Despite being sacked, I went to the office anyway. The office was actually the living room of a flat. I’d kindly been given a key so I could come and go as I pleased. I even had a towel there for when I cycled to work and a pair of slippers because I’m secretly 86.
I don't think I'll ever have a beard like that, even in old age.
The building itself was a former mill, typical in this part of the country. Many had been repurposed into flats or offices but retained the high ceilings, thick beams, girders and exposed brickwork that made them character properties and therefore, more expensive. It was much nicer than my flat which I paying a lot more for. But I had a balcony.
And a rug...
It’s safe to say, I abused the kettle a lot. I still do but once a cup of tea is gone, another is the only solution.
I made myself and my former colleague a cup of tea. He sat across the whale of a conference table we had invested in and pushed a piece of card in front of me.
On the card were samples of what looked like leather but embossed or something. Patterned at least.
“What’s this?” I asked
“This…is what we do next.” He said
Being cryptic aside, I was told of the properties of the material in front of me. I’d never heard of the like. And the next bit seemed crazy but that’s come to typify most days at the office now.
“Wallets. Minimalist wallets”
Right. Wallets. Sure.
I’ve had plenty of wallets and I suppose therein lies a problem. I’ve had plenty of wallets, not just a few. I remember my dad having a wallet that was given to him by my mum’s parents when I was born or maybe very young. He still had it in my mid to late teens. Everything I had had was either a canvas billfold with a zip pocket for change, emblazoned with an Adidas logo or Manchester United emblem. At some point I got myself a leather billfold but it predictably fell apart despite entrusting the merchant with £10 for it.
The biggest problem was money. We had none. There were credit cards but they need paying off eventually. Not much choice other than to use them.
We’d dabbled previously in the first company and that was a fair failure. It signalled a death knell for the company. This time, we had no-one to answer to and nothing to lose.
We set the target at £1,000. We didn’t want to take the piss and perhaps naively we set a low target so that rejection wouldn’t sting so much. We cobbled together a campaign in three weeks time and launched near the end of the month.
Turns out that rejection wasn’t on the cards.
£1,000 became £27,000 in just a month. We were suddenly rich and validated as a business. Over 600 people had backed us from around the world. We had people emailing to have our product in their store or on their site. We had a potentially huge order with a big American firm and shops lining up to take us on. This was it.
Except it wasn’t. Not quite.
This article is also featured on Medium here: September 1st, 2014