How do you create an empire, a million dollar business that is globally respected, makes money and continues to grow and expand? Put yourself into business school perhaps, train up on certain skills, night classes, eye on the prize. All of which are great but I’m here to tell you how I’ve done it personally. I should also point out that I’ve had no business training, so I bring my own topsy-turvy perspective on things. (I wish actually I did have some business schooling, I’m sure it would have propelled us faster but that as they say is life!)
This is going to freak a lot of people out especially the finance team here at AA; but it isn’t always about the money. It just isn’t. I have the most intense arguments over finances! A lot of people are purely driven by numbers (that is why so many brands are so homogenised and sell the same old stuff). When all you do is look at the numbers you end up compromising and diluting the vision. I truly believe this although I know many CFO’s will be throwing things at the screen right now!
I actually think that has made us the success we are because money has never motived me – for me it’s always been and always will be offering people the most amazing selection of interiors products on the planet. I know that our customers have connected with this and can feel it, I feel it. Now that is not to say I’m not concerned about the finances of the biz. I look at the numbers all the time these days but it won’t shift me from doing really spectacular things which aren’t massive moneymakers for us, or conversely you won’t see me selling Edison light bulb lamps just because they are really popular right now. I look at the numbers (of course I do) but they are not the driver. Make sense?
Trends come and go, they’re launched and then moved on. I’m carrying on regardless with the same things I love (always looking to improve and adding newness of course) but always staying on the path I’ve embraced. At AA there will always be dark hues, faux flowers, animal accessories… they’re never going anywhere. They haven’t always been hot, now they are, in time they won’t be again. The trend cycle always moves on but I’m not quitting I’m going to continually be living with them and tweaking, refinishing developing them for years to come. When I create new product its not something that I want to phase in and out. I want it always anchoring our collections, anchoring my home and your homes, and forever being a constant. As Bunny Williams says (one of my favourite quotes) “If you love something, it will work. That’s the only real rule”.