A DAY AT THE H&M HEADQUARTERS

The title of this post is undoubtedly the highlight of my trip to Sweden. Seeing and experiencing a new country and of course, visiting the main office of one of my absolute favorite brands is a treat I can only wish for. Aside from this being my first Europe trip, I was looking forward to getting to know this revolutionary brand more–what made it the successful brand that it is now.

What I learned and what I took home from my weeklong journey to Stockholm, Sweden was so much more that I hoped for. I actually fell more in love with the brand and the geniuses behind the brand. It’s true what they say–the best resource of any company is their human resource.

You are in for a treat! I will take you behind the scenes of H&M‘s headquarters–their beautiful office which doesn’t feel like an office at all, the  creative process, the secret of a winning brand and so much more. I have a  lot of great stories to tell and although cameras or phone photos weren’t allowed in some areas,  I will still try my best to share them with you sans the beautiful photos.

DSC03749The Head Office in Stockholm, Sweden, is a place of vibrant activity. Here, people in different departments, such as Buying and Design, Visual, Interior, IT and Marketing, work together to bring the world great fashion at great prices. It’s so beautiful and youthful! I felt like a kid in a field trip!

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Got my ID and lunch coupon (or lunch kukpong lol). Woohoo! Everyone gets a stub at their cafeteria. Well, I wouldn’t call it that. It’s not an ordinary cafeteria that we see in Manila, it’s super fancy and they have the best cafeteria food I’ve ever tasted! Their employees get to eat for free too! Sadly we couldn’t take photos to respect the privacy of their employees.

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We were welcomed by these gorgeous art installations at the entrance. H&M values art so much and you can see it in their clothes.

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H&M holds an annual fashion competition amongst young design students. Students from across the globe compete to be the winner of the H&M Design Award 2014. The winner/s gets the opportunity to have their designs sold in in select H&M stores and get featured at the lobby of their headquarters! What a great privilege right? Props to H&M in developing the future designers who will rock in the industry!

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Who wouldn’t want to work in this kind of environment?

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The look and feel of their receiving area already tells you that you are in a very creative and cool environment where great minds thrive.

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See that long table in their cafeteria? It can be doubled as a fashion runway! Haha! Hacan Andersson (H&M’s press officer) told me that the company hosts internal fashion shows regularly to debut new collections to its staff–and they even used this runway for a fashion show for H&M Creative Director’s Margareta Van Den Bosch’s birthday in which their CEO got Karl-Johan Persson got to ramp as well! Haha!

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We got to meet Peter Klussel, H&M’s Division Designer. I learned so much about working for H&M. How they work with Pattern Makers, Buyers and Business Controllers, to plan and create all those beautiful H&M collections. Their workplace is very dynamic, fast-paced and creative, and every day is different from the next. I also learned that in order to be perfect for the job, you always have to be ahead of the game and spot trends years in advance. They have over 230 designers and each one is a fashion enthusiast and skilled at transforming product and print sketches into bestsellers, and work with a constant customer focus. I also found out that the division designers read an average of 20 fashion blogs everyday! It’s amazing to me to know that style blogs have become a huge source of inspiration for brands as well.

fotograf Mattias Bardå

After attending 3 meetings, we got to visit “The White Room.” It’s a room filled with books about fashion, design, textiles, fabrics, patterns, etc. It’s amazing that they have creative spaces where their in-house designers can brainstorm. It won’t be hard to get your creative juices flowing with this environment!

fotograf Mattias Bardå

In Sweden, coffee drinking is fostered through a tradition called fika – in which friends, family or colleagues meet for coffee or tea, often with something sweet on the side, kinda like merienda! This is just outside The White Room.

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I just had to wear my favorite H&M leather jacket for my tour at the H&M HQ! See the full outfit post here. (P.S. Tim Yap in the background totally ruined my moment haha)

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Across the H&M headquarters is where concept designers from different design departments put together the collections that we see in stores. This is where they create their mood boards, curate vintage clothing for inspiration, etc. They also have real people fitting the garments everyday. Not gonna lie, I went a little crazy. I wanted to take everything home! I also got a sneak peek of what they’ll be releasing summer 2015!

fotograf Mattias Bardå

Fashion never sleeps. We got to visit the online team in Borås wherein they develop and maintain www.hm.com, which is currently available in 12 countries. This is where they shoot their products and create online catalogs. Basically, the Online Group makes sure that H&M is always open for inspiration and business.

fotograf Mattias Bardå

They have in-house stylists, photographers, etc! We couldn’t take photos of the place but their workplace is so beautiful! You’ll always be inspired!

fotograf Mattias Bardå

Carefully pinning each garment into the white board before they shoot it for their online catalogs.

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After the tour, we headed back to the office for a meeting with Karl-Johan Persson, CEO and president of Hennes & Mauritz (H&M). He came in a crisp white button down shirt, a grey wool sweater and tapered jeans. You can tell that he’s a really cool, down-to-earth guy. At just 39 years old, Karl-Johan Persson was named CEO in 2009.

Also, here’s a fun trivia–did you know that all H&M employees (yes, even the CEO) are required to work inside the store twice  a year? Imagine their CEO getting sizes for you and manning the check out counter! Now that’s customer service!

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That wraps up my day at the H&M headquarters! Hope you guys enjoyed this visual tour. Thank you so much to the H&M team for this once in a lifetime opportunity. I learned so much from this trip!

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