Patrick Frey had only been in the family business for six months, but his father gave him a seemingly impossible task. A frightened Frey retreats to the company’s workroom and begins experimenting, rearranging his stripes into existing patterns. By the end of the day, he had 16 variations of him. The next morning his father saw his work and, without outward reaction, called the supplier and ordered all 16 patterns to be produced.
“Six months later, he retired from creation. It’s me and you on January 1st,” Frey said. The business of home podcasts“And when I was 26, I started making my own prints. I was my own boss.”
The family business was an iconic French fabric house Pierre Frey, and, of course, the father was Pierre Frey himself.after an apprenticeship Branswig & Fils In New York, Patrick had returned to Paris to help his father run the company. Soon he was changing it.Pierre Frey is Branswig and Clarence House Distributed under its own name, it has built a reputation for superior quality and creative vibrancy.
According to Frey, the company’s success stems from a simple credo. Creativity takes precedence over business. “It is completely wrong to think that you have a great finance department and a marketing department and you can put creation aside. You don’t have to spend,” he says Frey. “For me, it’s completely wrong. The creation business is dead in three years if the creation is bad.”
This isn’t to say Frey isn’t making smart business moves. Over the decades, he has overseen several acquisitions. These acquisitions have helped the company grow in a unique way. In particular, in 1991 he oversaw the acquisition of the historic French company Braquenié, which dates back to his 1823. At that point, Braquenié had a valuable pedigree, although he was considerably smaller than Pierre Frey.
“Immediately I got a call from the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg saying, ‘In 1892 the emperor bought Braquenier…’ And suddenly I bought my roots,” says Frey. “It was very powerful in terms of image possibilities and archiving.”
Frey hasn’t stopped acquiring (in 2022, he will announced the purchase British brand, Bernard Thorpe’s brand), but succession comes to mind as much these days as growth. Over the past decade, his three sons, Pierre, Vincent and Mathieu, have found their way in the business and are preparing to take over. However, Frey himself has maintained his director role at Creative and has been deeply involved in the brand’s products. It’s the process of resisting left-brain thinking, he says.
“Mystery: Make 50 colors in a collection of solid colors. There are two blues that are very close, very close. One sells 1,000 yards, the other sells 2 yards. The blues are very close.” But everyone chooses one and not the other,” says Frey. He adds that being able to choose between the two is at the heart of the beautifully irrational business. “That’s what’s in your head. It’s a gift.”
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Homepage Image: Patrick Frey | Courtesy of Pierre Frey