7 Life Lessons with Ryan Choy - Co-Founder of Faire Leather Co.
Combining practicality with style.
The jury is still out on the importance of branding especially among startups or businesses that are just starting out. For the most part, the resistance comes from having to spend time, effort and money on something that may not bear fruit.
Step forward Faire Leather Co..
After their Kickstarter campaign ended on Jan 2018 with them finishing as the most funded campaign out of over 700 projects, the leather goods label went on to hit their two-year target of $1 million in sales in under 10 months. The success of Faire is a combination of hard work, quality products and a keen focus on branding.
Ryan Choy, Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Faire Leather Co. shares 7 life lessons on what he’s learnt on his journey so far.
1. Find a good team.
You can't do everything yourself. There are some things that you will be very good at doing, and other things that you will suck at. Don’t waste your time trying to learn them when you can focus on your role. I’ve been blessed to have my current team - I know I can trust Joe, who’s the CEO of the company to make the best executive and product decisions for the company and Mel, our COO, to similarly make the best ones operationally.
2. Know your product, build a brand and have a vision.
Attach an emotion to what your product does and be very clear about your product’s unique selling point - what problem does it solve? Your brand goes beyond the product itself, it also isn’t just a cool logo or a fancy namecard. It’s the ideals and the concepts that your brand represents, which will continually be seen in your products. Your business should be represented by an idea, not a product.
3. Make sure your mind and body are both in tip top condition.
I’ve heard the cliché: you should work as much as you can and sleep as little as possible - but that’s useless if you’re not performing at your optimum. The real magic is in time management. Cultivate good habits like working out or getting up early and find the time to feed your mind so you’re not burnt out or unhappy. Negative energy spreads like fire in an office so your mind and body are of utmost importance as a leader. This journey is a marathon, not a sprint.
4. Work hard and don’t procrastinate.
A great idea is not good enough. You may lose that great idea to someone who simply acted first so it’s important that you work hard when it’s time to.
5. Be open to the right feedback.
Nothing that you come up with is going to be perfect. Be open to constructive criticism and suggestions - that's why Joe, Mel and I insist on handling the chat queries and organising focus groups. We want to be a brand for the people.
6. Plan and have processes in place.
At the beginning when the team is small or if you’re on your own, you would have to do most things yourself but remember that this won’t always be the case. Have processes so that when you move on to the bigger things, it’s easier for the new hire to take over as your team expands. That’s why we have brief templates, social media calendars and workflow processes. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
7. Be brave and don’t give up.
There are going to be people that will laugh at you or doubt you but let that be fuel for your aspirations because only you know where the brand is headed. Believe in your vision and push forward. We didn’t get to a $1,000,000 in sales by doubting ourselves. You know what they say, haters gonna hate.
For more on Faire Leather Co., check it out here.