So as you all know I love to support local and want to highlight local businesses for us to learn from and create brand awareness during this crazy time. I discovered ROWDY a few years ago and they have the most divine leather goods for sale.
During lock down, we are going to do a whole lot of these to highlight these businesses – many of which are taking HUGE strain during this time – and shed some awareness and love to all.
So I would like to introduce to you this awesome brand and let’s see what the owner of ROWDY, Adam Young had to say!
You opened your own business – How does it feel to be a successful business owner that inspires others and loves what they do?
Founded in 2012, ROWDY was born as the nascent idea of a young student who wanted to create simple, authentic and aesthetically pleasing leather rucksacks that he couldn’t find anywhere else. With humble beginnings at the popular Old Biscuit Mill market in Cape Town every Saturday, ROWDY soon burgeoned through the enthusiasm and support of its customers. Fast forward 8 years, and today, ROWDY has a dedicated team of 16 leather artisans handmaking a range of 13 unique travel, business and small carry-items available in 10 different shades.
In 2018, ROWDY changed ownership to me, (Adam Young) a budding entrepreneur. I took the helm after being ROWDY’s general manager for 18-months. I’d been attracted to the brand from the start, and was actually one of the first customers! I purchased my ROWDY rucksack out of the founder’s car boot on the corner of Kloof Street. After working at the company for almost two years, I gained a deep appreciation for the people and the product and when ROWDY came up for sale, I knew it was the right decision to make an offer. While our business is still burgeoning, and every day has its own challenges, I am motivated by my incredible team and want to ensure the whole world gets ROWDY with us!
What are the top 3 learnings you have had to find out the hard way since starting your own business?
Are there worthwhile learnings to be made an easy way? Mistakes are there to learn from and help us grow. Some key lessons include:
1. You can’t do it ALL – you need to surround yourself with a solid team of people who you can trust and that do a great job
2. You care about your business more than anyone else ever will because it’s yours, not theirs and that’s okay
3. Trust is earned, not given
ROWDY intends to continue on its growth trajectory. We recently launched a corporate gift offering, complete with personalized embossed logos, to give your hardworking team a real thank you, and I hope to develop this more over time. We also want to open A LOT more retail stores locally and internationally, and we want ROWDY Bags to be available online all around the world. We actually just opened our first partnered ROWDY online store in Switzerland this week!
What is your advice to individuals out there wanting to start their own businesses but are too scared?
Starting your own business is not for the faint-hearted. You need to take risks, be diligent and be a people’s person. It is a difficult and often lonely road, so you also need to really WANT it. If all of this checks out for you, then starting or owning a business is the best thing you will ever do! It is very rewarding but comes with its own set of challenges to navigate each and every day.
Tell us 2 things that are the BEST part about owning your own business and make it all worthwhile?
1. It is a very rewarding job – you reap what you sew, but it takes patience and a lot of time.
2. You can have a real impact on the world – whether it is empowering your amazing team with new skills and a stable job, building a brand that energizes you or meeting customers, it is awesome to see something take off and grow.
How has lock down affected you and your team?
I didn’t allow myself to be thrown off kilter when the national lockdown took effect at the end of March 2020. My first focus was to ensure ROWDY, a still fledgeling business, would survive the lockdown. I care deeply about my staff, and realised quickly it was an adapt or die scenario. My intention was to do something active and helpful. By week two of lockdown, the ROWDY factory team temporarily switched from leather craft to making and supplying face masks to assist in the battle against Covid-19. The masks were designed internally and a prototype was produced in just a few days. This helped keep staff members busy and filled a big gap in supply. In the first week of sales, 10 000 masks were sold. It’s a battle every day, but we are keeping positive and I am adamant that we will get through this. There will have to be changes made to adapt, but change is the only constant.
So please, head off to ROWDY’s website and pick up a mask if you don’t have one yet – or if you are looking for an extra stylish one! Rowdy also do corporate gifting which will blow your clients or colleagues away. Follow, like and share their Instagram and Facebook pages too!
Please support local <3