We think inclusivity is the foundation for building community. To define what we mean by community a little more clearly we can say that it's the act of connecting people or just providing a space for people to organically build relationships with others. This could be planned but the beautiful part is when they're unplanned and you just happen to bump into someone that sparks something for you whether it be business related, a friendship, or just someone you can relate with. When you build a space that makes people feel welcomed, safe, and comfortable, you're making it easier for more types of people to intersect. We also feel that there's a metaphysical component that's harder to put a finger on but essentially there seems to be a cosmic, creative current that runs through everyone and everything and we've noticed that a lot of "coincidences" seem to occur within these four walls that we just cannot explain. It is as if there is a greater force that pulls communities together that we could never plan to build.
Now that you’re three years in, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced?
Oh man, there's so many... There are a lot of challenges with starting a small business. Right now the whole virus thing is going on and people are wondering if it's stressful for us. To be honest, every month feels this way if not more stressful. The biggest stressor is the financial one because at the end of the day that's what's going to keep your business alive. If your employees' checks bounce, they're gone. If you can't pay rent, you're done. Yes, you can take a loan out and buy yourself some time but if you're not figuring out how to consistently keep your revenues greater than your expenses then you're not going to be in this for long. For us that's especially hard, we don't come from money, we didn't have anything when we started Daydream, we took out loans, maxed out credit cards, begged friends and family for funds, sold our belongings... literally anything we could do besides trade equity for capital we did. That put us on a really tough path because when we opened our doors we were already deep in a financial hole. Many months we are a hair's breadth away from going out of business, literally one wrong move could make a check bounce or have us evicted. We don't wish that kind of stress on anyone. A smart and wealthy friend once told me that we needed to have at least a year of expenses in our bank account and I think once a business is able to figure out how to make that happen then you won't have that looming fear of being one wrong move away from going out of business. But when you start with less than nothing it's a long, hard ride to get to that point and you have to just figure it out on your own, it's not like you have money to hire a CFO to help you.
How do you feel about being a small business in 2020?
We love it, there's so many incredible opportunities to make an impact on people. You have this platform where you get to interact with hundreds of people in person each day, thousands of people on the internet every hour, and a select few employees that you spend every moment with. Every word, action, and thought holds so much within it that can be unpacked into a cultural framework with far reaching symbolism and ramifications. Every conversation, design decision, espresso, font, material, everything has an expansive philosophical story all neatly disguised within it. We're constantly realizing ways for our philosophies to come through the right way but also leaving it open ended enough for people's own interpretations on the customer side of things. It's a lot more forward internally, we want to build a culture within Daydream, that internal culture is where the magic lies. We get to watch our team grow and learn and mature while at the same time we as owners get to experience similar growth as managers and operators of this business as well as individualistic growth.
What’s ahead for Daydream Surfshop?
We want to continue to work hard, but also just go with the flow. There's so much opportunity but also so many unknowns. We could be doing the exact same thing 5 years from now or we could have shops all over the globe, a sustainable private label collection, have cracked the code for renewable materials for surfboard production, built an institution revolving around education on surfing history and board design, or we could go out of business next month... although we are becoming more and more confident that will not happen as we continue to learn and grow everyday. We're just going to take it one moment at a time and enjoy the beauty that's right in front of us.