Stick To Your Guns
Do what you know. A lot of people (myself included) get very ambitious and want to expand their brand. There is nothing wrong with this, and maybe if you're a record label you want to stop signing pop-punk acts and start signing dubstep DJs. Just remember, you built this brand with your customers (a successful company is only successful if your loyal fans stick with you), and two things will happen as a result.
You built your name as a pop-punk label, so no dubstep fan is going to give a listen to “the next Skrillex” you just signed when you have been putting out New Found Glory albums for the past ten years. The second thing is that the loyal fans of your company who have helped you build your brand this far will flat-out abandon you because you wanted to become a dubstep label.
Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't want to sign different styles of bands or try new techniques for your clothing company, but it needs to be gradual and tasteful. Especially in this music scene, where “what's hot” changes daily. Stick to your core ethos and give people a reason to understand why you wanted to sign the new Skrillex and don't just hop on the next trend bandwagon overnight. Stay who you are and grow from it.
You're Only As Good As The People In Your Corner
I wouldn't have gotten to where GK is today without the people I've surrounded myself with. From my mom, who let me use her basement for the first three years I started the company, to the folks at Zumiez, who I have gotten to know over the past four years to help me expand my business, and finally, to my staff of ten people at GK who help keep this whole thing running daily.
As a business owner, you get this feeling of having to do everything yourself and be in control of everything, which from what I can tell is only natural! But it will come to a point where you physically can't do everything yourself—letting go and putting the people you trust in charge becomes a necessity. For years, GK ran its own warehouse, shipping and logistics. A couple of years ago I realized we weren't running a clothing company anymore. We were running a warehouse. Every day, the entire GK Staff (myself included) would be counting boxes and mailing packages. We had our marketing department filling and packaging retail orders. I made the decision to move our warehouse to a third party in California.
I was always against outsourcing anything GK. Keep everything in house, I always said! DIY 'til i die! But this ended up being the best move we've ever made. The third party we work with maintains both our customer service and shipping. As a result, things have never been better. Orders reach our customers faster and we have seen a huge increase in positive feedback from customers ordering from us now.
Adapt Or Die
How can I sum this all up? Stick to your guns, stick to what your company's about and don't stray from your mission—but also don't be afraid of change and adapting to what's happening around you—whether it's new technology or new styles of music or new ways of running a business.
No one ever told me starting GK would be easy. I was just some dumb kid at 18 who didn't want to have a real job and didn't know what the hell else to do. But I would (and still do) work until four in the morning just to keep what I love going. alt