We run two businesses from the same premises here in Manchester. One is a wholesale business that supplies outerwear to online retailers and the high street, and the other is the brand Shores.
The wholesale business works in a much more linear way. There is a production process that needs to be followed, and the steps within that process are well established, tried and tested and work most of the time. That isn't to say that business is easy in any way, shape or form - in fact it's incredibly challenging and full of problems, difficulties and unforeseen situations, but the processes of production essentially follow a linear, step-by-step path.
Shores is a very different animal. As an online brand selling the work of established artists on the back of jackets, there are no rules and protocols that we can follow. We have to walk the less traveled road, and when there is no map then we have to find our own way and sometimes it's easy to get lost along the way.
While at times being a creative, a business or a brand can feel like a lonely journey, I absolutely know that we aren't alone in this feeling. The more people you talk to the more you realise that although social media and digital technology have made the world a smaller place, where it is easier to communicate and share with other people, it can also be polarising in that it can make you see other people's supposed success and glory and start to doubt your own path. Everybody else seems more successful, more interesting, more eloquent, more coherent, more consistent.
"Comparison is the death of joy." - Mark Twain
It's difficult to not look at what other people are doing. Actually we should be looking at what others are doing. That's how we learn and grow - by watching, reading and listening to others who have gone before us. We can learn from their mistakes and save ourselves the pain, time and money of making those same mistakes for ourselves.
We can't however allow seeing the journeys of other people to eat away at our own sense of satisfaction and self worth. Everybody's journey and path is unique. No two people, businesses and brands are the same.
That's what we champion more than anything here at Shores, we champion that individuality and uniqueness, those quirks and traits that make us different to everybody else.
That isn't to say that we don't sometimes get the 'envy'. That sense that others are better, stronger, faster, cleverer than us. The 'envy' though needs to be channeled back into self belief and action. Those people that we 'envy' - do you know why we envy them? We envy them because they have worked, they have grafted, they have slogged against all odds, against their own self doubt and belief, against economical, physical, philosophical obstacles. They have put the hard work in, stuck with it, never given in and as a result created great work, great content, great products and they've got great stories to tell. That's why we love them. That's why we respect them.
"Some people dream of success, while others wake up and work hard at it." _ Napoleon Hill
I know of very few genuine overnight successes. There are no secrets to success. No fast track. No shortcuts. The only thing that all the people we admire have in common with each other is that they worked hard and never gave up.
So part of playing that long game involves accepting the highs and lows. Accepting the apathy, the procrastination, the envy and the doubt. Allow it to be there, it's alright, it's part of the process. It's the Winter to our Summers. Both are absolutely necessary for the other to exist.