“Hey man, did you know that more than 60% of small businesses stop operations within the first 3 years?”
I really hate when people feed me that statistic. It’s January 2020, marking AKU’s 2.5 years but that milestone means little to me. I know that’s weird and it’s not meant to sound ungrateful, but now that we're in amongst it, beyond the "fresh start up" phase, it’s hard to fake a level of enthusiasm for arbitrary dates and milestones. When the brand turns 3 on the 14th of June, it’s just going to be another Sunday to me, no different to every other Sunday passed that I’ve woken up, excited to get on the grind and work on the brand.
The thing that motivates me is a vision of a bigger picture we set out to achieve: telling our story, building our AKU-mmunity, working with some of my closest friends, creating identities for teams. These are the parts of the journey I savour and my team and I thrive off the process, the wins, the learnings the mistakes. In the past month, we’ve had our kit worn by the Australian Handball team at the Asian Championships, created Australian all-star kits for Futsal Oz Junior Nationals and signed a professional futsal team in one of the biggest leagues in Asia Pacific but I can’t help to think that at AKU, we’re also punctuated by the little things, the everyday things. Meaningful conversation with our customers, late night shoots and designs, eating pizza in the office playing Smash Brothers. These are the milestones on our journey I’ll remember when we surpass that 3 year mark and if we’re lucky, when we roll past 10.
As we continue to grow, I feel it’s important that we build more authenticity in who we are as a brand, the real us, our motivations, the bunch of ordinary people who set out to create something, bring people together and empower them through teamwear and sport. So in saying that, we’re rebranding our values and our purpose and more importantly, how we can make positive impacts to our customers and the AKU-mmunity. This journey is built to be shared and is one for the lost souls who believe they are a part of something greater than themselves but haven’t found a cause, because it takes ordinary people to create the extraordinary.