Normalising

Everything was go. Guns blazing, etc. Bowndling launched and besides the temporary chaos of first-day sales, we’ve entered this weird calm (hopefully before the storm). We’ve gotten back to product design, tweaking the website, and a constant morning fear of selling not a fucking thing today. And after all that work, all that stress, these days have struck me by their odd banality. And you know what? I love it.

There is something tremendously comforting in having launched. It’s just the first step, but it’s a big one. We popped by the Schoeller supplier the other day to look for a material for a hiking trouser we’re working on and our agent told us a shocking fact: 38.8% of all the startup clients who came to them 12 months ago have folded their operations. I was blown away. That’s a pretty high attrition rate for all of us who think we’ve got a big idea.

I still wake up in nightmares, but the fear has largely subsided to general exhaustion. There’s a constant list of shit to do, and it just grows. But what I find interesting in this weird time is how we can tweak and shift — it’s not monumental. It’s small, it’s subtle, it’s getting it right.

When I set out to create Bowndling, I knew I’d probably get a lot wrong. But I’m used to this, so have learned to get much quicker at correcting mistakes. For one, we had a bit of a false start on some of our pricing. I set out to create a brand that was going to be an honest reflection of costs. And then I got a lot of opinions on how we needed to aim high and be a luxury brand. But we’re not a luxury brand. Unfortunately I didn’t listen to myself. We went in high — and it was a mistake. Not a huge mistake — we had sales at that price, but it didn’t sit right with me. I want to be able to tell someone why their coat costs what it costs. And I don’t want them to look at an additional 20% and wonder what that was paying for.

So about five days in, our prices shifted down a bit. Quietly. We sent out gift vouchers to the people who’d purchased already for the difference. It’s the right thing to do. And the faster we got there, the better.

I’ve also realised the importance of our team being relaxed and happy. No one creative works well under constant pressure. Their (our) brains need rest, fresh air, a change of scenery.

David Hieatt once said to me he was embarrassed by the music the team played in the factory. But in the last few weeks the importance of playing music your people like to listen to has become more and more important. So Britney gets a good airing. As does Beyonce. And everyone is happy. It feels normal.

Anyways. It is late. I am tired.

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