Adam Brown

Posted on 23 November 2019

Based in London, Orlebar Brown was founded by Adam Brown and launched in March 2007 as a tailored approach to men’s swim shorts. 

Elliot Moss
Welcome to the Jazz Shapers Podcast from Mishcon de Reya. What you are about to hear was originally broadcast on Jazz FM however the music has been cut or shortened due to rights issues.

Welcome to Jazz Shapers, I’m Elliot Moss. It is where the Shapers of Business meet the Shapers of Jazz, Soul and Blues. My guest today I am very pleased to say is Adam Brown, Founder and Creative Director of Orlebar Brown, the British clothing brand specialising in tailored men’s swim shorts and mine too. Adam has admitted to previously having no vocation, “I couldn’t stick at anything until I was forty years old” he said. He’d moved from charity fundraising to his first ambition, photography, but after seven years as a portrait photographer commissioned by Harpers, The Telegraph, Tatler and more, Adam realised in his words “I was a rubbish photographer. I have been photographing someone’s kitten in their dining room and I thought ‘This is going absolutely nowhere’.” It was whilst holidaying with friends in 2005 that Adam noticed the women in his group looked great in fashionable, well-fitting swimwear but the men had unflattering surfer shorts or trunks, nothing he recalls you could wear to lunch afterwards. Despite having no retail or fashion experience, Adam and friend Julie Simpson-Orlebar, who later left the company, launched Orlebar Brown in 2007 as a tailored approach to men’s swim shorts, the short you can swim in and I can testify that’s true. Adam grew the company into a global brand, sales quadrupling when James Bond – Daniel Craig to his friends – wore a pair of Orlebar Brown swim shorts in Sky Fall back in 2012. We’ll be talking to Adam in a few minutes about all of this, their Design Your Own service and his plans for a swim short made from 90% ocean sourced recycled plastic. We’ve also got brilliant music from Eddie Harris, PP Arnold and Ray Charles. That, ladies and gentleman, is today’s Jazz Shapers. Here’s Donald Byrd and The Blackbyrds with the brilliant Do It Fluid.
That was Donald Byrd and The Blackbyrds with Do It Fluid. Adam Brown is my Business Shaper; he is the Co-Founder of Orlebar Brown. I’ve already admitted I have some of his clothes and I have for a while so it’s fantastic to meet the man who’s made me happy and millions of other people. How are you?

Adam Brown
Very well and thank you for inviting me.

Elliot Moss
An absolute pleasure. Tell me the real story Adam of why you set the business up. It can’t be quite how I described.

Adam Brown
Well, I was interested by the first comment, one of your opening paragraphs, because there is this widely held sort of misconception I was, I am the type of person who stares at people around the pool but actually the moment that kicked off the thought process about Orlebar Brown was I was turned away for lunch at a restaurant where I wanted to go and have a lunch at a hotel; I was wearing my swim shorts and I wasn’t allowed in and so it was that thought of ‘I want a short I can swim in rather than a swim short’ that was rather than me looking around staring at people around a pool.

Elliot Moss
That’s a fair enough thought but some of us have had similar thoughts, not about that but about anything and it’s a thought and then you go to lunch or you go back to your room and you find a pair of, you know, chinos or something and you stick them on and you don’t think about it anymore. You went a little bit further than that, Adam and we are sitting here, however many, ten, twelve plus years later, you sold your business to Chanel last year, you’ve had investments since 2015. You went and did something about the idea. Why?

Adam Brown
Well, I think as you said, I was forty years old and you definitely get to a point in your life where either or not you enjoying what you are doing or it’s, you know, it’s not giving you satisfaction or you are rubbish at it, and I was definitely at that point, you know, I was getting no satisfaction from what I was doing, I was pretty rubbish photographer and I wasn’t making any money, I had a mortgage, you know, all the things that everyone else has and I just had to make something work so I think when you get to that age and you’ve that sort of pressure, it definitely drives you on, this thing can’t fail, you have to make this work, and that was definitely an element in when I started OB as to, it had to happen.

Elliot Moss
And there was no sense growing up that you were going to be an entrepreneur because all the other, I mean as you mention, you were a fundraiser over here, you did a bit photography, I mean it was like…

Adam Brown
Yeah, no, it’s obviously true. I mean I was one of those people I had absolutely no career path at all, I enjoyed doing stuff but I wasn’t particularly good at it but there was nothing I particularly loved. Weirdly, I am the ultimate consumer, you know, I buy too much, I love the way things are made, I love shopping, I like just looking at stuff whether it’s furniture or clothes or art.

