Today, we’re excited to bring you the very first of our “Interview with a Founder” series.
I launched GFTD (Good for the Day) with my co-founder Jonathan. We’re a clothing brand for those who seek functional, modern and simple design. We offer classics with a twist and our ethos is to create pieces that are made to last beyond the current trend or season.
We officially launched in May 2019, but we’ve been working on the idea since 2017. We started doing lots of research, and the more administrative tasks for the business: registering the name, setting us up for VAT, pulling together our marketing strategies.
Towards the end of 2018 is when we moved onto building relationships with factories. We visited factories in Italy and also some other UK-based factories. We also started getting samples made during this time.
I’ve always been passionate (and slightly nerdy!) about clothing, and it’s always been something that I’ve wanted to get into, however as I’m not formally trained in garment construction and fashion design it took me a while to gain the confidence to be able to do it.
I had several conversations with my wife, my sister and a few other people where I shared my dream of starting a fashion brand, and they all encouraged me to “just do it!”
I’m now at a stage in my life where I’m a husband and a father of three beautiful children, and I was beginning to feel as if I was losing my opportunity. And in my head, the question changed from “why have a clothing brand?” to “why not have a clothing brand?”
The other thing that I was slightly worried about was not having someone to bounce ideas off. In my day job, there was a guy called Jonathan that I’d worked with for over 10 years. He had a streetwear blog (called Street Clobber), and I approached him about the idea of starting a fashion brand together. He said yes, and the rest is history!
Our skills really complement each other, and he brings a wealth of marketing knowledge and really great networks with brands.
The biggest obstacle was myself. I had to change my mindset from one of an employee to having a founder’s mindset. What I mean by this is that as a startup there is no set path, and you have to work out what the next steps are for yourself.
I’d had a conversation with my sister, and she basically outlined the first 5 steps that I needed to take to get the business off the ground (things like choose a name, check it’s domain and social media accounts were available, register it, get hosting etc).
Once I’d done those things, it dawned on me that I had taken the first step, and now had a foundation that I could build on.
My co-founder and I made the decision to decide how much we could each financially invest in the business at the very beginning.
Initially we were looking at launching with about 5 items, but when we looked at the finances we made the decision to focus on one item that we could really excel at, and progress from there.
We then used the money we generated from initial sales to re-invest in the business.
This was definitely a little daunting in the beginning when we were investing money up front without seeing the returns, especially as I have a young family and all the responsibilities that brings, but thank God it’s worked out well. Our growth has been very organic – slow and steady.
No, because since I’ve been doing this – I’ve realised this is what I love to do. It doesn’t feel like work. I love all aspects of it… building a network and a community and the creativity.
I would say the most challenging bit (and probably the most boring bit for me!) has been dealing with all of the financial admin: VAT, taxes and HMRC.
But on the whole, I love it – I’m learning new skills and gaining knowledge at a rapid rate.
My smartphone! It allows me to conduct my business from my anywhere. I can edit spreadsheets, sign documents and use my camera on my phone to capture inspiration that I see when I’m out and about. Social media, email… it’s all there for me on my phone.
As long as you have a good smartphone with a good memory, you’re good to go.
Definitely Dr Joe Dispenza – the reason I really like him is because he encourages you to visualise your future goals and future ambitions. As a christian, this has helped give me a deeper insight into the power of prayer and about having a positive mindset and speaking positive things into existence.
I’ve actually got three (very different!) books to recommend:
Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself
By Joe Dispenza
I read it at the beginning of this year, and I’ve found that it’s helped me business wise, but also with my mindset.
By Gary Vaynerchuk
It really helped me with setting up the business, and hearing inspiring real-life stories of successful people that have made it.
By Alex Haley
In Malcolm X’s own words he started off from being a thief and a pimp to being a leader. I find his transformation very intriguing and I think that this book would be of interest to anyone regardless of whether they’re black or white, and every colour in between!
Dr Joe Dispenza as I’d like to attend one of his seminars in the UK next year.
Be consistent – set a plan and execute.
Research and understand why you’re starting your business in the first instance. Once you’ve done that, write it on a post-it note and read it daily, especially in the hard moments. Because there will be a time when you need to remind yourself why you started the business in the first place.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
I believe we all have multiple opportunities every single day that are waiting to be seized.