Defining success isn’t always black and white. Aaron Kay attributes The Swank Store’s achievements to providing a premium product, stellar customer service and value to his customers. By reinventing his growth strategies and making the business better everyday – success can be defined, not by a distant goal, but by the milestones met along the way.

What follows is the full interview on how Co-founder and Creative Director of The Swank Store sets himself up for success.

How does your business compete?

Our business competes on 3 levels. First and foremost we want to provide a premium product, second we want to provide a stellar customer service experience and finally, we want to be able to provide a product that’s valuable at a reasonable price. That way we’re providing the customer what they want, and we can compete in a competitive marketplace

What’s your growth story?

We were committed from day 1, and we always had this idea in our mind that we would reward ourselves when we reached certain milestones. What was really exciting was we reached that milestone within half the time of what we had forecasted

I remember I was having a bit of a drink, having a laugh to ourselves, and using that moment as inspiration to work even harder to get to our next milestone… and that’s so exciting for us.

The idea is to always surround yourselves with people who have the same ethos as well.  They want to work hard. They want to play hard. And they also want to be passionate about their customers. And that’s why the team members that we brought on as well to help us grow our business have been so instrumental in helping us get where we want to be

What does working hard mean to you?

Never be too proud to do all the hard labour and the hard yards because that’s what gives you the work ethic so that when you reach your milestones. You’ll be proud of yourself. Without hard work, you’re never going to get anywhere. You need to know every facet of your business, so that means if you’re answering emails at midnight, if that means if you’re text-chatting with someone on Instagram or Facebook, that needs to be done.

People always talk a lot about work life balance but as an entrepreneur, you need to believe in your work life and your private life being intertwined to make it a success. You need to have people around you that can understand that and back you up as well.

What does your daily routine look like? Has it always been this way?

My typical day starts at 5:45. Up and atom, two coffees, in the studio as quick as I can in the morning and get onto customer service emails and that sort of thing. We’re not the kind of company that takes breaks. We just work through the day and eat while we can, do what needs to be done.

By 9 o’clock, the team is picking and packing and getting our orders out to market so that they’re getting to customers within 24-48 hours. Through the day, we’re also looking at new ways to grow our business. We’re putting in social media, we’re putting in growth strategies as well to reach out to new audiences. We’re trying new things constantly to be able to grow our business.

We close up the studio at 6 pm, but then we’re home and we’re answering emails through the night. Our typical day is always customer focused and that’s how we like it to be because we always want to be on call only for them

Where do you get your energy from? How do you get the momentum going?

Our focus for our business is to also have fun, really that’s the core of it. We want to be able to come to work every day and it be a fun environment for us to be in. At the same time, we also have the drive to succeed. How do we make our business better every day? What technology can we add to our site to be able to engage our customers better? How can we do something that our customers haven’t seen before that makes them excited about being with us? That’s where it’s at.

To see the rest of Aaron’ story, head to Shippit.com/Hustle.

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Author Elena Clarke

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