two yearTwo years ago Article opened it’s doors with a singular focus – to empower manhood.  We hoped that when men left our store, they felt a little better than when they stepped in.  Not necessarily because they just bought their new favorite pair of jeans, boots, or wallet – but because they experienced a camaraderie rooted in values that didn’t exist elsewhere for the modern man.

Article has had it’s fair share of successes and failings, but as it is with any new endeavor, we’ve learned a lot.  It’s been fun seeing what Article has become, and I can’t wait to see where our path leads.  I’d like to share 9 things that I wish someone would’ve told me two years ago (or more appropriately, things I wish I would’ve actually listened to).

The time is now.

If you’ve got big ideas, there’s no better time to act than right now.  You can spend your entire life planning, but the truth is, you’re never going to feel 100% comfortable with taking a bold step. So go for it.  If you don’t, someone else will.

Chase all the dreams.

We only live one life, but we don’t have to focus on only one piece of it.  Be multi-disciplined.  Have varied interests.  Look for lots of opportunities – not just one.  The more you’re involved in, the more you’ll learn.  Your perspective on the world will change, and you’ll be better for it.

There will be Haters.

There are always a few hecklers in the crowd.  Just remember that it’s only a reflection of their own personal insecurity rather than a referendum on how the rest of the world sees you.  Don’t let their fear and discontent become yours too.

You need help.

Never, ever take your team for granted.  You’ve got to have good mentors, family, employees, friends, and supporters in your corner.  Celebrate when you’re up, and lift each other when one is down.  The self-made man is a myth.  He had a group of people in his corner that believed in him.  Honesty and loyalty is uncommon.  If you find it – hold on to it with your life.

Dogs increase your likability by 82%

Have your social media posts not gotten as many likes lately?  Try a picture of a dog.  Works every time.  We joke about it, but seriously, who doesn’t love dogs? Do this right now: Think of a person you know that doesn’t love dogs.  I bet they’re a miserable, unhappy person.  In addition, never trust a cat person.

Good music is key.

Theres no better way to get the vibes right.  When our shop has the right playlist going, our customers feel good, we feel good, the inspiration is right, and there’s no better place to be.  If something doesn’t feel right, change the song.

Not all Made in USA stuff is the same quality.

We try to source as much made in USA product as we can, but we’ve noticed that it’s not all made to last.  We’ve changed our thinking on products made abroad.  The spirit of humanity and craftsmanship can be found many places across the globe – not just in our own backyard.  Our focus is on quality.  We’ll always choose the US-made product first, but if it’s not up to our standards then we’ll find the one that is.  If we’re super inspired by something happening elsewhere, we’d be cutting our customers short by not bringing it to Article.

Don’t stick your head in the sand.

This is true in both life and in business. If things aren’t going right, then change your approach.  You can be certain that if you continue doing what you’ve always done, you’ll get the same results.  One day you’ll look up and it will be too late to turn back.  Take action now and get it right as you grow.  Don’t forget to take a step outside yourself now and then to get a pulse on whats going on around you.  Pay attention to your environment and make sure that you’re still relevant.

What you’re doing is important.

Whatever charge you’ve taken up, it’s up to you to make the most of it.  You have the opportunity to improve your community, family, and career.  If you truly have the desire to make an impact on the world, you’re already ahead of most other people. Be prepared, however, to keep pushing through the face of adversity.  This is your unique inspired moment – not someone else’s.  Whatever comes of it will speak about your character.  So go forth – confidently, boldly – and change the world.

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Crew on hand for our All-Star Game event with Mitchell Bat Co, Filson, and Durham Brand