Elliot Moss
Just tell me about the trainers though, just for a moment so, when you like a pair of trainers or anything, you don’t buy one, you buy how many would you say?

Adam Brown
No, that’s a particular example, I’ve got three pairs of a style I’ve just bought.

Elliot Moss
But that’s a, I mean that’s pretty...

Adam Brown
That’s because I walk everywhere.

Elliot Moss
Okay but it’s pretty specific behaviour, obviously you love shopping and things. But did you unintentionally find yourself doing something where you are in your element and forget the fact that’s Orlebar Brown but just being your own boss, doing your own thing.

Adam Brown
Absolutely. I enjoyed the things I did learn when I was doing the other things was working freelance, you know, working for myself, being your own boss, making every… being allowed to make every decision you want to make, not being responsible or answerable to other people. In the early days was definitely something I enjoyed and I think the… also the challenge was weirdly I had this thing, you know, every time I suggested the idea of a tailored swim short to my friends, I was greeted with howls of derision and everyone laughed at me. It did kick me on, you know, I thought I am going to prove you wrong, I am going to try and make this happen.

Elliot Moss
And the first thing you did about going ‘I want to find a short I can sw…’.

Adam Brown
Well, the very first thing, so after the, so came back from the holiday, I did some market research which was fundamentally just shopping and then I did a three day start your own fashion business course and I did a one week drawing course. So, I did a start your own fashion business course so I could learn about cash flow and seasons and sourcing and all those sort of basic elements and then this one week summer school course actually at St Martins so I could get information to a pattern cutter. Because really I had an idea in my head as to what I wanted these shorts to look like but no idea as how I was going to make it become a physical item, physical thing.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me to find out what happened next when Adam Brown took on the courses and decided to go and prove his friends wrong and I think the laughter and the derision was probably the thing that might have just kick started him a little bit harder. Time for some music right now before we go back to Adam, it is Eddie Harris with Listen Here.
That was Eddie Harris with Listen Here. My Business Shaper today is Adam Brown, he is the Co-Founder or Orlebar Brown, they make incredibly nice stuff to wear, mainly men, am I right, it’s men? All men, good.

Adam Brown
All men.

Elliot Moss
All men because I know it talks to me, I wasn’t sure if it talked to women to. So we were talking about the original idea, we were talking about what you then went and did and you went back to school as it were, briefly. And then what? Because the man who hasn’t been in the fashion world then has to create something because if he hasn’t got the material in his hands.

Adam Brown
You treat like a, I think of it as, you know, when you have to renovate a house or you have to do something, you have to find a plumber and electrician and you have to find somebody to do the roof, someone to whatever you need to do, and essentially you know you need fabric, I need a factory, I need to get some hardware and how do you find that so you just start asking, the great resource is asking people, people are remarkably generous with their knowledge and their introductions but I had memorable evenings, you know, staying in £17 a night hotels outside Toulouse going to trade shows and just going to stands, trying to get them to sell you some fabric, you know obviously everyone is very sceptical at the beginning when you are just starting out but there is nothing cleverer than that, you know, I had to find the fabric supplier, I had to find a side fastener that I liked and I tried to find a factory and that was probably the most difficult bit, you know, getting a sample made which looks like the thing you have in, the idea you have in your mind, at that point where you have got nothing to show for it was the big challenge.

Elliot Moss
I remember reading about James Dyson and indeed in a former life work with his company and the little squiggles he had, the thousands and thousands and thousands of drawings and you talked about going on the drawing course, were you like that? Were you a man obsessed with ‘hold on, it should be a bit more like that’.

Adam Brown
Well, it wasn’t quite. I actually weirdly had an amazing, the clarity that I had of this one product, you know the swim short, our classic swim shorts, was just there from the beginning so I did, I still have those original drawings and they are remarkably simple, you know, they are just very basic line drawings with measurements and, you know, a few instructions but that process was relatively easy, ending up, I ended up in a factory in north London which was great and this amazing Eastern European woman who helped me make these shorts become a reality; she sat through and made the samples and she did our first runs.

Elliot Moss
And once you had those first runs, where did you go with them?

