My Week: James Hibbert of Dress2kill

The tailor and entrepreneur on getting bored easily, his poor shooting skills and penchant for sleep.

by Hannah Prevett
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013
I don’t have a regular routine for the week, as I love change. I try to mix it up as much possible because otherwise things get very boring, and I hate boring. The only routine I have is that I get the same train every morning. I live at Overton in Hampshire, and I get the train at 6.20. It’s 50 minutes to Waterloo, which I use as think time – or inevitably, sleep time.

I’m generally in before anyone else, so I’ll have a read of the paper for five minutes, before making a cup of tea and switching on the breakfast news. I like to get in early because I hate being with loads of people on the train. Then I can get a seat, have a bit of kip, and then once I get to London I’m ready to go.

Every Monday we have a financial review, where the bookkeeper and I go through how we’ve done the week before and what the cashflow’s like, because, as we all know, cash is king. I’m really anal about our cashflow. It sounds miserly but it’s really important to me to make sure we’ve got a nice cushion in our bank at all times. That’s something I learnt when I was at Cranfield doing a BGP (Business Growth and Development Programme) – making sure that you’re protecting that cushion at all times. Without cash, you’re screwed.

On Tuesday I did what I call ‘a day on the coalface’, where I go into the shop and meet and greet clients and generally see how the shop’s running. It really helps me understand where my business is, and it gives me ideas on where we can improve the business. I don’t think the staff get worried that the boss is around. I think I’m a fair boss, but I do have the tendency to be a little impatient. I’m also driven, so I try and drive them. I want them to have the same passion that I do, and I get slightly frustrated when I think they don’t. So I try to instil that into them.

A bit controversially, I went shooting on Wednesday. It was a corporate shoot and I was a guest. It was at a beautiful old manor house in Oxfordshire, and we stayed overnight on the Tuesday, before getting up early for the shoot on Wednesday morning and then having a big lunch before heading home. I’m not very good with a gun. It’s not something I do on a regular basis. It was a fun day though, and it was pretty good networking too – I met the guy who runs the Ledbury and the Harwood Arms, which has two Michelin stars, and another guy who runs a hotel group. We got a bit of gossip too – it turns out the daughter of the woman who runs the shoot is dating an aging rock star. He’s 65 – and she’s 27. How random?

Every Thursday is spent at Austin Reed, as they asked me to become a development director after I set up Dress2kill. Austin Reed is a nationwide company with 110 years of history, so it’s a great experience for me to get involved with a larger company. Also, I hope to float Dress2kill in the next couple of years, and having a directorship at Austin Reed will help me.  

Most evenings I try to get back home in time to bath my two little ones; my daughter Lulu is two and a half, and Arthur is ten months. I do tend to stay in London one night a week though. This may be because I’m working late, or because I want to have some drinks with friends. It also breaks up the monotony of the commute. It means I get a bit of a lay-in too, which is nice.

James Hibbert is the founder of Dress2kill, a London-based bespoke tailor.

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