Master of the Month – Tom Hainsworth, AW Hainsworth

As champions of men, SCRUBD are passionate about helping men to be masters in every area of their life. Every month we interview a true master, or in this case two, who are making a difference in the world around them.

This month we are interviewing Tom Hainsworth, Managing Director of quality Yorkshire textiles manufacturer AW Hainsworth.

1. What is it like to be at the helm of such a historic company, handed down through generations of your family? (Abimelech William Hainsworth started manufacturing woollen cloth in Yorkshire in 1783)

Exciting, frustrating, challenging and rewarding all at the same time! It is a true privilege to be able to continue the business of my ancestors, while it also brings a lot of pressure! No one in the family wants to be the one that is responsible for failing those that have come before them, I am seventh generation and everything that we do is about ensuring the business is there for the future generations.

2. When you were starting out, after university, were you motivated to work for the family business straight away, or did you grow towards it?

No – to be honest I felt I could not contribute to a family business that was over 200 years old! Once I was involved and I realised the passion that people both in the company and outside had for the business, and I recognised the positive difference I could make.

3. AW Hainsworth has been built into an institution in terms of reputation and quality. Do you find it difficult keeping the brand modern, and ‘on the pulse’?

Hainsworth is lucky enough to be part of the fabric of Britain, supplying fabrics such as the woolsack in the House of Lords, Atkinsons blankets for Harrods and the Queen’s scarlet guards uniform cloth; that are all iconic, the world over. This gives the brand an honest and truthful foundation.
Keeping ‘on the pulse’ comes from working with some of the world’s leading fashion brands, who use our woollen cloths in their core classic garment ranges along with Airbus and Boeing, and the world’s leading airlines, who use our fabrics in their interiors.

4. What is the biggest challenge you have faced during your career at AW Hainsworth?

Managing family.

5. Do you find it a challenge being based outside of London, or the South? As that is where a lot of competitors have migrated to.

We have a very global customer base. Our teams are in London on a regular basis, but equally in Hong Kong, Sydney, New York and Toronto to name but a few. I am passionate about travelling and opening people’s horizons to new experiences and encouraging the team, especially our designer to do the same. However, we are a Yorkshire business, generations of locals have worked at our mill, Yorkshire will always be our home.

6. Is there a particular fabric that you wear to help you master your day? If so what is it?

Mastering the moment requires different fabrics/styles – I love cinema nights under an Atkinson Cashmere blanket with the kids, or I always travel in a Jenny Schwarz bomber jacket and I love my Hainsworth trench coat.

7. A) What qualities do you need to make it in your industry? B) How do you transfer these qualities into your daily life?

Resilience, passion, curiosity. I transfer these into my daily life by doing what I’m passionate about.

8. What do you wish you knew when you were first starting out that you now know?

Good question – I cannot think of anything – learning as you go is part of the joy. Everyone makes mistakes, and it is how you deal with them along the way that counts.

Quick Fire

How do you master your day?

Get up and out early.

If you could have dinner with three male masters, who would they be and why?

David Attenborough – He is just an amazing font of knowledge
Jonny Wilkinson – I’m a huge rugby fan, and think his commitment and discipline is outstanding
Nelson Mandela – The degree of humanity he possessed was amazing and his strength of character to be applauded

The best piece of advice you have ever received?

To marry Lou, my wife.