Remix Editor-in-Chief, Amber sat down with ‘rock-n-roll designer’ Marc Moore. Founder and creative director of Stolen Girlfriends Club, we find out about his biggest career hurdles and what path he took to find success.
What has been the most challenging moment in your career so far? and how did you overcome it?
I think one of the most challenging times was when that ’new-brand hype' wore off and we started to become more established. It’s a hard transition for any brand or designer to go through this, and nobody really speaks about it or warns you about it. For context; when we started, we were the new kid on the block and everyone wanted a piece of us. The media were always featuring us, everyone wanted to wear us, all the stores wanted to stock us. There was nothing we could do wrong, like literally, nothing! We could have made a T-shirt with three sleeves on it back then, and people probably would have called it revolutionary! We served champagne in jam-jars because we couldn’t afford to hire actual champagne glasses, people thought we were re-inventing fashion culture! Getting that much positive attention inflates your ego big time. The trappings of being popular? It’s not sustainable. Fast forward to becoming more established four or five years later, the media don’t want to talk about you anymore unless you’re advertising with them - because they’re now heralding the other new brands that are coming up. All the supporters that wore your brand and championed your brand initially, are now pushing other newer brands that have that new brand sparkle. And the stores, they definitely don’t cut you as much slack with late deliveries or patchy sell-through. You have to work so much harder. We weren’t prepared for that change and it was tough to go through it at the time. Adapt or perish. We had to really focus on the business side quickly, fine-tuning our product mix to ensure we had enough of a commercial offering and could reach a slightly wider market to keep sales humming and to sustain the business long-term. It really humbled us and challenged us to dig deep, and to believe in what we were doing. It also taught us that there is room for everyone at the table, there’s room for new brands and established brands - everyone can eat. Now when I see new brands going through this early hype stage, I'm always interested to see if they can make it. Because it’s really, really hard.
Being so intertwined and so passionate about your work, do you find it hard to separate yourself from your brand?
I’m starting to find it easier now that I’m older and have had all these years and experience to develop the necessary perspective. In the beginning, for like, the first 10 years I really struggled to separate myself from the brand. The brand really was an extension of me. I’m sure it’s like this for most founders, right? On the one hand I was so connected to the brand, I felt like I was a parent and the brand was my baby, but because of this I always put the brand first every time. It’s only the last few years that I’ve learnt to really separate myself, and I feel that the business has really grown up now. We have a great team and efficient structure in place now, so I don’t have everything resting on my shoulders like the early days. We now have a team that can take this thing a lot further than I could ever take it myself. I don’t think it’s taking my foot off the gas, it’s more like I don’t have to spread myself over every single facet of the business anymore. I can actually focus my energy onto areas of the business where I am naturally better - like product and the creative side.