Being perfect is not about that scoreboard out there. It's not about winning. It's about you and your relationship with yourself, your family and your friends. Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn't let them down because you told them the truth. And that truth is you did everything you could. There wasn't one more thing you could've done.

Coach Gary Gaines, Friday Night Lights



The life of creatives. The internet makes it so appealing doesn't it? They live in big cities, own their own stores, run their own lives. They're not bogged down with schedules, they make their own. They don't have to deal with bosses, they are their own boss. The internet has become the perfect medium for them to share the perfect amount of their day to make their lives seem to be just that...perfect.

How many videos has the internet produced following creatives and showing how much better their lives are than ours?







I am a creative (Translated: I like to think I am sometimes). Not a full time one. I sped my day's working a day job, and my nights trying to build a brand. I spend roughly 4 hours of my day trying to be a creative entreprenuer and those are most definitely the hardest hours of my day. Trying to find inspiration, connecting with my customers, trying to pack up orders. Trying to wrap my brain around the fact that Hypebeast won't post about my brand even though I feel as though they've posted about many less developed and worse brands. I wrestle with this for about 4 hours every day. I can only imagine what wrestling with these issues for 8 hours a day or more can be like. These things stress me out when I know that I can still be ok tomorrow because I have another job. If this was my only job, how much more stressed would I be? I fall into the trap of thinking that if I could just figure out a way that I could support myself solely off of my creativity, that would fix my life. Not only my day job woes, but my family woes as well, my, maybe I should have gotten my masters degree woes, my I missed the game winner in last nights pickup basketball game woes. I feel as though it will solve everything. Like, "Ah man if I can just solve that one piece, everything else will fall into place." Anything that comes my way in life I'll cast aside with ease because I know that that I became successful off of my creativity. Somehow that is the idea that these creatives, that these videos have left me with. I need to realize once and for all that if I become "Successful" at this. That the other stresses in my life will either remain the same, or grow.

There is one instance that I feel the stress of the industry is shown. In a video interview that has since been removed from the internet (I scoured the internet to find it again but it is gone, alas) Rick Klotz from Warriors of Radness is discussing The buyout of Warriors of Radness by American Apparel. In the video Rick who is known for his brutal, sometimes too brutal honesty says something to the effect of, "I'm not saying that I'm 'trying something new' like most designers say. The industry is hard." Which seems to shed a little light on the reason the deal went down is because financial reasons, and also that when designers stat another company to, "Try something new." It may be in place of saying that their other brand failed. It is understandable that the backing of a multi million dollar company like American Apparel could help a smaller brand like Warriors of Radness. So Rick, the owner and founder of the now defunct Freshjive. One of the original brands heralded for it's authenticity and stance against corporate America. Rick joins the fallen to assimilate and become part of the empire while Luke Han and the gang still battle for their rebel survival.

The piece that I am probably missing here is the art of "lifestyle branding." Every brand tries to market a lifestyle, whether successful or not brands are trying to push a certain way of living upon you. They are either portraying a lifestyle displaying how you are currently living, or how you want to live. The creatives behind these brands are a part of this marketing as well. How these designers portray themselves in interviews is an extension of their lifestyle marketing. They have to be living the lifestyle they are portraying of relaxed, carefree lifestyle filled with luxurious products. This is at least part of the reason that Ralph Lauren has the Double RL ranch in the middle of nowhere with influences from the old west. It is an extension of his brand, his vision. He will let us in on only the pieces of his life that extend his marketing. This is something that I myself understand. When anyone asks me if I am making money from this brand (Which they often do) I always say the same thing, "Yes" and I will always say yes. The reason is because I realize that my answer to this question is marketing. People want to support a brand that is making money and that brings joy to people. If I said to people that the brand was failing and times are tough people don't want to support that. They want their clothing to be a sign of prosperity, not a symbol of hardship.

It is for these reason that I believe that these brand owners and founders are not going to let you into their lives. Most of what you will see will be calculated, thought out, and only what they want you to see. You won't see the dirt and the grime, you won't see the sweat and the tears, you will only see the finished product, because it's all about that just that...product.

