Growing a business is no walk in the park. It's a gritty, raw, and often at times, stressful journey where success is never guaranteed. Toby, the founder of BRAVERY, knows this all too well.
What started as a modest online surf, moto, and skate apparel business is now evolving into a brick-and-mortar establishment. This blog delves into the unfiltered account of Toby's journey. A journey filled with setbacks, rebellion, and an undying drive for his brand and message. His story relates to the harsh reality that business is a beast.
So, let's dive into the depths of Toby's entrepreneurial odyssey. Where he doesn't only survive but thrives. Embracing every challenge life throws his way.
Toby began BRAVERY HQ as a seed of an idea. But it didn't take long for him to realise he couldn't run it from home if he wanted it to evolve. The need for space, both for stock and a more expansive vision, became evident. Working from home was tough! And his aspiration to grow the business required a physical presence.
It all began with a few boxes in a spare room. After some time to get to grips with the way the business worked and how he was going to scale it, he soon realised that it was time for a bigger space. From then on he was on the lookout for the perfect space for the right price.
When he stumbled upon a building online, he decided to book a viewing. As soon as he entered it all seemed to click. The potential there was huge. In his mind, this space transformed from a retail store into something so much more. He saw where the coffee shop could go. He envisioned the racks full of surfboards and the apparel all laid out so people could come in and take a look. He knew that the upstairs space would become Bravery HQ offices. It turned from a blank space into a hub, a place for people to 'experience' the brand in a unique way.
"After starting this business from home and realising, if I wanted to scale up, I needed to think bigger! I knew that having a space dedicated to Bravery would take the idea up a notch. There's nothing like this in the area. The idea is to redefine the customer journey when shopping. High-street retail is disappearing rapidly. I don’t want this to be just another apparel brand. I aim to create an unforgettable experience for my customers. With that, a place where they can immerse themselves in the message of Bravery.”
Setbacks in life are a given. Toby understands this better than most. The shock of a setback can be overwhelming, but he has learned to handle life's curveballs. They might vary in their impact, but ultimately, it's about your reaction to them.
Drawing from his own experience, Toby emphasises grounding himself in reality when things get stressful.
“Setbacks aren't personal attacks but part of the human experience. Everyone faces them in some way or another. The key is to confront them, adapt, and respond practically. Building this business has been stressful. Like any other business, it has had setbacks and obstacles to overcome. But I have learned that stepping away from the problem and giving myself space has helped. If ever I need an escape, I switch on a surf movie and chill.”
Anyone who has been in this boat will tell you, that growing a business is no easy task. Every aspect of the business has to be thought out and planned before you even think about anything else.
When we asked Toby what starting Bravery was like, and what kind of challenges he faced he answered without hesitation. His honesty shined through when he discussed the unique challenges of starting a business from scratch. He emphasised the importance of having the right team around him.
"A good scrum of 'your' people around you who are knowledgeable in their expertise, is priceless. Business is never made on your own. Self-made is bullshit. Because you will always need a team around you for support in so many different ways. This then becomes a whole new ball game. Because if you have the wrong people around you it can be detrimental to your progress. Finding the right people to support you in the ways you need can be difficult.”
Toby admits that managing people and keeping the balance is a rollercoaster ride in itself. But despite the challenges, he finds the experience enjoyable.
“Ultimately, building Bravery from the ground up has given me a purpose. A reason to get out of bed in the morning. Yes, it has been stressful but with every obstacle has come growth for both the business and myself. I have always been pushed forward by the thrill of success and it drives me to complete what I have set out to do. I have always been motivated in everything I put my mind to.”
His life has always been about giving everything he's got, and this entrepreneurial journey is no different. Setbacks or not, Toby has a willingness and tenacious attitude to confront life's challenges head-on, which is the foundation of Bravery.
BRAVERY HQ isn't just a business; it's a testament to the rawness that can turn dreams into reality, no matter the obstacles in the way. It takes a certain kind of person to put their middle finger up at life's challenges and carry on regardless of the stress and pressure that is inevitable.
Don't forget to take a look at our website here - www.bravery.co.uk