In all of the land of Vuka, there was no better bespoke tailor than Mr Thimble. He catered only to men and his apparels flattered the appearance of all, tall or stout, portly or willowy. The rich and greying, the nouveau riche and debonair, all journey from as far as the Far Kingdom to Vuka to be measured and fitted in Mr Thimble’s exceptional tailoring. At the annual Vuka Governor’s Ball, it was not uncommon to find the majority of the guests accoutred in the fine raiments of Mr Thimble.
Mr Thimble was of course not the only bespoke tailor in Vuka. There were three others, decent tailors in their own rights. But as everyone knew, Mr Thimble was just cut from a different fabric.
The secret to Mr Thimble’s success seemed to be no mystery. He understood men of wealth and influence. He understood their ego, social and emotional needs. He therefore also understood the place of appearance in their lives.
He also used only the finest fabric. He would traverse vast lands and seas to get the best fabric and materials for his tailoring. He formed alliances with select farmers to develop and cultivate cotton to a particular specification. And he only used horn, bone, trochus or corozo nut buttons.
Mr Thimble was also so obsessed with the fine details of his apparels that he would go through rolls of fabric until he got a collar, a pocket or a cuff right. All his tailors understood his unremitting demand for perfection and there was always the devil to pay for any of his tailors if, for instance, he tacked on a button a tenth of a centimetre off.
Over the years, other tailors in and around Vuka had tried to copy Mr Thimble’s tailoring ethos, often to different levels of frustration and failure. There was just something about the Mr Thimble name that gave people confidence and a certain air.
Consequently, Mr Thimble had built quite a prosperous and unassailable business.
So it was that one evening while taking a leisurely stroll with his Significant Other, Mr Thimble accidentally stepped on her gown and ripped the skirt up to the bodice. The ripped bodice exposed his wife’s corset and the ample bosom within.
The distressed wife lamented the absence of splendid female tailoring in Vuka.
“Oh, if only there was a female tailor in Vuka with your exceptional tailoring ability I should be spared this shame!”
She sobbed uncontrollably in Mr Thimble’s arms.
Four months later, Mr Thimble got into the female tailoring business. He called the business Mrs Thimble.
The strong Mr Thimble name did wonders for the Mrs Thimble line. Women of status and influence from all over Vuka flocked to Mrs Thimble like moths to a fire. Those who could not pay for the exquisite tailoring began saving for the day and occasion that a Mrs Thimble dress was absolutely important.
Life couldn’t be happier for Mr Thimble. He wondered why he waited this long to go into bespoke women tailoring. Perhaps there were other opportunities he was missing…
Soon after he started a soap business. He called it Thimble Clean. It became the case that you haven’t had a good bath if you have not bathed with Thimble Clean.
It seemed that if anything had a Thimble name on it, it stood on the shoulders of a giant.
Life was indeed beautiful for the Thimble family. Their estates grew, they got inducted into the Vuka Non-Polloi Society and Mrs Thimble spawned a dainty offspring, Thimble Charming, for the cute cherubs of Vuka.
But alas four years later, there arose several complaints about the quality of the Mrs Thimble apparels. The ladies complained about insufficient attention to details of such that the Mr Thimble line enjoyed.
They complained that the fabric was not as good and that well, Mr Thimble not being a woman, apparently didn’t know enough about women to sew properly for them. Allegations of male chauvinism were bandied in some quarters.
Soon the custom of Mrs Thimble began to decline. Until they averaged just five dresses a week.
Then the bad wind blew in the direction of Thimble Clean. It was said that the soap contained a chemical that made men unable to sire an heir. It was false of course, but the men of Vuka were not the type that took matters of reproductive dysfunction lightly.
It was a truly trying period for The Thimbles. It seemed that everything that had the Thimble name on it now floundered. The Mr Thimble line still enjoyed a lofty reputation as it were and seemed immune to the problems that had plagued Mrs Thimble and Thimble Clean. But Mr Thimble could not help worry that the Mr Thimble line may now be contaminated by the ills that had befallen the other family members.
It was a fear that came to be as soon customers began to question the commitment and obsession of Mr Thimble to quality. They reasoned that surely if he was found wanting in one and two instances, the third was most certainly not far off. And surely any man that dabbled into several businesses cannot really give his best to one?
Slowly, very slowly, customers began to leave…
Mr Thimble – Parent brand
Mrs Thimble – Line extension
Thimble Clean – Brand extension.
PS: Brand names and storyline are purely fictional.