Adam Brown
Oh, I started… I started online and that was purely because I, where else would you start? You know, I didn’t have any wholesale accounts, we clearly didn’t have a shop so I built a website, or I found somebody to build me a website and that was the other part of this journey as, you know, not having any experience, not having any knowledge of it but it’s just a learning curve, you’ve got to ask the right people, you clearly make so many mistakes and you do things very differently now to how you would then but it just gets you to a better place, it enables that progress to start happening.

Elliot Moss
When did you realise that you might be onto something? When was there a feeling…

Adam Brown
Well, the idea was in 2005, we launched in 2007 and we did, I launched online and we were doing a few sales here and there and we had a storage unit in west London which I did all the orders from but I think the first that I did, eventually I got into Colette, you know the fabulous store in Paris, and I got into a shop called Bluebird on the Kings Road here, you know, tiny orders but I think then I did some, you know, getting into Selfridges was clearly one of those moments, you know, when you get into a department store and they start repeat ordering, you know, I had to do sale or return for the first couple of orders and then you manage to get into having a proper order and those, when you have the benefit of footfall, when you have people seeing the product and they are coming back and buying and I used to go on the shop floor every Saturday and whenever I could and talk to customers, get them try it on, see what they looked like, see what they, get their comments and that’s just part of the, you know, understanding all of that but listening to how customers what they thought when they put the product on, was absolutely key to understanding actually this might work.

Elliot Moss
And when you spoke to Selfridges, how did you convince them to stock it?

Adam Brown
I had to do sale or return, we did sale or return orders.

Elliot Moss
And you didn’t care because you are going ‘Well Selfridges is obviously a fabulous place’.

Adam Brown
Yeah, but you’ve got to take, I think you’ve got to take some risks, you know, you’ve got to get product in front of people and, you know, if that was the… I tried many times to get into many department stores in the early days, you know, they’ve got to have the confidence the products is going to sell and to enable Selfridges to have that, I did a sale or return but, you know, I’m not saying that was the best way or the right way but that was just the way that we did it, but it worked. So, when you ask what was the moment, that was certainly the first moment where I thought ‘Okay, this might work’.

Elliot Moss
Do you think the different things that you did before, whether, you know, the scatter gun stuff over here, was actually one of the best things that has prepared you for the last fourteen years?

Adam Brown
Well, I don’t know, I used to sell houses at one point so, I don’t know, having a sales background, and definitely photography, you know, having a visual sense and, you know, understanding. I had a very clear idea of what Orlebar Brown should look like and what Orlebar Brown should sound like very early on, so, you know, obviously the photography, the image making, the branding, all that sort of thing came relatively naturally even if things like building a website and getting traffic to a website and getting checkout to work was more challenging.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me for more from my guest, it’s Adam Brown, he’s the Co-Founder of Orlebar Brown, he’s coming up in a few more minutes but first we are going to hear from one of our partners at Mishcon de Reya with some advice for your business.

More from my guest, Adam Brown, in a couple of minutes. But first, let’s hear a taster from the latest news sessions, podcasts which can be found on all of the major podcast platforms. Mishcon de Reya’s Hayley Geffin explores the world of blockchain and how it affects you and your business.

There are many ways for you to enjoy all our former Jazz Shapers and indeed to hear this programme with Adam. You can ask Alexa to play Jazz Shapers and there you can hear many of the recent programmes, or if you pop Jazz Shapers into iTunes or your preferred podcast platform, you can enjoy the full archive there. But back to today, it’s Adam Brown, Founder and Creative Director or Orlebar Brown, the British clothing brand specialising in tailored men’s swim shorts. Now, let’s talk about the swim bit of it and where one starts. We’ve talked about the one short. Is it important that you started with one rather than launching a collection?

Adam Brown
Yeah, I think that’s a… so I think that’s a fundamental point as to how, why Orlebar Brown actually had a chance of succeeding. I think the last, it’s very difficult if you are launching a whole collection or you are launching a whole range at one point, it’s very difficult to get the customer to focus and to understand what that is about. I think, in our case, a tailored… we had one product in four lengths and having a very clear message, a tailored swim short. You know, I believe that is better than the voluminous, baggy boxer short, I don’t understand that I just, that’s the only message I told, you know, it’s all about the fit, if something fits you, it’s more flattering. If it fits you and it’s more flattering, you will look good and you will feel good. It’s an easy message to understand. Just having that one short, the customer, it focussed them in on that. Ironically now, you know, we launched the t-shirts and the polos in 2010 and now swim is only about 30% of the business but having that hero product that the customer identifies you with, you know, you mentioned the shorts a few times but we are not a swimwear, we are a resort holiday-wear brand but people know us for our swim shorts and I think that’s been a… having, you know, if you think back to the Burberry trench coat, the Birkin, Chanel No. 5, all those…

Elliot Moss
They have an iconic…

Adam Brown
They have an iconic hero thing and with us, hopefully, you know, it’s the classic short.

