Come the summer of 2015 I'd been working for Canon UK for almost a year, I was working 9-5 Mon-Fri and had a bar job in the evenings and weekends. I'd managed to save a little money doing this and wanted to start my own business; doing what exactly I didn't know but I knew I wanted to be able to run it remotely. I'd had this ideal in mind for years of being able to support myself from anywhere, working from a laptop. I quit my bar job and invested in a heat press - I was going to try and make bespoke weightlifting belts. This didn't go to plan; I melted half of a belt to the press on my first attempt and ended up selling it as damaged goods on eBay for less than half what I had paid little over a week before...
While I had this press though I'd been trying my hand at t-shirt printing, out of curiosity more than anything. It's a lot harder than it looks and I never came close to mastering it. I did however manage to print the words 'Ascendancy Apparel' onto one tee. I'd had this name in my head for while and had often talked about starting a clothing brand but always considered it too big a task. Ironically having now successfully launched AA, I've realised it's an even bigger task than I originally thought. What got me to look past the immeasurable scale of it though was an Earl Nightingale quote - 'the time will pass anyway so you might as well give it a go'. I'll talk more about my change in mindset in a future post but for now I'll continue with the story...
So, I decided to give Ascendancy Apparel a crack and see what happened, I thought if nothing else it would probably look good on my CV to say I'd given it a shot. I've always had huge enthusiasm for the outdoors, adventure and The Lake District so the natural decision for me was to create a brand that drew inspiration from these passions. I wanted to try and create products that looked good and could be worn anywhere but not technical items; lifestyle wear that could be worn at any time - and still be adventure inspired. Around this I wanted to try and build a community of people who love the outdoors and encourage new people to get outside more often.
I'll explain in detail how I got started building Ascendancy; website, social media, products etc. further down the line. If this is something that interests you then follow me on Instagram or subscribe below and I'll let you know when I post.
From deciding to start to actually launching took about a month and another month until the first product went on sale, the No Mountain Too High Tee. I was working upwards of 100 hours a week (including my full-time job) at some points early on and growth was very slow - it wasn't until December (AA launched in July) that the brand started to gain any real traction. Since then things have progressed at a much faster rate, to the point where there are almost 20,000 followers on the Ascendancy Apparel Instagram account and approaching 100 people now aiding the brand in some capacity.
Just over a year after launch I have taken the decision to go full-time, and also to travel. I'll be running things remotely as I move from country to country. I'm by no means rich but I have been able to achieve my goal of earning a remote income to the point where I can now travel indefinitely and don't have to go back to work on Monday morning.
Although ongoing, the hard work has paid off so far and the wait is finally over - this for me, is Dream Livin.
With this blog I want to help and inspire others to achieve the same; to find what it is that you truly want to do and to make it happen. I'll provide information about all the above and more, while sharing my experiences of travel & adventure from around the world.
I'm now asked on an almost daily basis about how I got here, how I got things started, how I got them moving forward, how much things cost, how much times things take etc. and I hope this blog will answer all of those questions and more as it develops. I will also be launching a new brand in a fortnights time meaning you can join me on that journey as I grow it from scratch, using the experience I have gained to date from Ascendancy Apparel.