There’s nothing that gets my creative juices flowing and my determination peeking than reading other creative peoples’ stories. Whether that’s an indie maker just starting out on their journey or a powerhouse of a businessperson whose creative goals have surpassed themselves – it’s all thought provoking and inspiring stuff that makes you remember where you’ve come from and where you want to be.
So when I heard of Kinfolk’s latest book offering I was bursting to dive in and discover the collection of people they had curated and of course soak up the ever-enchanting photography that accompanies all that Kinfolk do. It is a chunky tome – 368 pages in fact – and I’ll admit I haven’t quite managed to get through it all yet – but split up into individual stories from over 40 entrepreneurs, it is easy to dip in and out and read snippets as and when.
There are passages and quotes that jumped out at me – such as the lyrics from a Talking Heads track that is significant to creative director Damir Doma – “Never for the money, always for love” – something which resonates deeply with me also. I left a relatively well paid job to pursue my passion for 91 Magazine, and yes, I’m much less well off financially, but I LOVE what I do, and the fulfilment from that is so much more important. Of course, if your passion can pay well then all the better, but it’s clear from the people within this book that their businesses began with a dream, and the drive to make something special grow from nothing.
Fashion designer Azéde Jean-Pierre comments “It’s not a brand unless you create desire. People must want to buy into it,” while graphic designer Pum Lefebure explains how starting out feels: “You have to create a vision of exactly what you want. Of course you don’t know how the hell you’re going to get there, but you dream. You figure it out.” Not only do we have to follow our dream and discover how to make it happen, but we also have to remember why we are doing it – who is it for? Will people want it? Will they part with their hard earned cash to have a slice of your dream?
Instinctively, I was drawn to the story of Kevin Ma – publisher of Hype Beast – a print magazine and digital platform based in Hong Kong. His beginnings similar to my own – starting a blog via Blogger, making small amounts of money alongside another job, but Kevin’s brand has exploded, now with 124 employees working for him. It’s an awe-inspiring publishing success story, yet Kevin comes across as incredibly humble and realistic, pointing out that his success is probably just down to ‘good timing’ – and that he hit the blogging world just before digital media became hugely saturated. Perhaps, but I get the feeling it’s mostly due to pure grit, determination and intense passion for what he does.
The Kinfolk Entrepreneur encompasses a wide range of people from designers and hoteliers to publishers and bakers to restauranteurs and retailers – sharing stories, advice, and more than anything – a love for what they create. I’ve never been one to read classic business books – they don’t tend to induce excitement or enthusiasm – but Kinfolk has created something in this book that not only provides practical advice, but that provokes you to dream big, take that leap and find true meaning in work.
The Kinfolk Entrepreneur by Nathan Williams (Artisan Books) publishes in the UK on the 17th October, retailing for £28.