It's great coming into work every day being able to work on a brand you've built from scratch, especially as it's not exactly been a vocational calling. I never sat down as an errant 14 year old and boldly stated "I'm gonna pair up with my mate to make a magazine, then end up making clothes with all mushrooms on and give it a portmanteau name".
But here we are. I quite like it. It's a unique learning curve and also a lesson that impostor syndrome is largely a load of nonsense. It's been on my shoulder since we set up a magazine about 19 years ago. Who are we to just start doing this? Surely we should go on a course of some sort? Get a certificate maybe? Someone is going to ask to see our papers and find us out. Except none of those things have happened because almost everyone is winging it in one way or another. It's just that some are much better at said winging because they've been doing it longer.
With COVID seemingly lurking around every corner like a snide little bogeyman, working during a pandemic is a challenge. Kids in school, kids out of school, do I want to use public transport? Not really. Is my face mask doing any good? Lots of headspace ends up getting devoted to out of the ordinary concerns and your brain ends up screaming for a time out.
Thing is though, I don't think I need one. I like being in the office. I can work from home, no doubt about it, and maybe if things get worse it might become an option we're forced to take. But for now we're alright, you know? It's going well. We're taking some perverse pleasure from ploughing on through things despite the most testing situation in decades. We get to the end of each week and metaphorically I stretch my arms out wide like the Angel of the North and go "Still here if you wannit, come at me".
Then I go home and cry silently into a mirror. I don't really.
What have we been up to though? That's what you're really here for, not my existential insecurities laid bare.
Well, part of the aforementioned learning curve has been pure snakes and ladders this year. One ladder has come in the form of Japanese and North American licensees jumping onboard and adding a new dimension to what we do. I like the idea of lavender corduroy but I'm not daring enough to include it in our UK range (yet). No such fear from our U.S counterparts. California is more fitting for that vibe than Crumpsall. And when Japan put your brand through that unique filter of theirs, you're bound to end up with some mad takes. It's just what we wanted.
Back here in the UK, our first range has arrived in fits and starts. Brexit and Covid have paired up like some troublesome tag team to cause us maximum delays and discomfort with deliveries. But everything is here in the UK now, albeit in some cases trapped in a customs queue. If we're lucky, our rugby shirts will be on sale this week. If we're super lucky maybe we'll even see outerwear though thats much more likely next week. It's always been strange seeing puffer jackets going on sale in July at the height of summer, but that's fashion and its weird seasonality. Given the miniscule numbers we've made of our outerwear, we're a bit more relaxed about launching bang on time for the wind and rain. Just 50 pieces exist of our Calland Corduroy Puffer. 49 once I've got mine.
Much of our time lately has also been spend formulating Autumn/Winter 2021. Let's just say things are moving on and we're not far off sampling stage. Likewise, Spring/Summer 2021 features a pared down collection which was partly dictated by having our hands tied by covid but also a feeling of comfort at going t-shirt heavy and complementing it all with new colours in our smart Conway Smock. Off white, olive, blue and maybe an olive all feature in a more Spring-weight fabric.
I've waffled on far too much now. Had a bit of catching up to do didn't we? Will try not to leave it so long next time.