Chefswear and restaurant aprons manufacturer Oliver Harvey is announcing a fundamental but dramatic change to its business model.
From 1 April 2016, all products will cease to be manufactured in its Dukinfield factory and instead will be sold as self-assembly DIY packages.
The move is a by-product of its continued success and popularity the world over, offering a premium range of chefswear and aprons designed and manufactured in Great Britain.
It is understood that demand for the apparel is so high that their production staff are struggling to meet their targets, working long, unsociable hours to make sure supply meets demand and that all orders are ready to be despatched the following day.
The idea is that a DIY assembly system would enable the use of its loyal customer base as a substitute for its manufacturing operations, reducing the need for concepts such as “effort” and “work” among the staff, and generally improving standards of laze throughout the company.
The new model has been considered by many suitors to be a clone of Scandinavian powerhouse Ikea, whose flat-pack furniture solutions have rocketed it into folklore as one of the most renowned names in Europe.
Ian Mitchell, MD of Oliver Harvey, stated: “While this is quite a departure from what our customers have become acclimatised to in the past, we feel that the move will make our range even more exciting – after all, look how well IKEA do – it’s not like anyone finds assembling their furniture frustrating, is it?
“We want to be at the very forefront, the pride of British manufacturing; what better way to do that than by getting everyone involved?”
Occasionally, some packages will contain fabrics which clearly aren’t cut the same size as each other, more buttons than you could possibly need and nowhere near enough thread, just to keep you on your toes.
Pockets and detailing may or may not be included, depending on whether the packaging team can be bothered to chuck something in there or not. What will remain constant is the clear and concise 48 page assembly manual, complete with diagrams.
As a sewing machine is not included, customers are expected to identify their own solutions to the issue of stitching tens of thousands of stitches by hand.
“They’re all creative people, I’m sure they can figure it out. In fact, we believe chefs across the UK will positively relish the challenge it presents,” Mitchell added.
As a result of this major change, further sweeping alterations will be made to the factory and product range.
Firstly, all chef jackets will be renamed in line with Ikea’s naming policy; as its fabrics are named after traditional Swedish female names, Oliver Harvey jackets will be renamed after British female names, such as Doris, Sharon and Babs.
Secondly, the factory will be completely renovated and repackaged into a labyrinth of purposeless showrooms complete with assembled clothing, which is not available for purchase, because that would be too easy.
To maintain their UK manufacturing mantra, Oliver Harvey packages will initially only be available to UK customers, as to not promote the idea of cheap labour in other countries.