Friday, August 7, 2009

#717 Want to put up with Murray Crane's "constant bitching and moaning"? Now you can!


Image /Crane Brothers

What's the difference between Murray Crane and a tyrannical dictator? If you'd asked me that two days ago, my answer would have been: not much. But now, owing to a new Help Wanted ad placed on the Crane Brothers website yesterday, my response would have to be slightly different: Murray Crane at least acknowledges the fact that he's a tyrannical dictator. In one of the funniest and most brutally honest pieces of writing I've read in quite some time, the bad boy of New Zealand tailoring (he's going to kill me for saying that) spells out exactly what it's like to work for him. And he's telling the truth - I've experienced it myself. Murray gave me my first major job in the fashion industry as a 19 year old youngster.

It was an interesting experience.

People always ask what it was like to work for Murray, and how I managed to put up with his "constant bitching and moaning" (his words). Over the years I've thought long and hard about this and I think I've figured it out. Murray Crane commands respect. But he doesn't just command respect, he demands respect. And if you don't give it to him, look out.

I don't think I've ever met somebody who wasn't intimidated by Murray the first time they met him - he's quite a frightening man. He stands close to you and looks you up and down, then if you have his approval he gives you a nod and you can stand at ease. As you can imagine, when I was 19 years old, I was terrified by (and in awe of) him. Here was this incredibly cool, well dressed, powerful man who could make or break your day with a single look. I'm sure I don't just speak for myself when I say that he has a certain power over his staff. In my case, I desperately wanted his approval.

There were the rules: no leaning, no crossing your arms, no slouching, no hiding behind the desk, no visitors, no blue pens, no speaking unless spoken to first. If broken, the penalty came brutally and quickly, usually preceded by a "F*ck Isaac!" There were times when I worked in the Little Brother workroom when he'd yell so loudly down the phone that everyone in a five metre radius could hear every word he screamed.

One day I decided to try something new. I'd dropped off a load of shirts to Crane Brothers and was being yelled at about some matter (I think it was regarding French cuffs), and I yelled back. "F*ck Murray! What's the problem?" He went quiet for a moment and stared at me, then nodded as if to say, "you're alright mate'. I thought I was onto a good thing. The next time he yelled at me I tried it again. It didn't go down so well a second time.

The funny thing is, despite all the yelling, all the "constant bitching and moaning" and the approval I tried so desperately to get, I still have a huge amount of respect for Murray. I like the man a lot and always enjoy catching up with him. Would I work for him again? Absolutely not, but I'm glad that I did for two years. I... learnt a lot.

Below is the Help Wanted ad he posted yesterday. Every word of it is true. To be able to work for Murray and sustain it over a long period of time you have to be incredibly thick skinned. Consider yourself warned.

"We are currently looking for people. We have an immediate vacancy for a third full time person in our Wellington store and a full time junior in Auckland.

Be under no illusion that this is easy work and don't waste my time if you want to be fabulous. You will work at least one weekend day and your day starts at 8.30 not 10.00.

You need to be clean, non smoking and have good handwriting. You need to be able to spell but most of all you need to have manners and not mutter. You must be courteous and have your own sense of style. You definitely must be honest and punctual.

A good well rounded education and a work ethic is what I want in a person. I won't be impressed by whether you have your own blog or that you get air freighted copies of Luomo Vogue sent in for yourself.

I will be impressed if you dont text me: hey wassup how bout hookin up fr job intrvw and perhaps tell me that you had a paper round, worked at Pak n Save or in a salt mine as a child.

You will have to put up with my constant bitching and moaning and I dont give a shit if you can use some cool CRM system, I want you to turn up, shut up and step up, don't have "good ideas" (at least for the first year) and rely on your sense of humour to get you past the fear of god I will somehow instill in you, going by past applicants experiences.

email me personally on murray@crane-brothers.com"

I LIKE YOU!

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

How am I meant to cope with being told I'm ungly poorly dressed retard by my boss if I'm not aloud to take solace in sweet sweet nicotine?

