Want to skip the reading? Listen to the audio version here.
I have never been much of a fan of doing something without a sense of intention behind it.
If something isn't being done for a reason, I have never been much of a fan of even entertaining it. If you don't bring something with passion to the table then what's it for? With all that we do with our brand Moore Collection, every single thing comes from a starting point of intention and passion. From the designs we create, the way we make our products, the way we market our products and our brand as a whole-and everything in between-it all starts with intention.
With this blog series, my original intention was to create this set of work for myself and to like maybe have something for my future grandkids to read. I set a goal to create this set of work as a journal for myself so I could record my thoughts through time as I navigate each different chapter in business. Once I'm old and have lost my marbles, I think it will be fun to look at all the thoughts I had over the years and pass that along to others that want to hear it. And if nobody ever did, that would be okay with me. I wanted to share all the things I've learned and gone through with people that are going through the same thing. If my primary goal was to like make money off of this or have it take off immediately, none of what I'm writing or talking about would come from passion and there would be no intention behind that and that just feels weird to me, to be honest.
When you approach everything you do in your business or line of work, or life-really because you actually give a shit and are passionate about it, it shows. When you don't, that also shows.
When you can approach ideas from a point of passion and with strong intention, you put more into them, you have more excitement around executing them and you can often be more proud of the results because of that. When you try to create something because you feel like it's what someone else wants, then it's probably not going to be nearly as strong. You also will probably have a larger tendency to intentionally or unintentionally take someone else's work because nothing comes from you.
We have built our entire business off of our personal passions and have approached every idea with a sense of intention.
We've seen so many outdoor inspired apparel brands come and go in our years. When we were really heavily involved in the Denver handmade vendor scene, we had competition popping up left and right. We've also seen many simply give up in that time as well. I always wondered why. There are a lot of challenges around growing a business, especially an apparel business but one of the biggest things I noticed was this:
These brands would create an initial set of work that was decent. They would rarely do it themselves and often hire a designer to create their artwork. At first glance it looks legit or decent quality. But what happens when you just contract someone to do something for you because you want to create a brand simply for the sake of money? Nothing has meaning.
Once the market had seen their same designs over and over and over again, getting the next sale became harder and harder. When they didn't know where to go next, because they never had that intention to bring things to life from passion, they gave up. They stopped and never scaled it beyond that.
On the flip side, the way we have scaled our brand has been simply based on creating a set of work that personally speaks to us. When you're excited to create something, the work becomes stronger. When you have a sense of passion for what you do, you are excited to keep chasing it. When you have all of that, your customers become excited to see what you'll do next. When you can tell a story about why you created something, that really speaks to people. When that story is simply yeah I hired a designer to make an outdoorsy type shirt does anyone really care? Maybe some people but it's not good for the long term.
When you have intention and approach ideas from a point of passion, you have a story to tell
When we would go to makers markets, we would get asked all the time like what makes your company special. We always had some selling points of our good quality, how we manufactured things ourselves and yada yada. But the biggest thing we loved to just talk about with people is our why of what we've created. Like what inspired our set of work and what's our passion and intention behind the life we lived?
We never wanted to be a couple working really hard at jobs that didn't fulfill us so while times could be really hard, our intention was to build a life with meaning and we wanted to do that through the business we owned together and create products that we personally loved and wanted to enjoy and share that with the world.
When you have a story to tell, that resonates with people
As we told this story in person, through our social media and what not, we started to build our community. The story we tell about the life we excitedly have created, makes people excited to buy our product over the guy that hired people to do everything with the intention of making a quick buck.
I personally can't imagine putting all the effort and energy into the business we have if it wasn't guided by passion and a strong sense of intention on all fronts.
We live in a very cluttered world of business, technology, products, everything. So how do we stand out in that?
Chances are most of us aren't going to invent then next incredible thing. Some of us might but most of us small business owners are doing things because we have an interest in doing those things. Surely we can make better versions of things or more unique versions of things that already exist but rarely are we going to sit here and come up with the worlds craziest new idea and that is totally fine. But with all of that in mind, why should people care about the things we are doing?
We make very common items that a lot of other people make too. I'm not going to sit here and say that we have reinvented the wheel or that we are better than any other company in our same sphere. Yes, we make a crapload of shirts and yes we make a crapload of candles like a lot of other people. But do you know why they sell for us? It's the design and the quality of our craft because we care about how things are made.
