Aaron Kay isn’t your typical entrepreneur. This former media high-flyer isn’t interested in market disruption, work-life balance or having a Plan B. Because he believes that when you get your light bulb moment, you’d better be ready to learn from failure, keep the endgame in sight and build your own legacy.
What follows is the full interview on how Co-founder and Creative Director of The Swank Store turned his desire to build his own legacy into reality.
Tell us about the ideas and innovation behind your business.
I was once working for a man and he was very inspirational and he said to me ideas and creative will always sell. My thought was to build something creative that we’re not selling to 1 person or 5 people but to 100 people at once.
Our business is not a disruptive business that’s not what it is, it’s only a retail store but the fact is that it’s a cheeky business. We’re not massive innovators or disruptors we’re just an online store at the end of the day
It’s the ideas that come to the back end of our business that creates a unique experience for our customers and makes our environment one that is pleasurable to shop in and that’s where our point of difference is in the marketplace for today.
Where the idea for your business come from? What was your job at the time? What prompted you to do something about it?
When we were hatching our idea for this, we realised there was a gap in the market. There was a high-end luxury resort wear brand in the marketplaces and there were some lower end products, but there wasn’t a middle play in the marketplace. The idea was to create a one-stop shop for a wide birth of products and to provide that to customers at a reasonable price at a high level of customer service.
I was working in telco consulting. The thought process was I want to be involved in a business and start something quite unique so that’s where I met Johnny, our business partner. We worked together to sell a unique style of product that we could sell at mass.
Within 4-5 weeks we were getting so many orders we couldn’t keep up with the orders from a part time standpoint. So both of us had to leave our jobs and focus on this full-time. That’s where the fun happened and that’s where we started to realise what our customers wanted, and we started building meaningful relationships with each of our customers. They started working as our advocates to spread the word for us.
Tell us about quitting your job. Was it hard?
There was a lightbulb moment there. I remember sitting in a meeting thinking to myself. I don’t want to be here. There’s something much better in the world for me. I felt that I wanted to build a legacy and that was really important for me and I couldn’t do that within the 4 walls that were confining me at my corporate role. After that meeting, I packed up my book. I walked out. I stepped to my desk and I sent them a letter – that was my resignation letter and I was gone.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone who has an idea but is afraid to do something about it?
The one bit of advice I give to someone starting up a new business is that you need to plan because if you fail to plan then you plan to fail. That’s really important. You’ve got to visualise what you want to achieve and where you want to go.
To see the rest of Aaron’ story, head to Shippit.com/Hustle.