-on throughout the whole process. We dare to trust our instincts and we are bold enough to quickly turn good ideas into actions.” Anders Gam elaborates.