A 3-day creative hothouse to generate brand new ideas and push the limits of industry design.

A playground for new ideas.

Hotshop attendee, ECCO Leather

The challenge

We were approached to help ECCO Leather with the design and delivery of its annual 'Hot Shop'. It's a 3-day event that brings people together from across their business (and beyond) to really push themselves and their creativity to the limits. The company, a global pioneer in leather fashion, had run several of these events and brought us in to help re-design and deliver a new and improved event.

ECCO runs its Hot Shop each year. It's an ambitious, frenetic, rewarding event that takes 40 highly-talented designers from inside and outside the business, hands over the keys to the ECCO R&D facility, provides support from highly-skilled technicians and then throws in lots of leather to play with. Its aim is to create strong stories around the leather, from which come strong concepts and strong products.

The brief is simple: get to know each other, work together and push the boundaries of leather concept design. It's a bold move to let your staff, customers and competitors crawl all over your R&D lab, but it says a lot about ECCO's inclusive culture and vision of the business.

We worked with ECCO to design and facilitate the three days, working on everything from logistics to delivery.

Our approach

In practice

We ran day one in Westergasfabriek, a cavernous cultural space in the heart of Amsterdam, where the themes that inspire leather concepts were discussed. The team were given pre-event 'homework' to find non-leather materials and bring them in on day one. They were then split up into groups to work on developing the concepts generated from this stimulus. What new ideas might work with these new trends? The first day was full of surprises as we started to learn what people were creating.

We spent day two in Dongen at ECCO Leather's Research & Development centre, to make leather trials focused on the concepts. The day is long and full. How can different techniques support these new ideas?

The final day centred on merchandising. Leathers were presented back to the group, further developed with the end product in mind. We looked at how you would take those products to market. What were the products that could be made from this, what would the collection be called, what were the stories you could tell?

Hot Shop was a great example of how to produce brilliant results in a short space of time. The event itself was fast and furious, heaps of fun and (crucially) an opportunity for participants to flex their collective creativity. The results were amazing - leather that looked good enough to eat, leather that sparkled and leather so durable you could imagine passing it onto your grandchildren one day.

The results

The results from this event hinge on collaboration. We really went to town in stretching everyone to work together; employees, suppliers, customers and even competitors. The results were possible because everyone was engaged in the challenge with energy, passion and a focus on the job to do.

About ECCO Leather

Today ECCO Leather has award-winning tanneries in Indonesia, Thailand, The Netherlands and China, offering secure production capabilities and scale to suit growing customer needs as well as seamless communication with shoe and bag-making factories. The company also has a world-class R&D design centre in the Netherlands staffed by skilled leather craftsmen, designers and technicians; the majority of whom still come from leather-making families.  View website