Elliot Moss
How did you know when to move away from the classic short? When was enough time enough?

Adam Brown
I didn’t, I didn’t know a thing. I don’t think anything about what I, the sequence of product, the classic new product coming in, opening stores, in the early days wasn’t in any way planned, it wasn’t, it was purely instinctive and I went with my gut. But I definitely, you know, I had pictures of a towelling polo shirt in my mind that I went with these shorts, you know, it’s all very well having the shorts but what do you wear with the shorts? So, a t-shirt, a pique polo, a towelling polo – towelling is one of my favourite fabrics – is it took three years, you know, so it was three years just selling shorts and that gave the shorts a good chance start.

Elliot Moss
Chance to establish themselves.

Adam Brown
Exactly.

Elliot Moss
And in terms of the expertise that you surrounded yourself with and in those early years and then moving on and we’ll talk about investors and stuff. Finding that team, critical, was it again instinctive or were you given lots of help?

Adam Brown
Well I think the key... my advice always is to, when people, when they are starting out a business like Orlebar Brown – this is not relevant for all businesses – but doing everything yourself, you know, I was by myself for two and a half years and, you know, whether it’s doing customer service, whether it’s doing production, whether it’s dealing with the agencies, doing the website, whether it’s trying to deal with the money side of it, just having some, doing it yourself and understanding the issues involved is categorically, clearly a good way of knowing the fundamentals of the business. Later on, you know, bringing people in, I have always been a real believer about getting other people involved with things like warehousing, or IT, or financial part of the business because it’s not my expertise but getting the right people in to do the interviewing for you and getting them to help you with things like job descriptions and meeting people and instructing, you know, if I interview people for the roles I don’t understand, I am not going to get the right people so it’s just not being afraid to ask people for favours, not being afraid to ask people for time, people are remarkably generous or they will say no and that’s fine.

Elliot Moss
And in terms of obviously…

Adam Brown
I think it’s also just being very aware of what you are good at and what you are not good at. You know, a lot of Founders or people or start businesses, they have this sort of power thing, they want to do everything themselves, they don’t want to relinquish any form of control of responsibility and actually there’s nothing, providing you bring the right people in, it clearly things go faster.

Elliot Moss
But in terms of success, you know, important to know where you want to go and how have you handled the long-term vision since the beginning of where the business needs to go?

Adam Brown
Yes, so I was very clear right from the very beginning, you know, I’d been through a couple of careers, I’d done various things, I was forty years old, I had a very clear definition of success. I knew I did not want, you know, my definition of success was not having 500 stores and x-thousand employees and doing that route. My definition of success was creating something, enabling it to get to a point in a safe pair of hands that they could lead on it going on. Also my personal definition of success, you know, I have never been the person who wants the private jet and the yacht and all that. What I want is my, I wanted a house in Cornwall and I wanted to have a pension and I wanted to have some security, I wanted to pay the bills, you know, having been forty but no money, just sort of, that was my definition of success so, at every decision you make, if you define success as that and you want to have x-amount at the end of the sale then every decision you make should get you to that point, not to the point where you have 500 hundred stores and x-thousand employees. And it’s just once you are happy with that, it frees you up to do it the way you want to do it.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me for more from my Business Shaper, it’s Adam Brown, Co-Founder of Orlebar Brown. Time for some more music right now, it’s PP Arnold with The First Cut Is The Deepest.

That was PP Arnold with The First Cut Is The Deepest and PP Arnold will be performing live on Jazz Shapers next Saturday for our Jazz Shapers Live Session 2019 and I am going to be joined by the Chairman and Co-Founder of Rocco Forte Hotels, Sir Rocco Forte, alongside PP Arnold, her band and a live and very excitable audience. Don’t miss it, that’s next Saturday at 9.00 but right now, right here, it’s Adam Brown, he is in the Jazz Shaper’s house, Founder and Creative Director of Orlebar Brown, the British clothing brand – well there’s the word ‘British’, whatever that means for an international brand like yours. Let’s talk about the investors that have come along. So, you mentioned, I think I can tell that you are not that kind of guy, you mentioned some Founders hold a very tight grip on every part of the business and you said well, that’s not going to work for you because you know what you know and you know what you don’t know as well, you know what you are good at so on. Tell me about the role of the investors as they come through the business and why you took them on at the time.

