“Uncertainty and Expectation are the joys of life. Security is a insipid thing.”
William Cowper (English poet. 1731-1800)
The Art of Lax™ is officially a global business as of February 2011 partnering with Northern Soul Sportswear Ltd., as the exclusive retailer in the United Kingdom and the European Union. Developing such working-relationships TAKE TIME. Looking back at the road in creating a global-working relationship, all I can say is it was very UNPREDICTABLE – especially the starting line.
“We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.” John Hope Franklin (Historian. Professor. Author, ‘From Slavery to Freedom’. 1915-2009)
After developing a good base through social networks (Facebook & Twitter) and meeting at the 2010 U.S. Lacrosse Convention in Baltimore, I pitched the Fit 2 Win Sportswear company (based in the area) an idea to collaborate on a creative idea. I told them that the next time I was heading down to Baltimore was for the 2010 Men’s Final Four of Lacrosse and Walter Pennington, who heads Fit 2 Win’s marketing, graciously agreed to make time to meet.
It was Memorial Day 2010 and a sweltering 90+ degrees. I brought with me a dossier of printed examples of my best selling piece “Crank” on paper as well as on two, cotton t-shirts to their headquarters, not too far from the venue of the Final Four – M&T Bank Stadium. Walter takes me around the facility, showing me the boxes, stacks and shelves filled with the great amount of product that makes up Fit 2 Win Sportswear. It’s a “gym-rats” dream come true! Unbeknownst to me, I find two representatives for Team Wales, Jason Perrin and Mike Black, who are in discussion with the Welsh National Lacrosse Team being outfitted by Fit 2 Win for the upcoming 2010 ILF World Games of Lacrosse in Manchester, England. Walter makes the introduction and we trade off our lacrosse backgrounds, among other things. He also includes me as the artist behind The Art of Lax™ and the direct response comes from Mike Black’s voice,
“Oh yeah, I’ve seen and read about the work.”
Hearing that response reinforces the positive of “knowing you’re doing something right”. We stand overlooking boxes of Fit 2 Win’s brilliant collection of National-themed shirts for the World Games and Walter is very generous to let me choose one. With my Fit 2 Win United States Lacrosse shirt in hand, Walter and I come to the table, trading off our ideas and forecasts between Fit 2 Win and The Art of Lax™. The meeting is a good one and I leave behind one of two “Crank” t-shirts with Walter along with the printed examples in a binder for a future meeting.
“You MISS 100% of the shots you NEVER take.” – Wayne Gretzky
Jason Perrin and I are left sitting on an office couch waiting for Walter to finish things up before we make our way to M&T Bank Stadium. We discuss the lacrosse industry in the United States and overseas and dissect our views and opinions as players and business professionals. For some reason our topic turns to possibly getting The Art of Lax™ exhibited and sold at the 2010 ILF World Games of Lacrosse through a company spearheaded by his father, Clive Perrin, called Northern Soul Sportswear Ltd. based in the United Kingdom. I knew that this was a personal goal at some point for The Art of Lax™ and if this was the road getting the artwork into the World Games of Lacrosse, I HAD to explore it. As we were “clock-watching” to make the championship game between Notre Dame and Duke, Jason and I exchange final ideas for immediate action steps to take once we return to our respective home locations. On a torn piece of paper, he writes and hands me his email address. In return, I give him the last remaining “Crank” t-shirt to take back “across the pond”.
“Carpe Diem” Horace – Qunitus Horatius Flaccus (Roman philosopher, 65 BC – 8 BC)
On June 1, 2010, I received an email from Jason’s father, Clive (the owner of Northern Soul) mentioning Jason “…wearing one of your tees today”. He concluded with Northern Soul Sportswear being very interested in “…trailing some of your art and apparel here in the UK and EU.” Upon receipt of the exciting news, I stepped out of my office in midtown-Manhattan and “circled” the Empire State Building a few times with a proud feeling of accomplishment and wonder what responsibilities were to come. The great people you meet from the sport of lacrosse always amaze me, and when they understand your vision it makes you want to do more. I look forward to the possibilities with Walter, Jason and Clive and their respective brands.
I’m not a fan of the words “luck” or “got lucky” but I think another Roman philosopher once said,
“Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” Seneca (54 BC – 39 AD)