There was a time, about thirteen years ago now, that I was driving along in my silver hatchback in the traffic and I was wondering how I would ever afford to live a life independently of my family and pursue my dreams.
If you asked me back then what constituted my dreams, I would probably say that it was to be a writer of sorts. More specifically, a novel writer. I had developed a man crush on a few key writers and all I ever wanted to do was to be as talented at them in describing the world around me.
I wrote a novel and I discovered that it was a lot harder than it appeared and more importantly, it took a lot more courage, knowledge and experience that I had first assumed. I would not say that I reached my limitations as a human being, but it gave me perspective of what a writer's life must be like, to repeat that process over and over again - well, the first one seemed like a catharsis, I didn't feel like I had anything left to give after it, not then anyway.
So, I pursued a variety of other jobs. Some more glamorous than others. I was the general manager, at a young age I might add, of The Sydney Comedy Store at Moore Park, Australia's largest comedy theatre. I learned there that I hated the life of a comedian. It was one thing to be hosting the Oscar's, it was another to rote learn a 45 minute piece and tour with it up and down the comedy circuit each week along the eastern coast of Australia. Then I went into garbage compost waste systems, which was my first experience in web sales and web marketing. Then I learned how to code websites, which I did on the side whilst improving my compost system business and learning the ropes of the wedding DJ market. Then I dropped the waste systems in favour of DJ'ing and web development. Then I sold timber floors. Then I travelled overseas and wrote my first novel, failed, and came home. Then I opened a nightclub. Then I sold my share in it. Then I started making bow ties and writing a menswear blog.
I am probably not done just yet. But for the moment, I am getting to do two things I really enjoy, communicating, in the form of this blog, and creating, well, it's perhaps not art, but it's my kind of art - silk bow ties and accessories.
Yesterday, my accountant came past and delivered some bad news - we weren't making enough money. We didn't lose money, but we didn't make a profit.
Ordinarily I am trained to consider this a tragedy - what kind of man works up to 7 days a week and stays up late every night either engaging or entertaining his customers for no money? What sort of idiot is this man?
But yesterday, I decided to change my tune after seeing a bank's television commercial the other day which said "it's more than money". I tend to agree with them. If I focused solely on profit each year we would not have nearly as much fun with our silks, most of them would be solid colours, devoid of anything different, afraid of experimenting, staying within the confines of what we know would sell, never offering discounts, rarely doing giveaways, not putting exotic perfumes in our boxes, always trying to cut corners. If I wanted a business like that I probably wouldn't cut my own bow ties but pay some chap in China to produce me 1000 of them for a dollar each and mark them up to $20.00.
I could do all of that, yes I could - and maybe one day I will sell out exactly as I just described - but then I wouldn't get sent the photo below and the feedback - which is just as that bank said - 'more than money'. It's the thing that propels you long after bow ties are no longer on trend. Long after you are out of favour with the magazines, when your fellow bloggers no longer respond to your emails on time, or the world is holding up some new dandy to admire.
If I can continue to write my blog for another year and have customers buy our bow ties for another year - well, that's success to me, and thankfully, this year at least, I didn't lose any money.
Your bow ties are the ROLLS ROYCE of bow ties.
Bow ties are exceptional in every way, they stimulate human special senses. For myself when I wear them (daily), they give me the feeling that each bow tie is made exclusively for me.