The Creative Director of Your Samples Collective, Daniel Peters, shares some of the trials and tribulations that come with launching a new menswear brand.
You’ll no doubt hear along the journey of setting up and running your business, that your ideas are too big, or in the words of my own mother (and to quote U.K. Grime artist Stormzy) you’re getting way too big for your boots.
But like everyone before us who has achieved some level of success in their chosen field, they started off with a dream for what they wanted to achieve, not how they would or could achieve it.
I often think it better in work and life to have a fist full of dreams that are perhaps seemingly out of reach, but there is of course a process which can make these ideas a reality.
"I myself am a big dreamer and don’t always like the constraints that others “impose” upon me"
When announcing to friends that I would dip my toe into the waters of creating a collection, I remember one industry friend in particular who asked the very appropriate question of “how many SKUs” I would create for season one.
Now for those who maybe don’t come across the term SKU in their daily life, it’s simply a way to understand how many products you will hold as inventory across style and fabrication.
I hadn’t quite mapped this out when I first dreamt up Your Samples Collective, and I perhaps slightly misguidedly didn’t take into account the many people, processes and funds that it takes to execute my rather grand vision.
Doing the math quickly, I thought that I would have a wide variety of options for a consumer to pick from. That I would be able to create 4 styles of jumper available in 12 colours, 6 styles of coat with multiple fabric and finishes (the list goes on) but as I started to explore what was possible the seams began to unravel, and revealed that I was in desperate need of scaling back on what some might call a pipe dream.
We often hear in the world of startups that we should have in mind how our business will scale, and this is where my development process took me. I thought about what I could achieve in the immediate that wouldn’t stretch me as a solo founder, but still allow me to put out a solid body of work that I feel proud of, and begin to show the signature of what YSC is about.
I won’t attempt to dress it up, I myself am a big dreamer and don’t always like the constraints that others “impose” upon me, but armed with a reality check in my back pocket I mapped out what the big plan was - where do I see this in 2, 3 and 5 years - and honing in on year 1 I felt as if I had more clarity, and I could see that there was no mountain too high, nor that the clothing market was too small for what I wanted to put out there.
It’s important that we don’t let an outsider's perspective dampen our spirits, nor should it determine how far we can go with an idea, but I had to keep a check of what I could do with the resources that I had.
I’ve struck a happy medium with my first incarnation of Your Samples Collective, 4 styles of coat / jacket which we will build on and adapt seasonally. Of course this may not be enough for some of the industry buyers, and albeit consumers who happen to stumble across and look at the brand, but I'm choosing to go with a consistent and steady will win the race mentality at this first hurdle.
This isn’t to say that I’m not that person who will look at what their counterparts are doing and obsesses about how to acquire that Supreme level exposure and fame, but those unicorns happen once in a while, and I’d much rather focus on having a healthy business that turns a profit.
So, as I'm sitting here right now, daydreaming about business growth and what success means, I’m steering my focus towards being present, and working on better ways to connect with my audience.
I want to cultivate meaningful relationship with the YSC community, embedding them within the process and conversation, because the products that I create are crafted for the EveryMan, no matter what his walk of life may be.
Daniel Peters - YSC Creative Director
Images @John Kitchin