A big thing I speak to people about is discovering the "why?" of their business. It crops up a lot in conversations I have. What is the "why" of a business you ask? Very simply it just breaks down why you do what you do and why customers choose to shop with you.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
So that begs the question... "Why the fuck do I do this?!"
That is a great question and one that I have been thinking about for most of the past year. Below is the distilled "Why" and, I guess, the soul of the brand. Its mission statement. Its ethos.
Now when you read that you may have thought "Wait! That doesn't have anything to do with art or t-shirts?!"
And you are right.
At this point, creating art is a catalyst for what really matters to the brand and I, creating opportunities.
Selling t-shirts gave me the opportunity to achieve everything I have. It was my catalyst. That is why for the last year I have been focused on creating opportunities and positive change for others too.
This can be seen through the companies charitable work that raised thousands of pounds for various organisations since 2016. We continually hold a mirror up to the retail industry and denounce the issues it has created. We champion independent businesses and offer advice and solutions to our peers. We openly and honestly discuss numerous topics, including my own ongoing personal experiences with anxiety and how it affects me, the adverse affects social media can have on people and the struggles of running a business.
Art is still very much a focus for the brand, especially now that I create the bulk of the artwork for the first time in our 8 year history. I have released over 300 designs in the last few years. It is a learning curve and a hugely enjoyable aspect of the brand that I love. This will never change. BUT, my main focus and that of the brand moving forward will be to create opportunities and help people, even if it is just making their day a little better because they are wearing one of our t-shirts.
Abandon Ship Apparel