Tony Hardwick (former Sales Director) and Hilary Terry (former Designer) were very much involved in the expansion of Fine Worcester Twist during the years 2000-2008. Tony had joined Adam Carpets in 1995 from Georgian Carpets. He was due to take over from long standing Sales Director, Jim Bennett, who would take up a consultant style role in 1997. Hilary Terry started with Adam Carpets in 1983, following Jim Bennett from Quayles. They both remained with the company until their retirements in 2010 and 2014 respectively.
Q. Tony, you arrived at Adam Carpets in 1995, what were your initial thoughts of Fine Worcester Twist and when did you decide that the range needed more colours?
TH: I knew the reputation that Fine Worcester had developed for its quality. I came from Georgian where we had an awful lot of colours that we made to order. Given that Adam Carpets also had their own dye house, Jim and I felt that more colours was the obvious way to go. We introduced four in 1997 and it snowballed from there.
Q. By 1998, the range had double in size to 40. How much pressure did that put on stocks?
TH: I remember David Adam and I discussing the stock situation and at that time when we launched the new colours we kept 5m wide carpet in stock and made the 4m as orders came in. That doesn’t sound ideal, but the fact was we could turn the stock around very quickly.
Q. The new millennium came and another 12 colours were introduced. By now the range was at 47, was there an optimum number of colours you were working to?
TH: No, not really. We were actually being slowed down by the sizes of the tombola drums available! Initially Fine Worcester was on a single drum, every time we introduced new colours, new drums had to go with them. When we hit 50 colours, that was when we introduced the side stickers with the numbers.
Q. The range finally finished at 65 in 2002. That meant 45 colours had been added in just six years. What made the range stop at 65?
TH: That’s back to the drums again. The drum size was now so big, it was impractical for it to go any bigger. By now though the colourbank was so good, it really didn’t need any more additions in terms of numbers.
Q. The range grew so quickly, how were the new colours decided upon?
Hilary: Initially it would be Jim and I, latterly Tony also played a major role. I remember samples, trials, colours right across the showroom. We rejected far more than we ever put in.
Q. Some of the colours from the early 2000’s were very bright or stark. This was at a time when naturals were popular. What was the thinking behind these colours?
Hilary: Fine Worcester and Adam Carpets have never followed others. We always developed our own colours based on our research. We knew some of the colours such as Aubergine, would be short-term. We also thought that they would ‘liven up’ the range. That always worked as those were the colours retailers talked about.
Q. Could you sum up your thoughts about Fine Worcester Twist and its 25 years?
TH: I think its strength, other than colour, is that it doesn’t look like a twist. The yarn is so fine it has an almost velvet finish. That alone stands it out from the crowd.
Hilary: Fine Worcester was so easy to colour because of the quality of the yarn. It just takes any colour so well. It’s brilliant that it has been around for 25 years. It will go on for a lot longer yet.
Our thanks to Tony and Hilary for their time and insight into Fine Worcester. Next month we will have part 1 of a two part interview with current Sales Director, Eamonn Prescott, and current Designer, Kelly Butler and the research behind the latest ten colours and the hugely successful ‘Hugo & Ella’ marketing campaign.