Take it slow

Someone once told me “Don’t just double down on success but choose to invest in work AND relationship, and success will naturally come around the corner.”

This rang very true for me after 2 years of running Father's Daughter on limited resources and people. We had big dreams and plans, but little idea of how we were going to meet them. I have to be honest, the first year was like chipping old paint off wood; slow, up close and messy. My father had opened his pattern making  business in 2011, five years before starting Father's Daughter. The office needed major revamping, cleaning and sorting. I can still picture the paper receipts and invoices overflowing out of boxes, piled up in makeshift filing systems and labeled in handwritten scribbles.

With the dream as our guide, we hunkered down and started meticulously going through our books, which as a denim designer, was like exercising an unknown muscle. We reorganized the office and called the IRS, the FTC, and every other 3 letter authority that regulated business in LA- anyone who could help us get our business up and running. In the midst of the tedious task of reviving a business, there was the deep satisfaction that we were doing the work we are meant to do. With the possibility of failure on our backs, Father’s Daughter went full steam ahead.

After one year of business, I experienced what felt like running out of gas in LA gridlock. Looking back, this is pretty much the trajectory of every small business owner. Inspiration-planning-action, action, action.

Because reward for a startup business is delayed, we exchanged more work in the hope that it would result faster. We let go of the things that bring true rest- seeing friends and family, going to the movies, exercising... We were revving our engines and spinning our wheels, but going nowhere. It took a big step to begin to allow time for rest and for relationship.

Our saving grace always came in the form of people who banded around Father’s Daughter. It took a long time for me to realize, but I am thankful that you can’t do business alone. And why would I want to? It’s so much better with people. They are the gift that reminds us that no amount of solo effort can trump the joy of creating together.

 

Su Kim, The Daughter