Failure is a much better teacher than success.
The past few weeks I’ve been cleaning up the work studio, as well as cleaning up junk around the house. Aside from scraps of torn paper and other art/work materials, I found a fairly big, dusty, plastic bin full of old lacrosse shirts. Right away, I remembered that these were awfully screened (more like damaged) shirts from a past relationship with a former apparel company, which failed. A lot of them were still sealed in their plastic poly bags. They were going to be thrown out, but before that I took a trip down memory lane.
The first mistake (being the biggest mistake, that I did) back then, was commit to an exclusive, multi-year relationship. Exclusivity without an out-clause. The company’s approach to marketing was very archaic and outdated. I’ll never forget in a sit down meeting, going over sales numbers on the 3rd quarter, in the 1st year, of a 3 year exclusive relationship, that this was not the company to boost my business. Not showing any emotion on my face and being silent, I took a mental note and decided, that this relationship was over. Done!
The hunt was on. The hunt for something, anything that was different but more positive! My eyes and ears we constantly on the lookout. Later that year, I’m riding the NYC subway observing people sitting across from me, with their heads down, moving their fingers, none of them reading books or newspapers. And there was the product that nobody in the lacrosse industry was doing.
Lessons and values.
I believe that any marketing, or article posting from The Art of Lax, needs to have value in them. Not just be another “noise-maker”.
So, what’s the value, or lesson, here? Look, getting into a setback just plain sucks. It happens, and it will keep on happening. But, if we didn’t have those setbacks, we wouldn’t be given the opportunity to re-invent ourselves.
As for those horrible and damaged shirts, we donated them to Good Will. They may not hold any specific value to us as a business, but we hope it gives true value to somebody in need.
We also did a closet purge and found the first pair of lacrosse shorts, done by Abercrombie & Fitch in 1997. Those, too, went to Good Will.