Adam Brown
Okay, well I think there is various levels to that. If you go right back to the very beginning, there is clearly a confidence thing about trying to get Orlebar Brown to work. Not having financial acumen, not being interested in all the operational stuff in the business, you know, I am a story teller, I love product, I love the marketing, I love the customer services and all that sort of thing, but I think just being aware of what you are good and what you are not good at, how do you fill those gaps, you know we were running out of money, you know, in the early days when it was just me, you know, clearly money was very tight and how to make things like margin, things like selling to the US, tax, import, export, all that sort of thing, it’s very difficult for someone like me to sort of get through that but you do, and I think just finding certain things, areas of expertise where you need support and you need help and you need guidance and you need discipline and things, and you’ve got to be aware of that and if you don’t want it, you are not going to allow it and I did want to it in but that might be due to lack of confidence overall and that sort of thing.

Elliot Moss
Have you got more confidence now, Adam?

Adam Brown
I know I have got clarity about what I am better at and what… I have got clarity around that. But I think I am one of those people where you, you know, I think if you are worried about stuff then I think you are going to make it better, you are going to do a better job, I am one of those. But I think the role of investors is key, I have been through, I went through angel, I had been though private equity and now obviously, which is now last year, but the, I think, it’s the most important relationship that any business is going to have. I have been very fortunate, I have made good choices, I backed out of one, I thought it wasn’t the right decision.

Elliot Moss
And have you found people on the side of the money that you liked and that you could work with?

Adam Brown
Yes, quite definitely. The angel investor who I… the angel investor who I originally approached had been recommended, or suggested to me by quite a few people and it took me again two or three times to get a meeting to get them even to see me and then to try and sell the idea and, but I think I knew they were the person or the sort of person who I wanted to invest in Orlebar Brown, just not only on an expertise but on a personality level, you know, you are inviting these people in to your business and you have to be able to, you are building a relationship with them so I think, you know, they were absolutely, you know, giving, helping with, in that case it was digital marketing, it was about online experience, it was about the website, it’s about getting traffic to the website, all those sort of things. And the next part, you know, when I did the private equity round, that was about organisational structure, roles and responsibilities, professionalising the business, you know, by that point we were a fairly headstrong, slightly ramshackle but very exciting, you know, start-up where there was huge amounts of energy and everyone was very excited about it but we didn’t have that sort of organisational structure and we hadn’t looked at role, people and we hadn’t looked at what we…

Elliot Moss
But you were ready, you were ready to hit that.

Adam Brown
Absolutely categorically. No, no, that’s definitely what I knew we wanted, we knew we needed to do that.

Elliot Moss
And then Chanel, I mean one of the biggest, most famous, iconic fashion houses in the world. I mean, it must be, did you engineer that in terms of their role in the business?

Adam Brown
No, I mean, for me clearly there’s, Chanel’s fantastic but it’s not about, it’s about having people who have shared DNA, values, culture, all that, that’s the most important thing when you start something like Orlebar Brown. That particular, that thing started through a drinks party in Paris, you know, that’s literally how, I didn’t, I was not seeking out anyone and it actually happened, the first introduction, the first meeting, I met this person at a drinks party five years before anything happened and it was weirdly during the time when the private equity investment happened and they, we met at a drinks party, we just, we met up again and had a coffee, then I got introduced to somebody else and we just, it was a gradual getting to know you process over a few years and then when we, very irregularly once a year whatever, you know, we just meet up, and then when we decided we were going to do something with Orlebar Brown and obviously got in touch and very fortunately we managed to get it to work.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me for my final chat with Adam Brown, plus we will be playing a track from Ray Charles. That’s in just a moment, don’t go anywhere.

