As owner, Kay Sides has built HATCh as a powerhouse fashion showroom for over twenty years. The company is the result of years spent in the fashion industry and of an intense passion for fashion and the arts. Throughout its existence, the company has made sure to create a “progressive and dimensional environment…the first of its kind.” The company has shown “segments of contemporary jewelry, footwear, women’s and men’s large commercial projects” together with “young designer smaller ones.”
Aside from that, Kay Sides has also overseen the continued blossoming of HATCH’s “Fashion for Good.” The company has shown a consistent commitment to service and giving back to the community. In Los Angeles, HATCh has shown and given active support to the city’s youth centers. It has raised funds to help out the victims of the Japanese tsunami, Hurricane Sandy, and Typhoon Heiyun.
Kay Sides and HATCh have also opened its doors to colleges, sharing its spaces for learning and mentorship. The company has also supported CAST, while Kay has also lectured about branding at colleges. In her lectures, she has also discussed “creating your own brand with your own rules for your own dimensional life.”
At HATCh, Kay Sides has anchored the company in “supporting fashion brands that are rooted in a strong social entrepreneurship focus.” It has written a blueprint on dimensional “giving,” which it will put into practice on their mission trip to Nicaragua, where they will install water filters in local communities.
Recently, Kay Sides has also opened HATCh consulting, which collaborates with a multitude of brands, in several capacities, on many major projects. She has also launched HATCh communications to provide “integrated press, social media and digital collateral marketing” to brands.
Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Kay Sides: I hope we stand out because of the amount of meticulous detail that goes into our shoes…a lot of it is done by hand….everything from our custom molded foot beds that are both comfy and supportive, to being wrapped in neoprene for breathability and wicking to creating this innovative technique that involves inserting memory foam into the uppers so our shoes mold to your feet. Each shoe has a ROAM signature fit or really giving your feet a hug! Many styles are backed in fleece for even added comfort and there is a custom matte waxed trim that surrounds the outer edge of each shoe. We also have a recycled flex tread that is both cool, durable and super comfy.
Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Kay Sides: If it’s someone that is starting their own brand from an idea or inception, if it’s something honest and truthful to you — no matter how much work, or how hard it gets you won’t feel like it’s work because of your true passion for it. I think the burn out happens when people try and do something that really isn’t aligned or chasing other brands or businesses …when the integrity is not there, that takes a lot of energy and burn out happens. We are super clear and focused about who we are, as it’s always been this way, and we don’t look over our shoulder and just stay in our lane creating and working on constantly getting better.
Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Kay Sides: I have so many people I am grateful to in starting HATCh and ROAM. For ROAM I am grateful to my team — we are a super small team but everyone just cranks next level and we all have each other’s back.
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The title of this series is “How to take your company from good to great”. Let’s start with defining our terms. How would you define a “good” company, what does that look like? How would you define a “great” company, what does that look like?
Kay Sides: I think a good company is one with potential and operates and functions. I think a great company is one that has potential to become a brand that leaves a legacy and impacts others by more than just fiscally generating.
Jerome Knyszewski: What would you advise to a business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth and “restart their engines”?
Kay Sides: Don’t look outside for inspiration — you have to inspire yourself otherwise you are in no position to inspire others. People are always quick to point the finger at a teammate or boss if they are not inspired. It’s actually each person’s responsibility to figure out how to stay fresh and inspired.
Jerome Knyszewski: Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?
Kay Sides: Be nimble, put your ego away, pivot, focus on efficiency, stay open and you have to be willing to put in the work nonstop.
Jerome Knyszewski: In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?
Kay Sides: Communication and efficiency. I see it with all the brands we manage — if there is poor communication from the leader no matter how amazing the product or brand is, it will reach a limit. As for efficiency — amazing efficiency is directly related to an elevated and aspirational experience. Too many brands and businesses underestimate this and the successive impact across all channels.
Jerome Knyszewski: Great customer service and great customer experience are essential to build a beloved brand and essential to be successful in general. In your experience what are a few of the most important things a business leader should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience?
Kay Sides: Efficiency is number one. We go to great lengths to immediately respond to DM’s, customer service emails, and also really take our time to thoughtfully respond to each client or customer. They know how much we appreciate and care about them.
Jerome Knyszewski: What are your thoughts about how a company should be engaged on Social Media? For example, the advisory firm EisnerAmper conducted 6 yearly surveys of United States corporate boards, and directors reported that one of their most pressing concerns was reputational risk as a result of social media. Do you share this concern? We’d love to hear your thoughts about this.
Kay Sides: Again, if you are not who you say you are you should be concerned and if you are who you say you are you should not. The greatest brands in the world have trust.
Jerome Knyszewski: What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Kay Sides: They think that because they are an owner, they don’t need to work. You as an owner need to be working the hardest of anyone on your team …all the time
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Kay Sides: What if everyone picked up just 1 piece of trash a day? With the world’s population at 7.6 billion people, even if 1% picked up ONE piece of trash every day, that would add up to over 27.7 billion pieces of trash a year. I don’t know about you, but I want to be part of that 1%.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
You can find me on Instagram:
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!