There is no such thing as an overnight success, as I’ve said so many times. So many people seem to think it instantly happened for me but it didn’t. I had to work really hard for it. It was gritty, tough and at times I wanted to pull the plug but I have this obsession and addiction to interiors, and however bleak the day seemed the next day I always somehow bounced back.
Here’s some stuff I learnt along the way:
Have a mission not a business
I never imagined my biz would morph into this, that I would become a wholesaler, retailer, have a licencing portfolio, write books, hold design classes around the world and curate exhibitions abroad (more on that in the coming months). Nor say did Noma, they didn’t just open a restaurant, they reinvented Nordic cuisine because they were and are totally passionate and obsessed with food. So my point is, unless you have a mission you won’t stand the test of time! Simple as.
Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and do your own thing
We have this tendency to mark ourselves against other people, other brands, competitors - you name it. The minute I stopped doing this is the minute I got intensely creative and things started happening for my business.
I remember about 8 or 9 years ago being at a real cross roads; the business was ticking over but only just, no profit, constantly breaking even and I was working all these long crazy hours and started questioning the point. I realised in that moment that I wasn’t buying what I totally loved, I was trying to appeal to everyone rather than just following my gut, and therefore some of the collection was really boring. I ripped up my plans and started buying from scratch, with products that resonated with me. Fast forward a couple of years later and I got really bored with all the suppliers I was buying from (same old, same old), so then I started designing things myself and although its way more stressful than I ever imagined, its been a game changer.
Don’t think about getting ahead for getting ahead’s sake
If you’re trying to get somewhere because you feel you should get somewhere, then you won’t get anywhere (make sense?). We live in a ‘have to climb’ culture. I’ve never thought about climbing, I just love what I do, correction - I am obsessed with what I do – and everything that’s happened as a result was never planned, it just happened and keeps happening in an organic fashion.