When I started Always Wear Red I spent over a year researching. I’m still researching of course. But in the early months it was pretty intense.

This is not like me. I am more right brain than left. I live in the world of the possible rather than the world of the probable. I don’t like research.

However on this occasion, with a lot at stake, I researched intensely. My sense of adventure was as honed as ever but I wanted a degree of surety. I wanted to learn from those that had gone before me.

Two small quotes from two big names stick in my memory.

One from Paul Smith, that made me feel a bit sick.
One from Tom Ford, that made me feel a bit scared.

Both quotes started with an absolute – ‘no one’.

Paul Smith

Paul Smith is one of the most successful British fashion designers ever. He has a personal net worth of around £350 million. His business remains privately owned.

When I was researching Paul, I had just closed two multi-award winning creative businesses and I was buoyed by new possibilities. I was confident. I thought that if I can do it ‘there’ I can do it ‘here’ too.

Then I came across something that Paul Smith says quite a lot:

No one cares how good you used to be.

That was a bit of a shocker. Paul was talking about how he stays consistent and focused in a world that craves innovation and excellence constantly.

“Hmm,” I thought. “I’d better get ever better”.

Tom Ford

Tom Ford was Creative Director at Gucci and YSL before setting up his own label. Tom is now worth $300 million. I am about to quote him but can’t find where I first read this.

No matter.

Even if I imagined it it’s still useful:

No one ‘needs’ anything that we have ever created.

Explaining why something is better is a waste of time. Why someone ‘needs’ it. This is trying to prove how you fulfil a need better than the next woman or man. In the world of luxury clothing this doesn’t work.

No one gives a shit about ‘better’.

Tom Ford knows that and so do I. I am determined to change how a man feels about himself and the way he sees his world when he chooses to wear the AWR collections. I create confidence for them; in them.

I sometimes spend too much time over-explaining why we are a better product (we are). When I should be talking about the fact that AWR things make you a better you.

That, after all, is our purpose.

Paul and Tom

So, Paul reminded me that it is important to never rest on your laurels. And Tom taught me that your brand has to be valued and really loved, not just known.

Maybe there’s something for you there too?

Paul Smith Video (available at the 50odd.co.uk website):

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