Website - http://www.vaughndeheart.com
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  • JoeBaronDesign

    Pretty good article. Most people in general will only show you what they want you to see. People will look like they're living and doing well and maybe they are, but that's what they want to show. The more interesting side is seeing the behind the scenes and seeing how hard it is. You can portray a certain lifestyle and try to market it, but if it's not authentic the public will see that and they won't back it.
  • Jupit

    these are promotional videos, not documentaries. what do you expect?
  • Donghan

    cool man! thanks for sharing!
  • Vaughn de Heart

    @joebarondesign thanks for your feedback. I feel like it can be really hard to see through things to know what is really going on for most brands. But then again I mostly only follow brands on the internet. It's probably much easier to hide on here than it is in real life.
  • Vaughn de Heart

    @jupit point taken. These are promotional videos. Can you find any non promotion interviews done by creatives/brand owners where they talk about the business? I would be really interested if you can find some. I would write a response for sure!
  • Vaughn de Heart

    @donghan postive feedback is always great! Thanks for reading.
  • mattcorrado

    You bring up a lot of topics that I find very interesting. You also seem to answer your own question/thought. It seems like you are well aware that with any sort of success or growth, new struggles and challenges will arise. Yet, you seem fixated on the idea that if your brand becomes "successful" everything else will fall in line. Would being on Hypebeast really make your brand a success?

    It sounds like you might need to take a step back and ask yourself what success really means to you. Is it that you want your brand to be the next stussy or the hundreds? If so, you are likely in for disappointment. I'm not saying it's because your brand is bad, but simply because the odds are highly against you in one of the hardest industries to be successful in.

    I'm lucky enough to be one of the people who has made a career out of being a creative. But I think part of having that hustler ambition and drive to become "successful" also comes with the side effects of never being satisfied. I have to constantly remind myself how lucky I am to do what I love on a daily basis and to check myself before wanting more or being jealous or envious of the next designer, brand, etc.

    It's def an interesting struggle. But don't let yourself get caught in the hype. I have found in my experience that the best thing you can do is keep focused on the small battles and build over time. Nothing happens overnight, especially in the creative industry. You have to hone your craft and put in work, and if you keep at it long enough you will achieve success. It just might not be the kind of success you originally planned on.
  • Vaughn de Heart

    @mattcorrado I am really loving your feedback. Yes in this article it does seem like I answer my own question. To be honest it kind of changes daily what I want out of this brand. Some days I am simply happy to have Vaughn de Heart and be able to be creating products and having the ability to put it out into the world. Other days (Usually after a bad day at my real job) I want to everything to make myself the next "big thing." No matter how unrealistic it seems because it would "save" me from my day to day struggles, when in reality it most likely won't.

    Hypebeast wouldn't make my brand a success. It's more like a milestone. Something I would like to tell my friends to make me cool, haha (but it actually wouldn't). It's on my mental checklist of things I want to do.

    What I am trying to explore is what the videos and interviews that these leaders partake in are doing to us who are on the outside looking in. It makes it seem like their life is so carefree. Or maybe I'm the only one crazy enough to get this impression.

    It is great to hear from you. Someone who is further along than myself. Possibly in a position where I would like to see myself one day. Having people chime in is great whether they think I'm way off, or have had similar thoughts.

    Maybe I just want a big giant hug from everyone at Mintees. That could be my real goal here.

    How did you "Make it" @mattcorrado? And is it what you expected?
  • Matt Borchert

    Don't expect success (financial or otherwise) to make life any more carefree. Success in itself adds a different level of stress as now the bar is raised on yourself for what you expect yourself to achieve. Many leaders give the impression of being carefree or under little stress because they're extremely charismatic. It's part of what makes them a good leader.

    Never chase a measured amount of success so to speak - just try to push the best products possible and push yourself to the limits of what you're capable of. Those who just want money or fame usually never get either as they focus on the wrong things (or the right things in the wrong order).
  • mattcorrado

    Matt Borchert said:Don't expect success (financial or otherwise) to make life any more carefree. Success in itself adds a different level of stress as now the bar is raised on yourself for what you expect yourself to achieve. Many leaders give the impression of being carefree or under little stress because they're extremely charismatic. It's part of what makes them a good leader.

    Never chase a measured amount of success so to speak - just try to push the best products possible and push yourself to the limits of what you're capable of. Those who just want money or fame usually never get either as they focus on the wrong things (or the right things in the wrong order).

    Totally agree with Matt and I think he adds nicely to what I was getting at. And I think that no matter what level you are at in your career or hobby or whatever, if you are truly passionate about something you should never really be satisfied. With each new accomplishment will come new challenges.

    It's easy to get caught up watching videos or reading about other people's success stories, but that's marketing at it's finest. Shit, even just a daily visit to facebook or instagram will show you how no one puts their real life on blast - they only show the good stuff. In that video you posted of Levi, he makes some great points. There are people who are authentic and then there are the rest who try to recreate that. There is no blueprint for success.
  • jonkruse

    I remember there was a brand on here I was doing a website for and they were talking about all the orders they were getting for the Christmas season. One guy commented how one day he hoped to have the same success.

    It was all bullshit, the guy had 3 orders for the week. People just like to sounds more successful then they are.