I like Ray Charles. That was Ray Charles, jaunty number, Mary Ann. I am with Adam Brown, just for a few more minutes, he’s the Founder or Co-Founder rather of Orlebar Brown, Creative Director now as well, I think you are always called that because it sounds like you are the creative person. So, ownership is an interesting thing. You are the person who has brought this baby into the world. The baby is now approaching from a corporate point of view beyond adolescence, it’s become a bit of an adult, still has a sense of huge creativity, you’ve got more than just the shorts by a long way, you said 30% of the business is swim, the rest isn’t. And now you are with a big fashion house, a big house, very well known. What’s it like being the Founder of the business inside of a big, well known, iconic company and you are now iconic as well, yourself. How do you find that works for you? Have you got the freedom still?

Adam Brown
Yes, nothing has really fundamentally changed on a day-to-day basis within Orlebar Brown. Clearly, you know, having security of ownership by Chanel gives people confidence, you know, whether to work with you or to help you or to do things, but on a day-to-day level absolutely nothing has changed, I mean there is a lot of opportunities have been opened up around sourcing, you know, clearly they do a great bag, they have great bag factories, shoe factories, skincare, all those sort of things which we could do in the future and, you know, expertise around retail, knowledge of global, you know…

Elliot Moss
The whole thing.

Adam Brown
It just works.

Elliot Moss
Rue Cambon is a rather beautiful store…

Adam Brown
Yes.

Elliot Moss
I have taken my… Extraordinary.

Adam Brown
Yes, a very, very beautiful store that I look at very, very enviously.

Elliot Moss
I mean and that staircase is probably the most famous staircase in the world.

Adam Brown
It’s gorgeous.

Elliot Moss
Absolutely stunning. The world has changed around us and it’s rapidly moved towards obviously a digital world and also a world which is much more conscious about climate change and the fashion industry actually is embracing it but also being pulled along. You’re doing something about that because I imagine it’s from a value point of view important, value’s point of important that you are sustainable, as sustainable as you can, as you can be.

Adam Brown
Yes.

Elliot Moss
What are you up to now on that front?

Adam Brown
Well, I think there are two strands to that. One, you know, so we have these words, ‘holiday better’ which is what we do, which is our sense of purpose in that there is this key word ‘better’, we should always just be doing things better and on a product level there are two ways of looking at it, on a product level, it’s just good housekeeping, you know, if you are not doing it, it’s just wrong, you know, but that’s not the bit that we should be proud, that we necessarily should be talking about to customers and I think it’s just good housekeeping so we’ve got our, it’s taken us two years to actually find a short that we can find a way of making our swim shorts in ocean reclaimed or industrial waste plastics and that’s a very long process but we’ve pretty much, as you said earlier, it’s about 90% now and will launch next year and we are very excited about it. But there is a bigger piece, you know, for a brand like Orlebar Brown, you know, to get on to where Orlebar Brown product, you have to get on an airplane, you might be on a boat, you are staying in a hotel which is contributing to climate change and then there’s, you know, that for me is a challenge, you know, you’ve got to think, you have to think about that, it’s not just making shorts and t-shirts and polos but how do you encourage, excite and enable your customers to holiday better? How could they holiday in a different way? How could they, you could do things and have great fun doing things. And I think if we can influence or have an opinion on that part of how they wear their shorts and where they wear their shorts and what they are doing when they wear their shorts, that’s hugely important rather than just making the shorts out of recycled plastic bottles which is, you should just be doing that anyway. So, there’s two bits, you know, this second bit I think is the massively exciting area for us, packaging product is…

Elliot Moss
Is just hygiene.

Adam Brown
Logistics. You’ve just need to do it.

Elliot Moss
You mention worrying a lot, Adam, and now here you are, you’ve got success under your belt, you are not the forty year old guy who was looking going ‘I’ve got to make this work’, you’ve made it work, you’ve made it work again and again and you’ve built something which…

Adam Brown
Smoke and mirrors.

Elliot Moss
I know it is but you know, got to compliment you a little bit before we finish. No, but seriously, I mean, it may well be smoke and mirrors but it’s incredible and I am sure you do get people saying thank you for bringing this brand into the world, thank you, it’s brilliant, but it really is. You are not done though. You are going to carry on worrying aren’t you and I kind of go why? I mean you can relax a bit can’t you?

Adam Brown
I enjoy it.

Elliot Moss
Oh you do.

Adam Brown
No, I think if you. What are you going to do? You know, you enjoy life, you are going to get on and I enjoy it, I enjoy what I do. I enjoy what I do, I like doing it.

Elliot Moss
Do you enjoy the worry though as well? It strikes me you do a bit.

Adam Brown
Weirdly, I think I do, yes.