Anonymous said...

would be like working in HELL!! No amount of money

Sharna said...

that is gold!!!

Anonymous said...

I would have loved working for someone like him! Too bad he doesn't have any part-time positions.

Lulu

Anonymous said...

i heard the pay is dirty small..

Anonymous said...

Crane pays people with cigarettes and constructive criticism.

Anonymous said...

He pays people with cigarettes but they aren't allowed to smoke them?

Is the Auckland Junior position a workroom one?

Anonymous said...

That's his way of making damn sure you know who the boss is.

Anonymous said...

and that's how you run a successful business - good on him. his staff are being paid to work not to mess about like most staff do in retail stores.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Crane is unaware that it's perfectly possible to run a successful business without being an asshole.

Advertising your rampant narcissism is to be pitied more than admired, even if you can cut a sharp suit.

Anonymous said...

But he sure does cut a sharp suit right? If I could afford it, man I'd be at his store getting measured up this instant.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Tyranny is no way to run a business and/or gain respect.. it's dated, he's dated. He's an asshole because he knows it. He gets off on the fact that people are 'intimidated' by him which is just.. well, really really lame

Anonymous said...

Murray is an alright guy, me and a mate breezed in the door of the Little Brother just before it closed in Wellington, and he was there, he was cracking jokes and spinning yarns with me and my mate. Gold.

Anonymous said...

doesn't anyone else think crane is looking a bit average - jacket too small and crumpled, shirt collar creased...

Anonymous said...

you must of caught him on a good day, probably the only one of the year. this guys sends shivers of arse holeness down my satorial spine

Anonymous said...

Muuray is hands on in his own business which means that he sees more, expects more but also gives more. I've bought off him for years and he has always been great to deal with. The good staff stay with him too. Rob and Chris are gold. Crane doesn't tolerate fools though. Good on him I say.

R said...

If you haven't worked for Murray, you haven't worked.

1AM Magazine said...

oh for the conservative over-privileged young middle class of nz eh? - a jobs a job mate, and for someone wanting to get into the industry, probably a bloody good opportunity! the issue thats been brought to light here though is the blurring of the line between the personal (i.e ego) and the professional - a particular mistake the industry here seems to suffer from these days.

Anonymous said...

His dishevelment is probably because hes been snapped at work which if you know the guy is where he is pretty much the whole time: No time for posing maybe?

Anonymous said...

Ha, yeah I'm sure 'I'm working, I don't have time to look tidy' is the sort of excuse that would really fly with Murray, not.

JenniS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JenniS said...

As a customer of Crane Brothers I reckon he's got it spot on. I suspect his industry is a little like mine, 'creatives' might be adorable, but can sometimes be a little difficult to coax a full hard days work from! I adore Robert Niwa so much I tried to adopt him. Robert, that room is still available for you darlin ;-)

Anonymous said...

good ideas? has he ever had one of his own?

the days of the great auckland asshole are dieing, just ask Mike King and Tony what's his name?

Anonymous said...

dieing? or dying, maybe learning to spell would be a good idea and Murray and his team have had plenty of them.

Anonymous said...

thanks isaac

producergirl said...

I've worked for Murray - he is neither scary nor intimidating , he just expects perfection. My advice is to just deliver. S

Anonymous said...

Totalitarian management is a completely obselete and desultory style of management. The problem is Murray may be feared and therefore obeyed but this may impede his ability to grow the business later on as his control freak tendancies will mean he won't be able to relinquish any control. Ultimately his business will have the same limitations as he himself does as an environment like this isn't conducive to nurturing and cultivating talent. People thrive when they are given responsibility and support not bashed into shape.

Good luck to Mr Crane although he needs to keep his hubris in check. The Auckland big fish in a small pond fashion thing is so rude!

However His suits aren't bad and he is incredibly lucky to have the staff he does given his propensity to lose it. It must be noted however that there isn't much to compete with in NZ. Every suiting retailer is naf. I just don't know why more people cant knock out a nicely shaped suit! How hard is it really? Maybe it's a reflection of the fact that nz men haven't got a fuckin clue!!