When I first started thinking of Keep Real as a business, it was difficult to get my head around all these questions floating around. From the likes of what suppliers we should go with, what direction should we focus on, and how would we grow as a brand. But there was one thing that I envisioned my business incorporating initially which was a focus solely on inspiring wellness and promoting mental health. This is one of our main priorities, and as we set to produce the clothing however we got thinking…if we are to promote being well in ourselves, we have to look at the roots of the business by starting with the wellness of the clothes and the brand as a whole. This was my first welcomed challenge as the founder setting up Keep Real.
It’s no good promoting mental well-being as a business, if the business doesn’t have the foundations of trying to be the best version of itself either. So we expanded the definition of wellness to include our sustainable souring policy within our supply chain. Right now, we’re looking right now into suppliers here in the UK, and how best to utilize local Yorkshire suppliers too. No stone is left unturned, from looking at opportunities to use eco-friendly and biodegradable packaging, recycled paper and card for promotional content, and organic cotton for our shirts. What we are learning is there are many ways to contribute to the well-being of our customer and this includes taking care of their community.
Although so far Keep Real has not had too big of a risk, it is a personal risk to put yourself out there in the first place. Saying ‘Hey, this is my idea! I want to share it with the world!’ is quite a soul bearing statement to make. You will never know your customer’s reactions will be until you actually ask them. You have to be confident in yourself, and have a healthy relationship with yourself, making sure you cultivate wellness in the mind so it exudes onto anything that the mind is set on accomplishing. Following this, the constant work of being considerate and patient, not only with others you work with, but with yourself is so important when you are your own boss. It is hard to be your own boss, as it comes down to self-determination and self-love. There’s no one telling you what to do and how to do it, or when it’s time to stop apart from yourself. And listening to yourself all day can be a real pain! Setting up is a tough thing, and everyone will tell you it’s trial and error. It totally is, and it’s again, soul bearing. However what gets me through is, remembering why I am doing this which is my enduring commitment to sharing goodness for the mind in fashion.
Another challenge I have faced setting up Keep Real is, sadly, from a financial standpoint. Although I wouldn’t say it was a challenge, more of a reflection of the love you have for what you believe in. Of course setting up isn’t going to be profitable in the first year, or even the next. It’s about the passion you have to see your business for what it truly is. It’s an extension of yourself! An aim would be to practice peace of mind when dealing with the financial side of the sustainable business. It won’t be easy, but one always must try your best.
All challenges can be seen as learning curves, however when something is happening that you didn’t foresee as a problem- of course it’s going to be difficult to overcome! It comes with being kind to yourself. If, for example, a product you’d worked hard on goes into production- and you have spent a lot of time getting it right, but turns out to not be what you expected; you have to take that within your stride. Setting up is trial and error, and I am forever learning about my business even before the launch this year. You have to allow yourself to feel upset about these things, and be ready to work your way around the problem afterwards. After all, you’re a rad business owner! With this, comes a responsibility to yourself first and foremost. Prioritizing your mental wellness by not taking things so hard when challenges happen is the first step to taking care of your business.
About the Author
I am Kimberley, a mental health blogger and owner of the upcoming goods movement ‘Keep Real‘ based in Yorkshire, England. I also have a BSc (Hons) Degree in Counselling Therapy, with experience of mental health problems personally. Anxiety used to be quite a huge part of my life in my teenage years, you can find me discussing it onBBC Radio 4’s broadcast of All in the Mind, as well as in an article forRethink Mental Illness! From my passion to raise awareness of improving well-being, I have started my own business- and aim to spread a lil bit of happiness to all you beautiful souls!