If you haven't already, check out my new footwear brand Onto at Ontonyc.com. Above: The talented Samuel Farrier took both photos during our trip to China. One in the sample factory and the below in our outsole factory. The first photo is of a woman carefully marking the upper leather pattern of a pair of 'Tilden" shoes. It's pretty cool to feel my footwear journey coming full circle, from the moment I started learning to make my own patterns ( years ago ), to now having a dedicated platform to be able to share my work with a bigger audience. I think the story sharing vibe is going to be a big element, feels like I'm constantly trying to figure out my own voice in the process. I guess that's the whole point of having a brand lol. Starting a company is a bit like having a kid I think. Cliche I know but in a way where the process is always so obscured, almost taboo, so the concepts on their own always sounds kind of "ideal" or "having it all" to some people, but people never tell you about the leaky vaginal wounds, stitches, pelvic dislocations from endless hours of child bearing, or having a nurse have to fist your baby back in your vagina for instance. Maybe, just maybe if you were aware of ALL the custom tailored physical and psychological trial and errors that you were about to go through during those heavy transformative periods, MAYBE just MAYBE you might have not committed in the first place. I guess you just have to be lucky that if you strive to be successful doing something you actually enjoy and love doing, there is no other thing you'd rather be doing or no other place that you'd prefer to be. You'd take all of life's beatings and move through it as gracefully or horribly as possible. Because afterall, fuck it- you're doing it, doing something you believe in.
I don't really have any photos of me during the start up phase of starting Onto ( which I currently still am in)- which basically beyond the launch last July, has been the last few years of sourcing said factories on my own and with some help of previous footwear industry connections but mostly utilizing my Chinese language asset and practically living in Asia ( with family ) to make sure I could get a quality product in production up and running with all said logistical undertakings managed responsibly. The scariest part of probably starting a company with all competitive and quality footwear manufacturing done overseas ( initially in China and now I'm starting new development in Portugal ) is that there are really no certainties in the economy or business for that matter. The humbling upside is that it has brought me to so many different countries in the process and my view and appreciation of the world have been further influenced by those travels. It's like learning to swim in the middle of the Ocean during a storm- and I can't swim for shit. Like at all. Horrible at it- physically can't. Throw in a storm and it feels like dying. I'd equate to stormy, constant torrential downpour to having to internally battle your creative priorities with the unknown dynamic of "knowing your numbers" and anything practical and business associated that as a creative often leaves a bad taste in your mouth. The lightning, sharks, and all the other shitty situations are all fires you have to put out when you run any business on a daily business. You don't know what's coming or how many different ways you'll eat shit, but you somehow have to trust that those gnarly thresholds are part of the process of growing.