I recently watch this Interview of Ray Mate of Mighty Healthy
from The Hundreds
. I felt like there was a lot of honesty in this interview. Yeah it sounds cool to have a brand, release product, have fans, get into boutiques but when other lives are dependent on the success of the brand, I feel like the game changes.
In the interview Ray says, "Some of the misconceptions of owning and operating a brand is that you don't work, you just chill." I feel like this is a common delusion about the world of branding. Most videos of brand owners don't show or talk about the struggles daily. He talks about putting out fires. I have experienced this, mostly with my website. Sometimes I'll just be browsing my site and realize something is awry and I Have to drop everything else I was going to do to fix it. It just happens. It is very understandable how when you add more and more pieces to your business, it can be. If you have a store front, a warehouse, dozens of store accounts you are just increasing the amount of places a fire can arise. Introducing new links where the chain can be broken.
The most telling part of the interview is when he talks about the decision he made right before his son was born. He was trying to decide if he should leave his company behind to work for another more established company. This is where the rubber meets the road. This is when you have to put away your cool guy ambitions and think about the lives that are depending on your success. The dreams of internet fame, and obscure Japanese blog write ups start to fade behind these realities. For Ray it worked out by going straight for Mighty Healthy. If you would have asked me a couple years ago what I would have thought if Ray had gone the more stable route to work for someone else instead of continue his brand I would have said that Ray failed. Today I would say that Ray made a choice. To me things were very black and white in this business. Either make your brand a success and live off of it, or know that you were a failure. I don't think that way anymore. There are choices to be made in this life. Sometimes a brand can just be a stepping stone to something else. Hugh Prather said, “To live for results would be to sentence myself to continuous frustration. My only sure reward is in my actions and not from them.” Sometimes you have to find reward in that you are doing something, not necessarily how that something it is doing. I have to be ok that my brand might just be a transition to to something else.