So it’s coming up to the end of the year, and while most people are getting ready to switch their brains off for Christmas and fill bellies with mince pies and selection boxes, my brain can’t help spin up with ideas and plans on how I can turn AnyForty into a full-time business. For those of you who don’t know, AnyForty is run by me, on my own, with help from lots and lots of talented friends and I’ve been doing it all on the side of a day job that pays my bills for the last four years. It’s not a full-time operation, there’s not a team of people sitting in an office handling accounts, marketing and packing orders. It’s just me, working my nuts off!
I try to switch off but it’s hard when you’re so passionate about something, AnyForty has been in my blood for a long time and something I want to do all day long, every day for the rest of my life. I even quit a full-time job as an Art Editor of a great and well-respected design magazine last November to chase the dream, and that’s the best thing I’ve ever done. Been able to dedicate a lot more time to AnyForty business than I had before.
Year by year, AnyForty gets that bit bigger, but so far not big enough for me to concentrate on it full-time. That’s what I’m going to be asking Santa for this year. The ability to run my brand as my one and only day job sometime soon.
Probably the one thing holding me back from attacking this full-time, is stockists. If we get more stockists, we can spend more time making more product, and in turn the more product we make, the more efficient the business can be run, as the product will get cheaper to manufacture, and the more product we can manufacture we can start to hit factories’ minimum orders and start producing more bespoke cut and sew items. Trust me, at the moment, wholesale is a tricky game when you don’t make a lot of product, cost per unit when you sell wholesale you’re basically just breaking even, but it gets more product out on the street and more people aware of the brand so it’s a winning situation. I’m hoping it’ll change in the future and more stores will roll the dice with UK brands, but unfortunately it seems at the moment the majority of stores in the UK don’t support their own homegrown, independent brands.
Instead of trying to help grow a thriving scene on these very shores, most stores are happy to fill there shelves with the latest US brands, and to be honest, in this shit financial climate, who can blame them, most customers go crazy for the latest ONLY tees, or the latest Obey crewnecks. Gotta give the customers what they want, and that’s guaranteed money in the tills. But come on, it’d be nice to keep some money in this country wouldn’t it, rather than send it all over to the States?
Can’t help but feel if more stores like Urban Industry and Focus have done and got on board and supported homegrown brands more people would get up on streetwear that’s being produced on these shores, that’s easily as good as our American bredrins and they’d fiend for the latest drops from brands like us. And trust me, there are many brands like AnyForty, out there hustling day to day, trying to compete with the big boy US brands. Truth be told, we’ve been stocked in a fair few independents since we’ve started, unfortunately most of them gone to the retail park in Heaven. But anyone who’s taken the chance and stocked us alongside your Alife’s and Zoo York’s has never failed to sell our stuff and has always come back with bigger orders.
Next year’s plan is to go out and visit more stores, this time proper business-like; that’s phone calls and appointments made instead of jumping on a train with a backpack full of tees and randomly turning up into shops we like, asking to speak to the boss.
Don’t get me wrong, not having a whinge about things, and in reality things are the biggest and best they’ve ever been. 2011 has been a INCREDIBLE year for AnyForty. This time last year, AnyForty was a tee brand, that’s all we’d ever made. Fast forward to today, and over the last year produced our first Teeology book and 2012 calendar (both of which sold out stupid fast), we made a fully embossed leather wallet with J3Concepts that basically sold out in 2 weeks, we’ve produced our first range of artist collaboration crewnecks, manufactured some pocket money spends with metal keyrings and vinyl travel cards and released our first ever snapbacks. Looking back on it, along with relocating to London and doing our first ever Sample Sale we’ve been proper busy this year!
Just like to wrap this blog post up by thanking each and every person who’s supported AnyForty since I started it in 2008, all the sick artists who’ve got on board with great designs, all the photographers who’ve worked with us and helped us present the brand in a incredibly polished way, the blogs who’ve written great stuff about us and our current stockists Urban Industry, Focus and the Boardroom and obviously all you guys who hit the store up on the regular and support us with cold hard cash. Really mean this, but can’t do any of this without the support of people speaking with their wallets.
Hope next year’s end of year blog post is a tale of our UK retail success. Watch this space and find out!
Happy Christmas to you all. Will be back in a week or so, ready to smash the back doors of 2012 right in.