Poised and to-the-point, the Duchess of Sussex’s appearance coming off an aeroplane in Dubbo, NSW, in October 2018 had more of an impact than anyone could have imagined.
Beyond the 25,000 odd Instagram “likes” we received following a confirmation that she was, indeed, wearing Outland Denim jeans, here at the Outland Denim HQ, the phones started to ring off the hook.
Multiple media interviews ensued. Our CEO headed straight back to Australia from Cambodia to make TV appearances.
And we were left with a sizeable waitlist for our Harriet jean, which sold out within a week...yes, it was the jean that Meghan wore. Quite simply, we were overwhelmed with support, orders and interest in our brand.
Importantly, within a month, we were able to employ a further 46 seamstresses in our Cambodian operations giving these women the opportunity to earn living wages, amongst other benefits, while our longer serving staff were given the opportunity to be promoted to positions of leadership.
If that’s not empowerment through celebrity endorsement, we don’t know what is.
“When girls are given the right tools to succeed, they can create incredible futures, not only for themselves but also for those around them.”
-The Duchess of Sussex addresses the students of Northwestern University in Fiji
Unlike conventional production facilities, our staff are trained in 20 skills across the cutting, finishing, and stitching departments. Our method of recording each staff member’s progress involves scoring on a 0-5 scale, with a five indicating that the individual has achieved expertise in that skill.
By December 2018, 69.5% of our new employees were undergoing training in more than one area of production, with 70.8% of new employees already progressing above a level 2 in at least one area of their training areas.
Behind the scenes, we have been given the opportunity to tell our story to thousands of people at conferences around the world, to launch Outland Denim to the UK market, to be recognised by industry bodies, and to reach new customers in some of the world’s best-known department stores.
The “Markle Effect” is real, but the reality is that it takes hard work from hundreds of people to create a brand good enough for royalty, and this includes the women sitting at their sewing machines crafting your beautiful jeans.
We will never say we have arrived, because as a brand we are on a journey, but every once in a while it’s nice to stop and say, “Hey, how ‘bout that Duchess!”, and reflect on that unexpected moment of success and the small inroads made by each and every one of our staff in the process.
Thanks to you for coming along with us!
If you missed out on getting a pair for yourself, you're in luck - the Harriet Jean in Black is back and available online now.