A short story to explain why AE has been slow this last while, and why we are so very grateful to you for sticking with us.
Just before Christmas in 2014, AE took on the first new member of the team. Now we were two. Nigel, who is trained in cabinet making, is a fast learner and perfectionist (and his lovely Mom happens to be a seamstress). He is also a very incredible, loving boyfriend. Yes, indeed, imagine; I hired my boyfriend. Lots of people were rather concerned for my tiny little business and thought that maybe I was being a bit foolish. They were wrong. Nigel got me through the first crazy madness that is a ‘Christmas rush’ in the Irish Design industry. In the early months of 2015, we both spent hours and weeks in the workshop, learning all of the various tricks and knacks to making backpacks and growing a start-up in Ireland. With growing sales, growing rep and growing support in the way of funding and investment we had a little success and a very happy time. In May of this year my gorgeous man suddenly got very ill. He has a very bright recovery path a head of him, but it will be a tough and a long road.
When I began AE it was formed of a serious ambition, and a necessarily unrealistic dream. I carried it around with me day and night; it gave me joy to work endlessly on making it real. Being honest, at times in the last three months AE has felt like a guilty burden I carry with me, because it was now not the priority. I couldn’t justify leaving the hospital to do something as trivial as work on my old dream, because the new dream is full recovery for Nigel. I still loved AE but it just didn’t give me any joy to think of it.
As things get clearer though, that feeling is coming back, stronger than ever. It seems it actually never left, but the joy now is born of something else. As we move away from that day when we might have lost Nigel and get closer to our happy future, AE is becoming more important in the new dream, in the new ambition for our future. Nigel has taught me that it is very important to focus on and give energy to, the things that really matter, that bring only positivity.
So now its renewal time: belief in doing work that brings joy, the absolute value in doing that work really well, and with great people. Together we will build a Great company here, so that a quality product can be made by hand in the wild west of Ireland. A company that values every member of its team and that seeks to bring prosperity and sun to our damp part of the world.
Throughout the awful past few months, every now and then I’d get an order email, or a ‘get in touch’ email from some nice stranger who just digs what AE is doing. Those pieces of unsolicited support and positivity were pretty magic. So thank you all for that, and here’s to lots more magic, a prosperous future for AE and positive thinking.