A Phoenix Rising From the Ashes
2022: A Year in Review for 7L
Written by Ali George Hinkins
With hindsight on our side, it’s clear to see that running a business isn’t as plain sailing as people often paint it out to be behind the glitz-and-glam of social media. Unfortunately, these misfortunes are rarely ever transcribed to a wider audience, particularly not to your target audience, but 7L are big believers in transparency “It’s something we proudly stand behind and it is inherent throughout many aspects of our business, from the production process to the fabrics we use” says founder Jamie Lundy. “We have tried to keep everyone updated throughout the year, so hopefully you have followed along with the trials and tribulations we have undergone, from highs to unprecedented lows”.
As 2021 drew to a close, the year seemed to get off to a good start for the fledgling brand as an influx of high-quality technical goods came into the warehouse and they navigated their way out of the pandemic whilst keeping the business stable. The first quarter looked promising until one fateful morning in late February nearly brought the company to its knees. “We woke to see the roller shutter doors of our warehouse on the cover of the Manchester Evening News engulfed in smoke and flames. In these situations, you never expect it to really happen to you so we immediately drove down to see if it really was our warehouse, the place that housed 7L’s internal organs. Just like that, we had lost pretty much everything: all of our products for 2022, fabrics and archive references. Our business model, our business strategy and our sales forecasts were all written off for the foreseeable. It was sink or swim.”
“To ensure that we rebuilt the brand in the most sustainable way possible, I took a multi-faceted approach and began to invest bank into 7L by bringing in individuals with good industry experience as well as planning for future collaborations, investigating new partners and partaking in projects that hit close to home.
We acknowledged that now was the time to invest in our staff and the people around us; Mike Meikleham was appointed as Co-Creative Director alongside myself and I appointed Robin Fairweather as UK Wholesale Sales Manager. Immediately, the pair of them brought a fresh perspective to the business in the short-term and down the line, helping us to develop a clear strategy and implement our 2023-2028 growth plan into wholesale and some of the retailers like END, United Arrows, Beams and LN-CC, among others”.
By bringing in additional resource delegating Jamie has been able to focus much of his efforts and skill into rebuilding the brand and designing many of AW22’s pieces himself. It’s also helped on other aspects of the business that require his demanding attention.
“With the right people on board, we could divert our focus to other aspects of the business, including reworking the supply chain and sourcing new partners to work with. Recently, our travels found us in Hanoi, Vietnam, after we were invited by one of the world's best technical outerwear manufacturers to see their facilities and discuss current and future business opportunities with them. We knew we were in good company. Assuming all goes well, they will become a strategic partner of 7L in 2023 onwards, investing and helping us to achieve our key growth plan which includes our vision of launching the brand in Asia and getting our product into the hands of technical clothing enthusiasts across the world. In addition, we have had a few trips to Amsterdam where we have been discussing collaborations with some people out there, all of which will be announced at Paris Fashion Week in January. There is plenty in the pipeline where near-future partners are concerned and we are excited to tell you more about them when the time is right. For now, just rest assured that we are making the necessary moves to rebuild the brand and meet with new partners who can help us to push the brand further”.
“We’ve done it before and we know that we can do it again.” says Jamie.