    Focusing on the negatives... how you aren't getting sales... on such and such blog... whatever it is isn't getting you anywhere. Comparing yourself to others isn't the way to go either.
  • kyleidoscope

    Vaughn de Heart said:@mattcorrado I am really loving your feedback. Yes in this article it does seem like I answer my own question. To be honest it kind of changes daily what I want out of this brand. Some days I am simply happy to have Vaughn de Heart and be able to be creating products and having the ability to put it out into the world. Other days (Usually after a bad day at my real job) I want to everything to make myself the next "big thing." No matter how unrealistic it seems because it would "save" me from my day to day struggles, when in reality it most likely won't.

    Hypebeast wouldn't make my brand a success. It's more like a milestone. Something I would like to tell my friends to make me cool, haha (but it actually wouldn't). It's on my mental checklist of things I want to do.

    What I am trying to explore is what the videos and interviews that these leaders partake in are doing to us who are on the outside looking in. It makes it seem like their life is so carefree. Or maybe I'm the only one crazy enough to get this impression.

    It is great to hear from you. Someone who is further along than myself. Possibly in a position where I would like to see myself one day. Having people chime in is great whether they think I'm way off, or have had similar thoughts.

    Maybe I just want a big giant hug from everyone at Mintees. That could be my real goal here.

    How did you "Make it" @mattcorrado? And is it what you expected?

    The people in these videos definitely aren't as carefree or don't do things as effortlessly as it appears. At the end of the day nobody, including themselves, is that interested in the reality of the matter. We all secretly want to imagine a perfect life is possible so we buy into the myth. That's not to say they aren't doing enviable things, but you will probably realise if you really think about it your life is enviable for different reasons.

    Success is just the story you tell yourself about what you've done and what you plan to do. You have a lot of control about how you tell that story to motivate yourself to move onto the next milestone you think is truly worthwhile. The guys in these videos sound so convincing because they believe they story they have made of their lives, they have linked the dots in their lives in such a way that it adds to their motivation to keep doing what they think is important.

    So take control of your own story and also be a bit humble about how much of life is handwork verus how much is just plain good luck.

    Anyway, that's how I manage to get by on those days I feel inadequate.
  • kyleidoscope

    mattcorrado said:
    Matt Borchert said:Don't expect success (financial or otherwise) to make life any more carefree. Success in itself adds a different level of stress as now the bar is raised on yourself for what you expect yourself to achieve. Many leaders give the impression of being carefree or under little stress because they're extremely charismatic. It's part of what makes them a good leader.

    Never chase a measured amount of success so to speak - just try to push the best products possible and push yourself to the limits of what you're capable of. Those who just want money or fame usually never get either as they focus on the wrong things (or the right things in the wrong order).

    Totally agree with Matt and I think he adds nicely to what I was getting at. And I think that no matter what level you are at in your career or hobby or whatever, if you are truly passionate about something you should never really be satisfied. With each new accomplishment will come new challenges.

    It's easy to get caught up watching videos or reading about other people's success stories, but that's marketing at it's finest. Shit, even just a daily visit to facebook or instagram will show you how no one puts their real life on blast - they only show the good stuff. In that video you posted of Levi, he makes some great points. There are people who are authentic and then there are the rest who try to recreate that. There is no blueprint for success.

    well said
  • Vaughn de Heart

    @matt borchert "Never chase a measured amount of success." Interesting. I feel like I am always chasing this mental checklist that I have. Sounds like I am going about it wrong.

    However it seems like in sales (We aren't exactly sales companies, we are clothing brands, but sales are important) they are always chasing a number target. I am think that may be where I am getting it from. In those industries it seems as though they always chase a number. A concrete measure of success.
  • Vaughn de Heart

    @mattcorrado Haha you do bring up a good point. No one shares their real life on the internet. Myself included. Facebook is the perfect example.
  • Vaughn de Heart

    @jonkruse I never thought about people just blatantly lying on the internet! I guess I am a bit naive to think that everyone on the internet would be telling the truth. It's probably a lot easier to bend the truth, or just make something up altogether.

    By the way I've been following www.howtostartaclothingcompany.com for years. You're like internet famous to me in the tshirt/startup brand world, and you're commenting on my post! Thanks for chiming in.
  • Vaughn de Heart

    @kyleidoscope Wow I have never thought about success stories in these terms. It is so true that you latch onto the parts you want to. You remember the good stuff. When I think back to college I think of all of the friends, sports, and fun times. I forget about all of the anxiety, studying for tests, and debt. And so it is with your success stories. You latch on to the good parts. I may need to write a reaction article to your comment!

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