The REAL life of an entrepreneur
When most people hear the words ‘designer’, they think of days spent pouring over luxurious fabrics, flicking through fashion magazines and looking fabulous 24/7. The reality, however, is not quite so glamourous. The business of fashion is challenging, complex and life-consuming – and, while I wouldn’t have it any other way – there’s a whole side to dog&boy that people don’t see.
In this post, I’ll share some behind the scenes insights about running a scarf empire and what it REALLY takes to build a successful brand. Hint: blood, sweat and sometimes, often!, tears are a genuine part of the dog&boy story!
Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable
Far from hiding behind gorgeous scarves, being a fashion designer pushes me way outside my comfort zone. A recent example is a TV interview I did with SBS, which aired on 15 April 2018. It was a huge honour and it went well – but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t scary! Being on TV is definitely is a big deal and I had all fears you’d expect to have. What if I sound silly? What if I look silly? What if the camera really does add 10 kilos?
Being on TV is so far outside my comfort zone, it would have been tempting to say no – but I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I had to get comfortable being uncomfortable, which is something my business has taught me to do. It’s not always easy, but it’s usually worth it – and ‘putting yourself out there’ is part of being an entrepreneur. If you’re interested in watching the interview, check it out here: for the love of scarves.
You can also read a recent article I wrote for YMag about My Surprise Career as a Scarf Designer. In this piece, I get pretty personal. I share my fears about starting my business, losing my mum to brain cancer and my big ‘why?’ behind dog&boy. Again, not the most comfortable thing to do, but a great chance to connect with readers, tell a story and hopefully inspire some budding business owners.
Doing ALL the things, all the time
As well as wearing many scarves, I also wear many hats at dog&boy. I’m the founder, designer, quality controller, marketing team, sales manager, logistics department and more. I’m lucky to get great support from family, but I’m still always outrageously busy. I love what I do, but truth be told, it does get overwhelming at times and really just have to stop and just switch off from everything for a while (cue the Netflix binge!).
I used to work some pretty outragous hours during my former life, but I can’t remember EVER being this busy. My usual pace as an entrepreneur is somewhere between ‘mildly panicked and completely frenzied’ – and the only reason I keep up is that I’m completely obsessed with what I do. There are buckets of tears and screams of joy, and everything in between. But when you’ve got passion, and drive anything’s possible – but you have to be prepared to put in the work.
Always evolving, forever refining
One of the main things I’ve learnt since starting dog&boy is that the hard work is never done. There’s always room for improvement – and if you want to create something truly special, you can’t afford to rest on your laurels.
The dog&boy brand has evolved a lot over the past 2.5-years and I’m so proud of what it’s become. The fabrics are pristine, the prints are timeless, and the brand is building great momentum. Despite all this, I always want to do MORE – especially when it comes to the brand experience. Believe it or not, the thing I love most about dog&boy is not the scarves. It’s the connection I make with the people who wear them, through storytelling and shared experience.
Whether it’s through social media, blogging or having real conversations with real customers, I’m always refining dog&boy to be a better version of itself. That means listening to feedback, embracing change, and inviting dog&boy lovers to help shape the brand’s story. And that work will never be done.
As branding superstar Scott Bedbury famously said, “A great brand is a story that’s never completely told”. Let’s see where this story goes.