Wednesday, 11 June 2014

It was twenty years ago today...

Well, kind of. We don't have the exact date to hand, but we do know this: in June 1994, Gerry Hayter changed the name, location and ethical direction of his promotional-wear company, Headline. It became Pier32, and it's still going from strength to strength today.
In celebration, Gerry let me out of my small room at the end of The Pier, and we chatted about the history of Pier32.
Rob: What inspired you to change from Headline to Pier32? Was there a specific event, or a general feeling that you needed to change direction?
Gerry: Headline was based in Soho, right in the middle of London, but we noticed in the early 90s that many of our clients were moving out of the west end to Putney, Hammersmith, Brentford and Heathrow. We decided to follow them, and moved to Thames Ditton, right on the river (to be strictly accurate, we're *on* the river, as our offices are on Thames Ditton Island). We decided then to not only move our base but also re-brand. My wife Dixie coined the name Pier32, which suited the location. We found that we were increasingly being asked for ethically produced, environmentally friendly products which we sourced and then imported. It made sense from a business and an ethical standpoint to reposition Pier32 as one of the first companies to only deal in ethically produced and environmentally friendly promotional wear.
Rob: Are there any highlights or moments in the 20 years of Pier32 that have made you particularly proud or happy?
Gerry: Our involvement in the 2005 'Make Poverty History' campaign was a real highlight for me. We supplied many of the charities involved with ethically produced, environmentally friendly promotional merchandise. We also provided 250,000 ethically produced environmentally friendly printed fabric swatches which were then personalised with a message by 'Make Poverty History' supporters and left on the hill at the 31st G8 Conference held at Gleneagles, Scotland. Seen together, they were one heck of a sight!
Rob: What is it, do you think, that makes Pier32 special?
Gerry: Pier32 is very much a family-run business. My son-in-law Ian is the marketing director, and most of us are involved in one role or another. We're not at all corporate or stuffy and we believe in the personal touch. There's a good chance when you pick up the phone to talk to us, you'll get through to me.

You don't get to your twentieth birthday as a company without doing something right, and Pier32 aren't just surviving--we're thriving. I'm proud to be working with Gerry, Ian and the rest of the Pier32 family. Raise a glass with me as we welcome the next twenty years of ethical goodness.
And, as a treat, behold! The actual View From The Pier.

Not a bad place to work, is it?

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