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A Coffee With Our Chairman

Our Chairman Robert Charnock was recently featured in the Huddersfield Examiner’s weekly supplement – Kirklees Business News – talking about Dugdale Bros and revealing his coffee break favourites.

If you missed the Q&A, you can read it in full below…

What is your business motto?
We are still guided by the original Dugdale Bros motto – “With pride, with passion, with integrity.”

How do you make contacts which are useful for business?
As a more mature cloth business, we have a well-developed global network of agents and distributors that we have built great relationships with over the years. When it comes to non-core business contacts, we look for local rising stars – for example, we brought Scriba on board to look after our PR, and Digital Velocity to handle our fully transactional website.

What makes your business different?
The balance between tradition and youth. Our fine worsted cloth is a tremendous product, which the town is famed for throughout the world, but our sales function is now handled by younger key members of staff. As the ‘elder statesmen’, our MD Simon Glendenning and I are still only in our 50s, so even though we uphold the traditional side of the brand, we are still a long way from feeling old!

What do you always have with you?
My Saint Christopher medal that was given to me by my mother, before she sadly passed away. It keeps me safe while travelling the world.

Do you dress-up or dress-down for business? 
When I’m in the warehouse, I tend to dress down as I will invariably be shifting pieces of cloth around and helping with hands-on tasks at busy times. We have an extensive range of cottons, so my version of business-casual still involves tailored trousers and a smart shirt. If I have a meeting, I will always dress up. Likewise, I consistently make an effort when I’m travelling, as it is important to showcase our cloths. I’m lucky that thanks to the nature of the company, I can count many fine tailors as friends.

Which person has inspired you most in your business life and in what way? 
My father. He guided me in my early days, introducing me to a lot of old school textile experts who taught me timeless industry principles. One such person was Michael Tankard, who educated me in the basics of cloth-making. He was a great man who quietly produced some of the most exclusive cloths in the world.

What’s your proudest achievement in business?
My proudest achievement was definitely buying Dugdale in 2000 to mark the new Millennium, and I was similarly delighted to appoint Simon as MD two years ago. He brought a vast amount of knowledge with him and has extensive experience in developing heritage brands, including Dunhill and Cole & Son.

What’s your company’s greatest asset? 
Our function is very tightknit, so our greatest asset is really two rolled into one… firstly, the cloth, as each collection is inspired by our 120-year-old tradition in Huddersfield. And secondly, ‘Team Dugdale’, because every person in the company shares our brand values and is dedicated to what we do.

Do you use social media and if so with how much success?
We use social media as part of our overall profile-raising strategy, particularly when it comes to the balancing act between tradition and youth. Whilst it is difficult to measure success in this area, our business is growing within all markets, and social media will undoubtedly have played a part in this.

If you hadn’t gone down your chosen career path, what would you be doing?  
I would have loved a career in the army.

Give us one tip for a successful business
Treat your customers and suppliers alike, and always pay bills on time!

At what time of the day are you most creative or inspired? 
Walking into work at 6:00am.

How do you relax away from work?
I have a very lively working cocker spaniel named Milly, who takes a lot of walking – and I mean hours! With commitment to the mid-life crisis phase of life, I also try to keep fit at the gym – with varying degrees of success.

When do you take your coffee break?  
I don’t have a fixed break, I just keep going – but with plenty of coffee onboard.

Who would you most like to have a coffee with? 
Michael Parkinson – I was brought up on Saturday night Parky interviews. He is quite simply the greatest interviewer of all time, a proud Yorkshireman, and he fits our cloth slogan of “understated elegance”. He is a great ambassador for so many things, including our wonderful county, and I would love to quiz him over a coffee.

What’s your coffee break favourite? 
There are so many to choose from but my favourite is still from Merrie England – the original latte..!


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