Our Founder's Story: The World's Desire for Bespoke Uniform
ollowing an exciting career as a fashion buyer, working alongside a number of extremely successful entrepreneurs, Jane Porter felt the desire to start her own business. After visiting a handful of five-star hotels in Africa in 2009, she noticed a common problem; exquisite food, decadent interiors, impeccable service… but ill-fitting, poorly designed and dull uniforms.
Inspired, she bravely resigned from her job, bought an around the world ticket and persuaded her two best friends to join her. Whilst travelling, she conducted qualitative market research, asking the same ten questions to five-star Hotel General Managers in every city she visited. It became glaringly obvious that there was a universal need for high-end designer uniform and a high quality, reliable service.
In 2010, Jane launched Studio 104 with the vision to offer a cutting-edge, personalised uniform design production service predominantly for the hotel and hospitality market.
In its initial year, Studio 104 won its first contract designing and supplying the Security Guard's uniform, across 40 sites nationwide, for international financial services giant JP Morgan. Although finance sector wasn’t the desired market for Porter’s vision the profits she made in this affluent sector allowed her to build a brand that would later attract the five star hotel market. Her strategy worked and soon the business won three consecutive contracts for London’s iconic Savoy hotel.
This deal accelerated the business, and subsequently Studio 104 landed a string of high-profile luxury hotel contracts including the Morgans Group, the Dorchester, Quaglinos (D&D London), the Shangri-La at the Shard, the Grosvenor House Hotel and Mandarin Oriental London.
The company delivered its first entire hotel uniform range for the Sea Containers London in 2013. Following in quick succession came Marcel Wanders' Mondrian Doha and the St Martins Lane Hotel. Leading to Studio 104 being awarded the ‘Best Design’ accolade at the industry’s most highly regarded ceremony, the Professional Clothing Awards, for uniforms created for London’s iconic Savoy Hotel.
In 2015 Studio 104 entered into the luxury retail market, winning the global contract for De Beers Diamond Jewellers and launching uniform across 35 stores worldwide. In the same year another dream client came knocking. Gleneagles had been bought by the hip hoteliers Ennismore, who commissioned Studio 104 to create individually bespoke uniform for the entire hotel, over a 2-year phased programme.
"It's a dream come true to work with Fortnum & Mason" Jane Porter.
By 2017 the business had doubled in size and in the same year delivered 17,000 units of custom-made uniforms across a variety of projects, including its first resort uniform range for Nobu Ibiza Bay and international luxury restaurant group Hakkasan. In the same year the success of the Gleneagles led to a contract with Highland Hospitality to create uniforms for the relaunch of The Fife Arms of Braemar, part of a three-year multimillion transformation project.
Royalty attended the reopening of The Fife Arms. The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay (as The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall are known when in Scotland) visited to mark the occasion and were greeted by staff in their tartan uniforms - synonymous with Scottish heritage and identity.
2020 is an exciting year for Studio 104 with the recent launch of Fortnum & Mason's new uniform for their first store outside the UK in Hong Kong, the opening of our client's wildly original new hotel at London's Great Scotland Yard and our wonderful collaboration with the iconic Chatsworth House. Keep checking back for all the amazing new projects coming through as the future is very bright for Studio 104.
Written by Stephen @ Studio 104