If there’s any fashion retail brand that’s capable of putting instant smiles on the faces of its customers, its H&M. H&M’s excellence in leading the fast fashion movement has completely won the hearts of its customers.
The brand’s short, catchy, and easy-to-pronounce brand name hasn’t only attracted but transformed lots of first-time customers into long-term loyal customers. You wouldn’t be wrong to say H&M’s brand name is the rocket that shot the company to the skies.
But despite the brand’s countless successes, lots of customers don’t even know what H&M means, even though they’ve spent a lot of time shopping in these stores. Well, if you were like us, and don’t know what H&M means, then you’re in luck because we’d be taking a quick look at H&M; the brand and what it means.
But before we explore this mystery, let’s begin with the brand’s history.
It All Began With Hennes, The Mother of H&M
The story of H&M began back in 1947 when Erling Persson opened the first store in Vasteras, Sweden. And because it was a store particularly focused on women’s clothing, he chose a name that reflected his target audience, “Hennes,” which translates to “Hers” in English.
If Erling had stopped with Hennes, we’d only be stuck with an H—which is clearly insufficient for a brand name. Thankfully, in 1968, twenty-one years after starting Hennes, Erling acquired Mauritz Widforss, a Stockholm-based retailer focused on hunting and fishing apparels.
This acquisition didn’t just lead to the rebrand of Erling’s company to Hennes and Mauritz; it was a strategic move that opened the way for the inclusion of menswear in the products offered by the business.
Fun fact: H&M has an established tradition that whenever the brand opens a new store; its new employees, with the help of some music, celebrate by performing a choreographed dance routine for their customers, and the press.
From Hennes & Mauritz to H&M
Now that we’ve gotten a peek into a small portion of the rich history surrounding the company, and the root words responsible for the brand name H&M, it’s important to note that the shortening of Hennes and Mauritz to H&M started off in 1974 when the company entered the Stockholm stock exchange.
After taking on the new catchy brand name, the company went on a full rebrand of all its stores so it can better reflect the new phase it had entered.
H&M’s Established Track Record
Here’s a little something extra for all curious fans of H&M.
We all know that since its creation in 1947, the company has risen above several obstacles and competitors to become one of the biggest fashion retailers in the world. And like we said earlier, H&M achieved this incredible feat because of their solid grasp on fast fashion, which involves paying attention to fashion trends, designing products to align with said trend, and then moving large volumes of the products onto the shelves in a short amount of time, and at low cost to the consumer.
This aggressive strategy makes it possible for H&M to introduce a new product in just two weeks, not only across H&M stores worldwide but also in other stores it owns like COS, Monki, Weekday, Arket, Afound, Cheap Monday, and H&M Home.
In 2013, H&M, in an attempt to reduce waste, set up a garment collection initiative that allowed customers to drop off any piece of clothing at any H&M store around the world and get a 15% discount.
But all these would mean very little if the brand hadn’t mastered the art of collaborating with renowned fashion designers across the world. By collaborating with world-class designers like Versace, Roberto Cavalli, and Alexander Wang, H&M not only established itself but added a massive boost to the company’s reputation in the fashion industry.
So it doesn’t surprise us that H&M—with over 5000 stores in 74 countries around the world—has made its presence felt in every continent with the help of its solid brand name.
Grant Polachek is the Director of Marketing at Squadhelp–transforming the way names are developed by combining an affordable agency-level brainstorming process with the unmatched creativity of “the crowd.”