Growing up in Australia, I was heavily influenced by what was happening in America. It seemed like a movie to me. Everything was bigger and better. The bright lights were like a beacon calling out to me. From a young age I knew it was where I wanted to be, and that never wavered through the years. I grew up on American movies, American sports and American music. Even before I visited, I was already moving there. I would tell people that that was what I was doing, moving to America, and they all thought it was pretty far-fetched. As time went on I started to lose hope, until one day working on a construction site I just said to myself, "That’s it. I’ve had enough of this." I booked a ticket that night and was going to give it 90 days to make it into a permanent stay. I arrived with 2 suit cases, about $1,000 to my name and a heavy intention to make things happen.
Sitting back in the comforts of Australia didn’t seem like where I wanted to be and how I wanted to live. America was always the land of opportunity. I'd rather be amongst the chaos than the quiet of the laid back Aussie lifestyle. Besides, I can always go back to that down the road, even if only for a visit. If I didn’t give it a crack, I would have regretted it for the rest of my life.
Coming here, I had to start from scratch. When I look back at it, although it was uncomfortable, it was truly that old saying that happiness lies in the journey, not the destination. I had just sparked a relationship from a long distance with my now wife and business partner, Jenny. We basically did everything backwards and took a chance on each other and our relationship. I got off the plane and we moved straight in together. Within 3 months we were married, and she left behind her promising career in casting movies and TV shows to work with me on the business. Fast forward and we have been married for almost ten years now, have 2 kids and have built a life together. If you know you know, so we didn’t waste any time.
We had to find manufacturers and suppliers and then also had to find a way to produce products with limited funds and get those items sold to be able to make more product and pay our rent. At the time it seemed an impossible task, and I still don’t know how we pulled through. But we did. I got a small loan from a friend of my wife’s to produce product, and I pre-sold clothes to friends and family to fund the production. I had started making leather jackets, and these were great but expensive to make and more of a niche market, so I decided to create a line of basics that would become our bread and butter. T-shirts, hoodies and sweats. This is where we started to really get going as a business. We found good retail partners and were selling on consignment. The products were selling in store, and things just snowballed from there. Another thing that was helpful was Instagram. We started promoting on Instagram and were able to build an audience.
It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure. But nothing worth doing isn’t going to have its challenges. If you just treat it as a game and play it that way, there is no challenge you cannot meet. Sure, it was scary, but living in my comfort zone and never venturing out was even scarier to me. I believed in myself and what I could do. I backed myself - I always have. Even when I played Rugby, I set my goals high. I wanted to be the best. I may not have had the ability to reach that, but I knew what I lacked in talent I made up for in hard work. That same approach put me in good stead to make it in America. I didn’t have a plan B that would only distract from plan A. Total intention to reach the peak.
10 years in and now an American citizen, I still feel like we have a long way to go to reach the peak, but I am still as energized as ever to get there. This American Dream is still being written…