If you had told me 10 years ago that today my business would be alive and operating profitably, that the world had been locked down by a global pandemic, that both Prince and Kobe would no longer be with us, that Donald Trump had become a president of the United States of America, I’m not sure which I would have said was fact and which was fiction.
Begin with the end in mind someone once said, have I done that? I don’t know, but if I look back at my 10-year plan most of it has been achieved. But only most of it and now there’s new parts to the plan as well, guess that’s called evolution or perhaps the job is just never done.
Where am I going with this? 10 years, it’s a long-time whichever way you cut it. I’m a different man now than I was when I started this business. Different views, different outlook, in a different place. I have vastly more experience in small business. More experience in managing staff, or in some cases not managing staff. I’ve seen the rise of influencer marketing, and still don’t understand it. I come from an age when grunge ruled the airwaves, influencers as far as I can tell were the very thing we were rallying against all those years ago, seems like selling out to endorse it now in the name of profits. So, what’s changed, I’ve seen the Internet boom and boom. Staff have come, staff have gone. Beards have come and beards have gone (well most of them), it’s been a journey.
Can I say I have learned anything, have any one epiphany? Of course, but really, it’s just about survival. Boxing clever and surrounding yourself with as many good people as you can lay your hands on. If there is any single joy to be taken out of the journey is that I have stuck at it, shown grit and when needed, a bit of back bone, I’m proud of that.
Truth is though, it can be tiring, more all-encompassing than you can prepare for when you are setting out that business plan. Running a business seeps into every part of your life almost all your waking hours along with a few non-waking ones. Life out of necessity boils down to work and family. And your moods are swayed as much by the work as family.
You get beaten and spend nights agonising over the beating, only to wake and wonder what the fcuk all that was about, then get up and do it all again.
There have been some amazing wins, selling in Selfridges and Liberty in London, Harvey Nicholls in Dubai, being the in house products for the ‘Old Clare Hotel’ in Sydney, being available on Mr. Porter. We have had acknowledgement in highfalutin press such as Monocle, wallpaper magazine, Forbes, GQ, Esquire, Tatler, The Independent, Financial Times, and many more – pretty amazing for a little brand from NZ when you start to list it out. We’ve been ‘on the block’ in both Australia and New Zealand, been in short films and feature length films, we have even made a few films of our own, it’s been fun. We have had some great parties and launched a bunch of new products. In the end I’m most proud of the products. We have maintained a standard of excellence and performance from day one. We have left many good ideas on the cutting room floor because when we got to the end of the project, we just did not feel like they were good enough to launch. These high standards we still respect, in fact we cling to them today. They are the foundations of what we do, we can always put our hands on our hearts and say we make the best products out there.
So there it is, after 10 years we are still the same, but also, completely changed, still have a youthful naivety, but also a steely resolve. As we lock in for the next chapter it has been nice to take five minutes to pause and look at how far we have come. As the old Chinese proverb goes, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, we have taken that step and have travelled a few of those miles, the journey so far has been worth it.
Finally, I would like to thank every customer be them friend or stranger who has believed in us enough to purchase one of our products. We are humbled by this every time it happens and we are eternally grateful for the belief and support you have shown us. Our ambition is to respect that support and to continue to deliver, to keep our standards high, to keep raising the bar in appreciation of you, our customer, our fan and our friend.
So I tip my hat and say adieu, thank you and let's roll again!
(10 years to the day we started Triumph & Disaster)