- Ryan Choy
That Leap of Faith
It's harder than people describe, and a lot easier than people think. People look at what I do and think I sell bags. They ask if the dream is for it to be like LVMH or a major bag brand. They see a plain, simple leather bag - I see things differently, and positively; what I do, is more than that and I hope you guys can learn to feel and think the same way about yourselves.
It was sometime in the first half of 2017 when I met Joseph through some mutual friends - don't worry I'm not about to explain how Faire began. I know a lot has been said in press regarding what unfolded after that; we met, we hit it off, we had a decent idea which became a great one and the rest is history.
What people don't know is how long it took me to come to that decision and why it took me that long and that's what this is about. Taking that leap of faith when you're at a major crossroads. It doesn't really matter how old you are, or what the situation is. It doesn't have to be similar to mine, but you'll notice that no matter how different the situation is, the foundational elements are the same.
When you began your time here, you came alone. When you end your time here, you'll also leave alone; do something for yourself because you get one chance and the older you get, the faster time passes.
The reality is that it's always scary when you're entering the unknown. You start to wonder what if and go the extent of fearing things that may not happen. I was 24 when I started my first business. It was an online business that basically used T-shirts as a canvas for photographers and sketch artists to sell their art. We paid out a percentage of sales while trying to promote them not just for the sale of t-shirts, but also proper design or photographic work. The company was called "Hyphen" because we believed that we were the link to making meaning between two entities. It was my dream then to build more companies; a cafe called Comma, a magazine called Full Stop - you get the drill. It was a failure. I guess I could maybe try and say it was because of my age and inexperience, but the reality was that I made a few bad business decisions and got ahead of myself. I was eager to prove my doubters wrong and used that as the reason to charge ahead. After that really bad experience and having to shut it down, I told myself that perhaps I wasn't cut out for business and decided I wouldn't step in to that realm again.
But as we know, life always has other plans.
When Joseph and I held our first focus group, we had plenty of mixed reactions - comments like whether it was too niche, too expensive and if the concept worked out at all. The pains of before came rushing back and in any case, I pursued this as a passion project to help Joe out. At least that's what I told myself. I was just helping a friend. Joe had told me several times to take that leap of faith with him - that we had done something really cool and it was going to work out. All the hours we put in, sleepless nights, months and months of prototyping and planning, surely I wasn't going to just pass it over once it was all said and done? To be honest, a part of me was ready to. I had a day job that I was completely happy with over at Quandoo. My boss was a great guy, and my team was a decent one too. Sure I had my bad moments, but it was a stable job that gave me time for everything I wanted. There were opportunities for progression, I was basically comfortable and so there was no need to rock the boat. When we got funded 24 hours after Kickstarter launched, Joe turned to me and said this was proof of concept and we were ready to go and I had to join him. I knew he wasn't wrong and part of the reason why I'm doing what I do now is down to those words that night. But it was also owing to a much bigger reason, and a really simple one - the concept worked. It resonated with people.
All I had to do now was to take that leap of faith.
It boiled down to what my worries were and what I feared. I was at a stage where my career was progressing, I had just gotten promoted and was on track for an even bigger one an an even fatter paycheque. I had just gotten married, bought a humble home and had plans to start a family. If I did this, everything would have to take a few steps back - except that it didn't, and that's exactly what this article is about.
We don't and we won't know everything that could have happened. We only have the information we have at hand and the other element of what drives you. I didn't create Faire to prove anyone wrong or to use anything that any doubter ever said to me as strength. I created Faire because I genuinely believed we were solving a practical problem, and how many people can say they get a chance to make that sort of a difference? You might think we sell bags and you're right, we do but Faire is also a concept that sells clarity, function and practicality without sacrificing the aesthetics. I also worried myself (unnecessarily if I might add) about how I'd tell my boss that I wanted to resign having just got promoted, or how my team would react to a team lead leaving. I also had to ask myself if I wanted to throw it all away for something uncertain. I had battled real hard to get to where I was; been in agencies, business development, doing door to door sales before finally becoming the head of marketing - did I really want to just leave that stability behind? I'll never know what would have happened if I decided to stay but I don't think about it anymore because that reality doesn't exist. You only have the present:
if you had a choice to stick to doing something comfortable and stable vs doing something you were good at, and to add to that, something that the world somewhat resonated with, which would you go for?
It's important to negate risk because I'm of the belief that passion and success goes hand in hand. If you're truly passionate about what you do and you put in a 101% into it, success will find you in some form or the other. The possibilities are endless: The business fails but you meet someone that allows you venture into something else. The things you learn from the failure help you in your next endeavour. The business isn't what you thought it was but you manage to grow into something else or that through this journey you find someone you can spend the rest of your life with or you make some valuable friends or a million other things that could happen - for every negative possibility that you throw at me, I'd return with a positive possibility. Sometimes the odds aren't stacked against you, it's just that you're too obsessed stacking the odds instead of thinking what your advantages are. Positivity, breeds positivity. That, is what taking the leap of faith is all about.