Episode show notes


For a brand to be so well known to those outside its typical demographic is a sure sign that you’ve made a notable name that’ll last – among those in the world of tools is 103 year old Draper Tools.

The business is now in the care of 4th generation Directors Tom and Joe Draper, who join us on It Runs In The Family to share their close-knit culture, how they cover each other’s weaknesses, and when to hire a non-family MD to steer your ship.

This episode covers:

  • Growing up around a business with gravitas around its name
  • Trusting non-family members to write your business’ legacy
  • The team’s mature approach to covering skill gaps and weaknesses
  • Retaining the brotherly bond as Co-Directors
  • The combination of personalities that helps reach better solutions
    A graphic with Robin, Judy and Ollie.

    Episode highlights


    “When I was in Spain looking at these beautiful yachts I said, ‘I can’t wait to be the captain of one of them one day’. My dad said, ‘Your dream in life should be to own that boat, not to work for someone on it’.” – 3:05 – Joe Draper

    “The nature of our business being tools, they are things that are in everyday life. As you grow up, you start to see your surname stamped on various products in people’s garages and sheds and what have you. I think the gravitas of what the business is starts to affect you.” – 12:55 – Tom Draper

    “Dad’s a very headstrong individual. It took an awful lot of emotional drain on him to trust the business to other people, a certain amount of letting go. But it’s been a healthy thing to do. It’s probably paved the way for myself and Joe to be thinking slightly differently about the future of the business and who you should have around you and running the show.” – 18:25 – Tom Draper

    “It would have been very easy to bring somebody externally in, who was very headstrong and probably wouldn’t have wanted anything to do with me and Joe. We’d have probably been a massive inconvenience, holding them up. Whereas, Graham has been very much with a view of the long term and taking us along on the journey.” – 31:20 – Tom Draper

    “You’ve got to look at yourself in the mirror and go, ‘What are your weaknesses? What are your strengths? Am I the right kind of person?’, and if you have weaknesses, surround yourself with people who have got those strengths.” – 38:15 – Joe Draper

    “One of our weaknesses as a business is we’re great with the older generation, we need to change to the younger generation and be that more aspirational brand. That’s our big goal, to drive that.” – 59:20 – Joe Draper

    “No one will really have the passion like a family member of their business will have. But that doesn’t mean you’re also the right person to lead that business all the time.” – 1:05:20 – Joe Draper

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