I’m not entirely sure why today’s collection is called “Celebrate.”
That’s not to say I don’t like the name — I think it works well with the products (and the confetti looks fantastic) — but it’s more to say that I’m increasingly finding myself at a remove from some of these components and decisions of Need.
Two weeks ago, as I was flying to London to visit family, I was thinking about this shift.
I founded Need just over two years ago and it’s been running publicly for about fifteen months. And, for the first year and a half of that process — until about this time last year — I was the sole operator and employee.
Every shipment, handwritten note, word, tweet, and post was produced by me. Today, on the other hand, Need is produced by a host of five or six people, of which I am one.
The result is that the company is improving drastically. (Which is fun to sit, focus on for a moment, and walk away abundantly aware of your inadequacy.)
Nonetheless, I tend to think it’s important to remain in touch with the version of the company that was run exclusively by one person.
That’s not to say it should be memorialized as the right way to do things. Or, perhaps, as a sign of past prosperity.
(The reality is quite the contrary, really.)
But it does serve as a resounding reminder of the possibility and potential of one person pursuing something they care about. And it goes to show that you do not require hoards of cash or personnel to realize something.
The greatest threat to any project — company or otherwise — is that you lose track of the values that informed the foundation of the concept in the first place.
For me, Need — and, by extension, Foremost — is predicated upon integrity and dignity.
When you see that marketing email fundamentally works, though, you’ll be tempted to send more. When you see that additional capital helps, you’ll be tempted to raise much more than you require.
It’s easy to find yourself on a slippery slope, clattering clumsily away from the premise that made you interesting in the first place.
Why am I sharing this with you? Well, simply put, it’s an interesting shift to undertake.
Releasing my hands from every possible facet of the company’s behavior and presentation feels counter-intuitive. After all, I established those binding values in the first place.
What I’ve come to realize, though, is that building things is about finding people of similar values as yourself.
Rather than finding people who can simply execute upon a premise and then leave promptly at 5 p.m., the crux of building something is finding like-minded people who perceive — and care about — a thing just as much as you do.
It ostensibly creates a support group of people working towards a common goal. You’re all hopelessly fraught with focus and passion, but you’re there to keep everyone on the right track. And to remind each other why the easy road is frequently not the right one to follow.
I share all of this because I’m deeply proud of what we produce each month. “Celebrate,” as much as I did not know the name, is one of the finest collections we’ve ever produced. And I’m intensely proud of that fact.
It goes to show that these people I’ve cobbled together have congealed into something bigger. That the values and very existence of Need as an idea have grown to larger proportions in which a larger group of people claims ownership.
And that’s a remarkable thing.
The photography this month was produced by Jordan Laessig and Amber England. And our model — the immensely talented Cory Tran — was extraordinarily kind to lend us his time. (Seriously, check out his work.)
With people like this working with us, I’m more sure than ever that we’re building something fundamentally good. Which is confidence-inducing, to say the least.
Matt Alexander / Founder + CEO