In a Millennial workforce notorious for shifting careers, Nathan Bachli is a notable exception. Eleven years after joining Hub as a teenager, the company’s newest director is basically part of the furniture.
October 31st, 2017
Can you share the story of your beginnings at Hub?
When I met Jaci (Jacqueline Foti-Lowe, Hub’s founding director) for the first time, I was working at IKEA, and I served her. She must have seen something in that interaction, and asked me to come for an interview. At the time, Hub just needed someone to help out around the place – put stickers on things and open mail. I didn’t know anything about the design community, but I thought I’d go along anyway. When I was offered the role, I said I’d really need to think about it. I thought, ‘If I decide to work with you, I’ll work with you forever.’ I was 19 and I’d already figured that out.
These days, 11 years is a long time in any one industry – and you’ve done it all at one company. What’s behind that decision?
I’d always had a long term goal of retiring after working in only one company – that was something that I knew I would be very proud of. And the reason for that is because I value loyalty beyond everything else. I’m still intensely loyal to everyone in this business, to our suppliers, to Jaci for giving me the opportunity.
When you’re really clear about why you are doing what you’re doing, you don’t get side tracked. And I think that’s where things like resilience, resolve, commitment and dedication come from, because you just keep working through it. It doesn’t matter that you’ve had a bad day, or maybe even a bad year – because next year will be better! And in a 50-year career, there’s going to be some bad days, and bad years.
What advice can you give to young people making their start in the workforce?
Jaci started Hub in her late twenties, and she gave me an early start, so I’ve always tried to give young people an opportunity too. Everyone needs to be given that. But I do get a bit disenchanted sometimes when I see young people leaving after a year or six months – and not necessarily just at Hub, but in general. I just think, give it five years – or even 10!
One thing to consider is that every time you start a new job, the amount of time it takes to remember everyone’s names, figure out what tram to catch, where to get lunch, how you should dress and how to work in that business – it’s going to take you probably a year. So if you have ten jobs over your career, you will have spent ten years just settling in. And that’s all peripheral to the real work of mastering a role. It takes a while for the tree to bear fruit.
I suppose a key reason that people leave jobs is a need for change – how have you navigated that within the one business?
Because Hub has grown, I’ve been able to have four or five different roles since I’ve started. Our marketing department and finance teams didn’t exist on day one, and we were outsourcing the warehousing and logistics, but we now do a lot of that internally. We now have 45 people across Melbourne and Sydney, so new roles have been created along the way.
What have been the big achievements for you?
A few of the big events we’ve pulled off, and clearance sales – working until 6am sometimes – those have been great wins. Generally the growth of the business is what is most rewarding, when you see other people starting to create longevity in their roles. I’m really proud of that. And similarly, the amount of time that we’ve worked with leading companies: it’s been fifteen years with Moroso, and thirteen or fourteen with Molteni. So to have maintained those exclusive agreements for that period of time is really satisfying.
How you feel about being described by Jaci as part of Hub’s DNA?
…Did she say that, did she?
She did in the press release…
Haha! That’s pretty cool. I think though that the whole team is part of the Hub story, and there are others that have been here longer than me who I have an incredible amount of respect for.
As a new director of Hub, how would you like to see the brand grow in the future?
There’s already a lot that we do that most people don’t realise. Our showroom is set up and geared towards the individual client, but we’re also working with Molteni on multi-residential developments, for example. And a big part of our business is custom fit-outs of kitchens and wardrobes through the Molteni systems.
A ‘hub’, in the true sense of the word, is a central gathering place for people, ideas and initiatives, and that’s what we’re really geared towards becoming. There’s quite a few exciting things in the works.
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