2 minute read.
Anyone who builds a brand should continually ask themselves why. Not only why should we exist and what value do we give, but are those reasons strong enough to intentionally add more things to the planet. More imagery in people’s social feeds. More products. Emails. Challenges. Doubts. Setbacks. Waste. The endless list of what it takes to build a company.
I went on a run today - around Regents Park and down an empty Oxford Circus. I asked myself this question with one rule - no marketing, wanky, jargon-filled articulation allowed. Simply speaking, why are you doing this?
The collection of thoughts that followed can be summarised in two chapters:
1. For me I viscerally connect with sport, design and self development. Whenever I’m surrounded by one of those things, I actually feel like I belong. Like most of us I’m a victim of my unquestioned thoughts but the reset I feel from movement, aesthetics and the connection with others, is my secret sauce to handling that part of the human condition. après is a physical manifestation of these values and by building the brand, it allows me to keep exploring and be surrounded by the parts of the world that give me joy and understanding. I undoubtedly believe that will make me a better, more thoughtful and kind person to the loved ones around me.
2. For others A brand is not going to change your life over night. It won’t offer a quick fix. And it certainly won’t solve those thoughts you have late at night. But brands do have a responsibility to support, guide and inspire. The higher reason I want après to exist, with an infrastructure and business model strong enough to keep it beating, is to encourage other people to have experiences that make their life that little bit better. Of course the vision is more granular than that - define a culture, increase women doing every day movement and enhance after sport with functional product - but keep digging, and at the core of everything, is to make someone’s day that little bit easier and more enjoyable.
Running a business is tough.
Being a person, a vessel full of emotions, is tough.
And I don’t seem to fully understand either.
My factories and supply chain aren’t perfect. I struggle with finding the sweet spot between working hard and burning out. Or being drunk on momentum and then having the hangover of losing it. And I’m constantly battling with what to prioritise hour by hour. But building this brand is the path I’ve chosen to navigate the wealth of experiences and emotions life offers.
As I run through the park, passing people on their own jogs, walks or bike rides. Hearing conversations or heating discussions. Surrounded by people who are living in their own mind but on a shared planet. I find myself answering the original question with a simple statement:
après exists to make life that little bit better.
To those who are choosing to spend their precious energy on engaging with après, thank you and I hope, no matter how small, I manage to achieve that.