Elliot Moss
I think you need to worry, don’t you? I think you need to have some…

Adam Brown
Yes, I think if I, I do get slightly jumpy if I am not worried.

Elliot Moss
You are worried about the fact you have got nothing to worry about.

Adam Brown
Yes I do.

Elliot Moss
You are a brilliant worrier, like a professional.

Adam Brown
Yes.

Elliot Moss
Listen, don’t, worry a bit but don’t worry too much, enjoy it as well because seriously you’ve created something really special in a relatively short period of time. Just before I let you go. He’s looking at me going ‘Don’t do this Elliot, I want to worry, don’t tell me anything nice please, stop it’. What’s your song choice and why have you chosen it?

Adam Brown
So, my song choice is Roy Ayers and Everybody Loves The Sunshine and it might seem like an obvious choice but it actually does have a history for me and when I was a child we used to drive, well my dream for OB to get out of OB just to have a house in Cornwall, and as a child my grandmother used to drive us to Cornwall and she’d take a house for a month every summer and in those days it used to take two days to drive from Winchester to Cornwall in a Volkswagen Beetle and of course my sister and I were permanently fighting in the car and my grandmother used to put these cassettes on where she would try and jolly us up and there was this song, and this was one of the songs that I always remember that we used to try and sing to on our way to Cornwall and then I re-discovered it this summer when I bought my house in Cornwall and we were going down there and suddenly it came on the radio and it brought back all the memories of those trips sort of forty years ago.

Elliot Moss
You’ve described it as bleak, wild and incredibly romantic. I don’t know if that’s talking about you or the destination. Here it is, just for you.

That was Roy Ayers with Everybody Loves the Sunshine, the song choice of my Business Shaper today, Adam Brown. Talk about being focussed on a creative vision. If you’ve got one, you’ve got to stick with it and believe in it. He also talked about being DIY, do it yourself, get involved with the business, understand it, understand your consumers and what they want so that you can really deliver and develop your product. And finally, have your own definition of success and what it means to you because if you have that clarity, everything else follows. That’s it from me and Jazz Shapers. Have a great weekend.

We hope you enjoyed that edition of Jazz Shapers. You will find hundreds more guests available for you to listen to in our archive. To find out more, just search Jazz Shapers and iTunes or your favourite podcast platform or head over to mishcon.com/jazzshapers.

Based in London, Orlebar Brown was founded by Adam Brown and launched in March 2007 as a tailored approach to men’s swim shorts. OB Classic swim shorts remain the original and best ‘short you can swim in’, offering something you can wear on the beach or by the pool, yet smart enough to wear to lunch or for a drink. Based on the pattern of a pair of traditional men’s suit trousers, Orlebar Brown’s swim shorts were developed to feature a four-part shaped waistband, zip fly closure and side fasteners to adjust for the perfect fit.

In 2010, they progressed from beach to resort with a full range of holiday clothes that can also be incorporated into everyday wardrobes, including polos, chinos and shirts. In addition, they offer a Design Your Own service which enables you to create your own bespoke pair of photographic swim shorts using the #SnapShorts app in-store or online.

The flagship store in Notting Hill is the epitome of all things Orlebar Brown; from the five metre-high palm tree to the wall of hero shorts, the holiday feeling that is intrinsic to Orlebar Brown’s DNA is always visible.

2017 brought Orlebar Brown’s 10th Anniversary, marking a new chapter in the evolution of this British success story.

Highlights

I was getting no satisfaction from what I was doing.

Pressure definitely drives you on… you have to make this work.

I had absolutely no career path at all.

I enjoyed doing stuff but there was nothing I particularly loved.

I am the ultimate consumer.

I thought 'I am going to prove you wrong, I am going to try and make this happen'.

You’ve got to ask the right people, you clearly make so many mistakes and you do things very differently now to how you would then but it just gets you to a better place, it enables that progress to start happening.

I used to go on the shop floor every Saturday and talk to customers.

Listening to what customers thought when they put the product on was absolutely key to understanding how this might work.

You’ve got to take some risks.

I had a very clear idea of what Orlebar Brown should look like and what Orlebar Brown should sound like.

In the early days it wasn’t in any way planned, it was purely instinctive and I went with my gut.

You've got to be aware of what you are good at and what you are not good at.

I had a very clear definition of success.

I am a story teller.

If you are worried about stuff then you are going to make it better.

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