There’s a saying, “what man builds a tower, without first considering the cost to finish it?” – the saying is really applicable to the first part of my career. Back in my 20’s, I built a literal tower, soaring over 100 feet in the sky, without having a single customer to buy the services I planned to sell from it.
That business cost me several years and a large sum of money. While the business itself was a loss, the lessons I learned were invaluable, and I spent the next decade+ of my life going back to the drawing board to figure out better ways of living, working and existing as a human being.
It’s been a dream of mine for many years to have my own business/brand. While Tripleskinny has been a wonderful chapter of my life, I know the doors are soon closing on that business as other avenues open up. Avenues that involve selling a product, rather than exchanging my time for money.
I didn’t set out many years ago to create a brand of yoga mats, nor did I anticipate becoming a practicing artist in my 30’s. Even in my 20’s, I still looked to artists and thought “go get a real job.” And I think that said a lot about where my mind/body/soul was at that point of my life.
I hadn’t yet experienced what it meant to feel. I mean, feel feel. I also hadn’t yet discovered what joy there is in the creation of art. Had I pieced together that people are willing to pay decent sums of money for art I’m capable of creating, in my 20’s, I probably would have spent more time painting and less time behind a computer screen.
That isn’t what happened. My journey into art came as a result of significant life changes in my life that I struggled to understand as an adult. I found a safe refuge in the act of creating art, which soon turned into a fervent passion that I began to discover new parts of myself, within.
As a digital entrepreneur, I’ve always taken notes about projects, concepts or ideas I think are interesting. I’ve always believed in the ‘golden equation’ that combined what the internet is capable of, paired with the principles and structure of traditional manufacturing. I saw manufacturing plants as a golden relic of the past, that could somehow be translated into the mechanism and limitless potential of the internet…and I dreamed of someday marrying the two.
I first discovered success with printed products in my mid-20’s, selling shirts online, as well as in-person at festivals. Those projects were the fastest I ever made money, as I sold hundreds of shirts in a matter of days – largely without any involvement of my own, as I paid people to work at the sales booth.
I remember watching the OSU Vs. Michigan game with a friend of mine in Columbus, as my phone continued to buzz with notifications about each new sale. By the end of the day, I had sold thousands of dollars worth of shirts. Bean dip never tasted so good.
That little exercise was my own immersion in the world of product sales. I realized hard products require a solid mechanism in order to sell, and I realized there was no better mechanism for sales than the internet. So, I made a handful of shirt/print-on-demand sites that all failed miserably.
What I walked away with from those failures was the competency to build an end-to-end sales mechanism that would use the internet to sell. The problem is that I hadn’t yet discovered a perfect product to sell, and I didn’t think t-shirts would leave me feeling fulfilled if that’s all I ever sold.
The more that I thought about yoga mats, as well as practiced yoga, the more I realized there was a perfect marriage between all of the life lessons I’ve had, and the dreams I have for my future. Building Couture Soul has pushed me to use every major lesson, discipline, talent and failure life has given me, as a way to build something that will last for years to come.
It truly feels incredible to build something and watch it come to life in front of your eyes. It feels exhausting when you’re largely the man behind the curtain who is making all of it happen. It feels like a blessing when I realize how supported, loved and encouraged I am by those closest to me who believe in idea as much as I do.