Redefining product, redefining place
Since the beginning, we’ve quite often been swimming against the tide at Jam. We have had our hearts set on creating a new space, a space that exists between city and surf, a space that previously hasn’t really existed. I guess it’s a bit like building a house from scratch, there’s not much inherited from the previous owners. We need to define the space in its entirety; how it looks, how it feels, what colours we use, what references we use, what plants, what pictures and the list goes on. Obviously, we couldn’t do it all at once.
As you have gathered from our previous blogs, we didn’t have a great deal of cash when we started, so the possibilities of manufacturing the luxury knitwear we envisaged were very much a distant future. We started with two t-shirts and we cared only about one thing - that they were comfy. We only had two t-shirts, so they needed to be two good ones. The designs were simple; one said Jam and the other said Après surf. We basically had a t-shirt defining what we were and another one with our name on it. But realistically that wasn’t enough. Realistically, a sophisticated product doesn’t require definition, and that’s where we wanted to get to. We knew deep down, that our future product would look very different.
As we grew with the pop ups and added more styles and products to the range so too did our lifestyle grow. We were between city and surf more frequently than ever, an exhausting feat but an essential one for our product development. We realised that we were Jam’s biggest customers, and we wanted more! We have always believed in 'word of mouth' marketing, and so to get going we needed great products and fair prices. Affordable luxury. We networked into new factories and started developing the products we wanted to, a process that required all our brains at once; my designs, Marks number crunching, and mums negotiating. Without everyone’s input we would never reach our goal.
People often credit us for being ‘balanced’ and simple in our design decisions and that’s not something that happens overnight. Today, we start developing a product up to a year before it reaches the store. We make something, discuss its strengths and weaknesses, and then we make it again. In the same vein, we listen to our customers, their ideas, and we often begin the design process in store, moments after someone has walked out the door. Next week we will be delivering a product that has been in development for 2 years. Our popular down weight jackets serve their purpose all year round, but we’ve wanted to add another level. We’ve developed a jacket that does everything we need it to; it travels from city to surf and back again, it’s lightweight and down filled making it super warm, and most importantly it’s completely waterproof.
With constantly moving lives we have now developed four product criteria that each design has to satisfy in order to successfully ‘bridge the gap’. They are the following; Trans-seasonal (all year-round use), Transcendable (made up word used to describe a product that works for all ages), Transportable (fits in the weekend bag) and most importantly comfortable. With these product criteria satisfied, we are confident in the products we sell; clothes that are made to be lived in. They are timeless, with a close eye on fashion, and never attached to fad. They are luxurious and affordable. They will never be on sale.