I want to share something with you that I posted back at the start of June on my own Instagram account. I’m super excited to be writing this blog post, as it marks a monumental benchmark in Twenty Pegs’s life. A coming of age story, in many ways. There’s an almost serendipitous irony, in fact, that I’m sat here writing this on the last day of term for schools here in the UK. Today we step out of the shadows and into the summer sun. This is where the fun starts.
In the 90s there was a film called Field Of Dreams (great film, by the way), in which the main strapline, as it were, was "If you build it, they will come." After my first year running Twenty Pegs I came to the conclusion that that mantra is not strictly true in reality. Starting a business is tough, and starting a business in one of the most saturated and competitive markets known to man is really hard. You invest so much of yourself in it that it naturally becomes an extension of you personally, not just a business anymore. It's easy to want to crawl back into your shell, because you feel like the lack of success of your brand is a reflection on the world's opinion on you. And so I did. I crawled into my shell, only occasionally poking my head out.
A bit of time away though brings things back into perspective, and you are able to divorce yourself from your business again. It is only then that you can really look to grow. My passion for Twenty Pegs has never faltered, only my confidence. And now, with a dedicated team to work with me in its development, we (not I) are going to make it everything we want it to be. Aspirations of success, not in a fame and fortune way, but in a love and pride way.
"If you build it, they will come" is still my mantra, but I no longer (naively, to be fair) look at it as a literal thing, but as a psychological thing. I understand now that our product is secondary, irrelevant even, but our passion and our reason why is where our foundation should be, and will remain. Exciting times ahead.
In the beginning, I was so keen to be a streetwear brand. I aspired to sit next to brands that I loved and looked up to - brands like The Hundreds, Johnny Cupcakes and Abandon Ship. But after a couple of years at the helm, I took a step back and realised that I was focussing too much on being like those brands, when actually what I loved and respected about them is that they purely focussed on just being themselves. It’s funny, as a person I’ve never been one to try and be someone I’m not, and I loath the pretence, but here I was running my business in such a contrary way. Something had to change. And so I took a gamble, and immersed myself and the brand in an endeavour that was entirely true to myself and what I believed in – the Big Movember Monopoly Takeover. Over 100 people contributed to this huge 30/30/30 (30 creations, in 30 locations, in 30 days) challenge, and it was the most humbling experience of my life. That project started a chain reaction in my own approach to art, and everything I do, and has really helped solidify what direction this business should be going in. More importantly, what I really wanted this business to represent and stand for.
The first thing I knew was that I couldn't do it alone. It would be hypocritical, in fact, to even attempt to do so. It is, therefore, my great pleasure to introduce you to my new partners: Tim and Saara, without whom none of this would be possible. Saara and I worked together here in London years ago and have remained firm friends ever since. Hailing from Finland, she brings a delightful Nordic touch to our brand, and will introduce some intelligence and structure to our marketing and voice. Completing our trio is Tim. He's the sensible one. A family man, with a strategic brain. His diligence ensures that we function as a business, so we can afford to keep working on this brand that we love.
Why is Tim wearing a big smiley emoji? Well, he's a little bit internet shy, so for the time being he's going to be our Stig, so to speak. Let's all try and make him feel comfortable and maybe we can coax him out of his shell.
So, we have our new team, next is to redefine what we plan on doing together. What is Twenty Pegs's future? With pride, please allow me to present our revised mission statement:
We believe that the best and most exciting things happen when people work together. Creatively, we push and explore that belief through design and business processes that leave no room for ego, and are progressive, open and inclusive. Ultimately, we’re all about funtential*. Ostensibly, we’re a clothing brand, but our journey will often allow us to be more.
* If you haven’t read One Red Paperclip, I urge you to read it. It’s my favourite book. Funtential = the potential for fun.
“It’s about the journey and experiences, and above all else, it’s about meeting people along the way”
- One Red Paperclip, Kyle Macdonald
“The worst thing that could happen could be that every couple of years we’d get to spend some time together and have a lot of fun. It was just a no-brainer.”
- Simon Pegg, reflecting on his discussions with JJ Abrams on the new Star Trek franchise
I’m very proud of everything that Twenty Pegs has done since I started back in Morzine in 2015. The artists that I have had the privilege of working with, and the people I have met along the way have been a true blessing. Customers have become friends, and friends have become business partners. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for supporting the brand so far, it means a great deal to me.
We’re drawing a line in the sand, and we’d like to invite you to cross it with us. Let’s see where we can take Twenty Pegs, together.