Sam Carlisle – Augustus Hare
I first started making ties thanks to the proximity of one of the worlds leading silk mills to my home, and a recent travel scholarship from my school.
I was on a gap year between school and university, and before going to Paris to learn french for 6 months (the purpose of my scholarship) I went to the silk mill and invested the money in making 100 ties – 10 ties in 10 different designs. I had always been fascinated in design and this seemed like a natural thing to do – I was certain I’d be able to sell these ties to a couple of local shops as well as to my friends and family.
I then continued this small hobby business throughout my gap year and university in Edinburgh – for five years it steadily grew and occupied my summers, but I was always dreaming about what it could be if I focused on it full time. After graduating I quickly realised that this was what I wanted to do. I re-branded and re-launched as Augustus Hare.
The perils of running a proper business, rather than a part time hobby or project, are manifold. I quickly discovered that the long term goal of building a brand image, and constantly trying to expand, were both expensive and required a business rigour and knowledge that I did not have.
Going on Watershed was a hugely encouraging and special experience – the intensity, creativity, fun and encouragement of the actual course were exceptional. However, going forward its biggest value has shown. It has equipped me with more than a basic understanding of business mechanics, and more importantly has given me the confidence to really pursue certain channels as well as leaving others behind. I don’t think I have ever learnt so much in such a short period of time.
Since Watershed I have taken on my first member of staff (who I met while on Watershed), working mainly in PR, and have ramped up my export operations – making frequent trips to and selling in, the USA and Japan.