In early 2011 Huffer founder Dan Buckley left the label he ran with Steve Dunstan and after no small amount of soul searching, the rag trade man is back with another fashion offering – Thing Thing.
Buckley’s been working on the label with designer Drew Gregory and the pair have been funded by a Hong Kong-based firm called Shriro, which has a local division called Monaco Corporation.
“We’re a small and loose start-up,” Buckley told Idealog. “Empowered with that free energy, but with the backing and support of a privately held billion-dollar organization that along with Drew and I has some pretty grand and global ambitions for this little Thing Thing thing.”
After departing Huffer as a director (although Buckley stayed on as a shareholder and still has a stake in the company), he started playing around with a few ideas, some built on technology.
“After some deep thought about what to do with my next step in life, I realized I still have a lot to give the street wear game.
“I really enjoy the art and design aspect of clothing manufacture and brand presentation, and I really enjoy engaging with my customers, makers and suppliers, especially with my Chinese makers, Chinese culture, visiting mainland China, Hong Kong and Indonesia. China in particular is so old and has great people. I really enjoy that – connecting with such diverse people.”
In his post-Huffer life, Buckley has been working with the Amazon chain of stores, helping implement some new direction and build a “really cool retail environment” for their spaces. He’s also been working in SEO and website best practice, and with a “natural lean” towards putting together an idea around cultural brand identity, the new label was a logical next step.
“This, along with the idea of building something from nothing, this is an intoxicating idea – I get really excited about the challenge. I have big ambition in the world of technology, and via the rag game I can connect with tech via our online aspect.
“I am back in the same groove but with a new team, a new presentation, and a new world view.”
Buckley says Thing Thing is a more modern rendition compared to Huffer, more cultivated and reaching further into modern street style ideas, and aimed at a more modern customer.
“Drew and I have a risk-taking approach to building unique products that are going to appeal to a newly emerging more attentive customer,” Buckley says of the label, which he describes aesthetically as “odd, sporty, krooked and beautiful”.
Life lessons from the Huffer empire?
“Love every minute,” Buckley says. “And be careful in your business affairs. Be careful with who you let get close to you. I let myself be influenced by people who did not have my best intentions at heart, and I learnt a lot there.
“I have been too generous in business with the wrong people, and it hasn’t been a great lesson to learn. I’ve had to adjust my thoughts as to where to lay my generosities.”
Stay tuned for Thing Thing launching via an online store live in late October/early November.
Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription, an Idealog t-shirt and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).