Friends & The Waiting Game

Friends and The Waiting Game.

It was brought to my attention the other night, I was at a mate’s birthday who I hadn't seen in ages. As the night progressed he asked how I was doing and if I was planning to hit the piss hard.  When I told him I was taking it easy, he wasn't happy with my reply. Telling me I'm too serious these days, which I can be in certain situations but let's be honest here, I was a party boy who just got over the party. I guess you could call me a bit of a party pooper but that's fine, I really enjoy my own company.

"I do things on my own terms, I don't let the crowd dictate my direction and pace anymore."

I had another friend came up to me and said, “I’m really worried about you.  I’ve been thinking about you.” Really?, I thought. When’s the last time you reached out? Isn't it funny when you start doing your own thing that people start to look at you differently, like your sick with some kind of disease. It was a defining moment where I realized how much things have changed. I'm on a completely different path. Social media is a double edged sword - What was meant to bring us together and has actually trapped us in a cage that is built with iron bars made social exception and false reality. We share stories instead of sharing experiences like we used to when we were young. Me personally, I don't like social media. The people that really matter are the ones I can call with a press of a button.

"It's a sad reality we all face, when you see your old friends turn into strangers."

But on the contrary I'm not saying I'm no longer friends, all I am saying is that there's a defining moment when you realize that your growing apart. I only talk to a handful of friends about my goals and personal stuff,  who are generally interested in my well being. Not many people know what I do starting your own fashion label. It's a completely different ball game. Fashion isn't a necessity, it' considered a luxury by many. There's a particular part in a fashion business called "The waiting game", I’m referring to the period where you've submitted all your designs and instruction details to manufacturers and you hope everything goes to plan. A lot of people are naive of how much planning and execution, fashion is a serious business.

"People seem to think fashion is frivolous but if you think a $3,000 Trillion dollar market is frivolous, well you're a fucking idiot aren't you now."

Recently, I finished sending all of my materials and designs to the factory manufacturing my next collection. I paid for the full production. Shortly thereafter, I received an email stating that the factory was having trouble with one of the suppliers. This particular supplier only sells entire rolls of fabric which can cost over a thousand dollars. My smaller collection doesn’t require the purchase of a full roll of fabric. But luckily I was able to negotiate with the fabric supplier on certain terms and conditions. It's an intense part of your job negotiating, because your life of the business depends on that in order to survive in this day and age or any age in fact.

" I'm dealing with manufactures that are turning over 100 million a year, and I'm just thisboy from a small town with big dreams."

Unforeseen challenges , I’ve spent the last few months hard at work on a complete collection that includes new jeans and shirts. Almost the entire collection was based around this specific denim that I sourced. Before I could move to the production stage, the denim factory went out of business! That left me in a bind. Because of the situation with my license, I couldn’t leave the country. This meant I couldn’t go overseas to source more materials. I had to ask for more samples and swatches. I also had to rely on the factory’s ability to find materials that would even remotely match my original vision. 

I worked on designing and sourcing "The Essentials Collection" for four months. On average, it takes about 30 days to produce a full run once you've sourced and sampled everything. My biggest setback is being a small label with no history. As you can imagine these factories deal with big fashion houses, so your forever fighting to get your designs on a production line. Small quantity is another setback because factories don't like working with small quantities because the workers get paid per garment. I produce my collections in small order quantities. This is in order to ensure I have enough time and money for the next season. In fashion, you always have to think ahead. As a young start-up label, I’m not so worried about seasonality. I’m more focused on smaller runs that don’t leave me with heavy product liability. I want to constantly get quality product out there and then focus on the steps ahead.

" The waiting game is the most difficult part because you've put all your time and money and you just want everything to be out there already."    

In addition to all the planning and strategizing that happens during the waiting game, I’m also seeking out other opportunities that can help me learn more about the industry. My mentor suggested that I get a job working for a big name brand. I’d never had a retail job before. In the past I've applied for several positions, but nothing had ever worked out. No one would give me a job because I lacked experience.

I decided I wouldn't let that stop me.  I ended up walking into a particular store and asking if they had any positions available which to my surprise they did. After handing in my resume, I was invited to a group interview. I didn’t hear back for a few weeks. During that second waiting game, I got paranoid. I really wanted this job. I finally got a call back. They offered me the job! For anyone else, this might have just been a case of a standard retail job. But for me this allows me to learn so much about the industry, and not to mention be involved in something I actually love. I'm truly appreciative of the opportunity. 

"Everyone has a destiny whether you believe it or not, and the amazing thing about it is, that it's up to you to make it all happen."

The waiting game isn’t a just a period of time to rest. It’s a chance for me to plan and plot how I can make a bigger impact. It’s a chance for me to work harder, learn, and gain new experiences. But most important, it’s a chance for me to reflect and express appreciation.

"There’s a photo behind my desk with the quote - “Remember persistence is the price of success”. 

And I think that rings true with me, after a hard long year I finally got my license back. What a fucking experience and lesson learnt. I can't describe in words how special the feeling is, I feel like I'm reborn again and my body and soul are once again free to roam. I know it might sound strange but a part of me will miss that stage of my life. I think because it was the key moment that defined me as person, it cracked my shell and it exposed who I really was all along.

There's a particular American author that I admire greatly,  she is an extraordinary person with a beautiful insight. She has a brilliant quote that I'd love to share with you.

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success be achieved." - Helen Keller.

I hope that this episode inspires you carry on fighting because at the end of every tunnel a new light awaits you.

"Fashion Imitates Life" - Nikke Horrigan

Nikke Horrigan