“Side hustle” is a term that gets thrown around a lot these days, but as one of the less irratating millenial terms, this one may be onto something. Essentially an interest or passion, a side hustle is something that can produce income outside of your traditional job. But what about when your side hustle turns into a fully fleged business(es)? Well, that my friends is called a hustler, and we are talking to one this week in the shape of Richard Davies.
Owner and director of Abandon Ship Apparel, Hard Grind (Dundee AND Abderdeen FYI) and coffee shop, Daily Grind and the expansion into the up and coming Abandon Ship Bar, Rich doesn't have just one working title, he has 5. Being the main creative force behind his businesses spreading positive messages while standing awkward, it's a wonder how he gets through the day. We wanted to know his work ethic secrets and how he fits this new multi hyphen method of working into a regular week.
Hey Rich! Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I am a 31 year old man living in Dundee with my wife (@honeypopkisses) and my two dogs Lady and Honey Bee. I love cooking, sleeping or socialising with a beer in my hand. Within the company I oversee all aspects of Abandon Ship Apparel along with being the main designer for the brand, I work with my business partner, Colin, on the bigger company projects while he focuses on Hard Grind.
How did you get into this business?
After working for high street brands all over the UK I became jaded with the industry and decided to begin a "bedroom brand" with my old business partner to make some beer money and escape a bit from our day jobs. It quickly exploded and I was self employed within the first year and running the business from an attic office. That was over 6 years ago and since then it has been a steep learning curve; seeing highs of £1.2million in turnover year three and a subsequent liquidation and my old business partner and I parting ways two years ago, in which I had to buy back the brand from debtors and start from scratch. Now the business is stronger then ever with multiple revenue streams and with thought out, sustainable goals.
What's been your general career path?
I deferred University to become a Teacher and never went back so I could go to Art College which I left after two weeks because of "creative differences." After that I started in retail. My father always told me to strive to be the best at what I did and that stuck. Within 5 years I had moved from a part time sales assistant in Dundee to the Manager of a store in London. After returning to Scotland the following year I fell out of love with retail and ended up starting Abandon Ship 7 years ago.
If you weren't doing this, what would you be doing?
My job role is pretty dense and I usually find ways of employing my hobbies into the business but I would say that i have wondered what my life would of been if I had gone to University to become a teacher. Probably very different.
Do you have a life motto / mantra?
Inaction is the Enemy.
Take us through a typical day. What time do you get up at?
I usually get up at 6.30am. I will get the dogs up, feed them and let them out. Then I clean the kitchen to clear my head and sit down with a black coffee and a smoothie and start my day. I work from my kitchen table for an hour or two setting up the day, responding to emails etc. I find that doing this first thing clears my head and prepares me mentally for the day. Then I drive to our warehouse between 8 and 9am and check in with our warehouse manager, see whats happening and pick up any stock for our stores that needs dropped off. Then I head to our Abandon Ship Dundee store and Hard Grind Barber Shop (situated on the same street) and drop off stock, grab a coffee and spend time with the teams before heading to meetings, if it's a quiet day i'll stay in store and catch up on emails & plan new concepts. I aim to be home for 6pm and then will spend a couple of hours drawing and designing items for the new collection. I also run the Abandon Ship social media and try to keep it updated with content and stories throughout.
How do you keep yourself organised?
I have a list on a word document and delete jobs as I action them and add them as I think of them. It is an ever changing, never ending list.
Do you have an idol?
My parents, they have always shown me you can work hard and be a good person.
How do you keep yourself going through a humpday?
Luckily working for myself can be somewhat flexible and I can cut elements out of my day if needed and sometimes starting later or finishing earlier is better then slogging on. In regards to art I find if I am "not feeling it" then I simply won't attempt it and will return later.
Biggest misconception about the job you do?
People assume that social media is my life and make presumptions about my work ethic or what I do. It is sadly not all cocktails and burritos.
How do you wind down?
I cook. I love it. It is truly my happy place.
What's your favourite thing about what you do?
The creative freedom, the challenges and the people I work alongside. We have had the opportunity to do some amazing things and can now give back and help others and its been an amazing journey.
Any advice for someone who would like to follow in your footsteps?
If you want to do this then Love what you do and work every day of your life. Dream hard but work harder.