I have had many long conversations with my badass sister Dana about business over the years. She just started her own company called Living Thing and I'm so damn proud of what she's done up to her launch and so excited to both be business owners now. We've talked about this idea often. We've asked the question of does the world need another candle company? Does the world need another t-shirt company? And the gut reaction was no, not particularly. But do you know what the world does need more of? Badass women excited about what they are doing. People expressing their creative outlet and passion through their set of work as opposed to pouring their entire being into a job that doesn't fulfill them until suddenly their life is over and they never actually tried what they wanted to.
The world needs more people doing what they have always dreamt of because at the end of the day don't we want a society full of people passionately bringing their set of work to life and sharing that with others?
When we strayed away from our initial intentions, it showed.
We've had various coaches, mentors, advisors over the years and many have been really, really helpful in walking through our growth with us. We had one time though that one recommended a product line that fit but really wasn't exciting to us. Like to be frank, we just didn't care. We went against our gut and put it out there. Guess what? Nothing sold. Nothing. For the first time in our history, something flopped.
It flopped because we went off the hip of what someone else told us. Nothing in that moment came from passion or from stemmed from any level of intention and it showed.
After that moment, we decided never again would we stray away from the way we knew how to start and scale anything within our business: By simply giving a shit.
We decided that even if something COULD make us a lot of money (though I don't think things do often when they don't come from passion) then it shouldn't mean we should go after it. I'd rather take a chance on making something because I care about it then to simply do what we think might please the market. I have found over and over again, that when we make and do something because we want to, we actually make more money off of it even if that wasn't the initial goal. Funny how that works.
If something doesn't have a point of intention, I just won't do it.
When we create our products, we only release a set of work that has a sense of purpose and passion or else we won't do it. Tanner can't create meaningful designs for us if it doesn't mean anything to him because he doesn't feel a sense of connection to it.
We will not release any bit of marketing or social post if it doesn't have a story behind it or fit as a piece to a larger story.
I will not release a Taylor Made blog if I don't feel a connection to what I'm talking about
I will not give the clients I coach any type of advice or guidance to tell them what they want to hear and will always do my best to give a why to an answer so that they know it came from intentional thought as opposed to a point of simply telling them something that would "guarantee more revenue or results"
Everything we do in business takes a lot of energy to bring to life-even the simple things. So why don't we take that energy and pour it into things in a way that feels right and is approached in the right way.
8 ways to approach things with intention in your own business:
Through the products you create
The way you market your products
The way you market yourself-Have genuine conversations with others about your process
The way you market your company and products
How you intentionally structure your time
How you have meaningful conversations with others
How you spend your hard earned money
How you approach the idea of growth
I've seen many people approach their business with intention and passion and many others not. Here's what I've observed:
Those that approached their company with intention:
-Create really spectacular products or offer really great services because at their core, they just freaking care
-Have a great story to tell because everything was created for a reason
-End up selling more and for longer because they are personally excited to keep creating and moving things along
-Have less burnout (you can still have burnout if you are passionate, be mindful of that) because they are able to be excited about every little moment
-They build community. When you are so damn proud about what you do, you care to share that with the world and find out more about what others do too. When you care to have the conversations, your community builds. What happens when your community builds? Your company grows in a really cool way
Those that haven't:
-The quality of the work they created was minimal because they didn't actually care about the product from the start or care about the product to keep improving with time
-After they released their first set of work, they failed to keep their audience engaged and excited. When you aren't passionately creating things, it's like pulling teeth to keep going to keep people engaged. What happened when customers don't stay engaged? You've lost them
-Often call it quits early on in the game because they either never planned for the hardships or decided they weren't passionate enough to keep going when things got hard
-The way in which they communicate with others about their brand is more sales focused to close a deal as opposed to selling and talking about their product because they actually care about it. It's all a numbers game but when the numbers game guides everything in a small business (tech and what not is a different animal I'm not touching), that shows and not in a good way.
-There's a lot more telling signs but that list could be long
Want to know what happened to the major outdoor brand Coleman when they didn't approach something with intention? It lead to a big fat legal battle with little ol' us. This is a deeper conversation that I will definitely talk about but essentially, I found out that some employee stole one of Tanner's pieces of work. We called them out for stealing and they got a huge hit to their reputation and were faced with a really big mess to clean up with us because they simply stole something of ours to sell for themselves. What would've happened if their intention was to hire small artists to contribute to their work? They would remain a respected brand in the industry.
Lack of intention will kill your business. You'll be amazed at what you can accomplish when you approach everything with intention and passion.
Not having it, will probably get you some success for a little while but I can almost guarantee that, if you are a small business then it won't be good for you long term.
I'll leave it with one final thought-do things because you give a damn.