YOU NEED TO SEE THE VIDEO THIS COMPANY MADE
It takes quite a bit to leave us speechless, but when we viewed this video, we were left with our mouths agape. If we're being honest with you, we had tears in our eyes. We know a thing or two about how doubt can cast a shadow that eclipses all hopes and ambition. Matthew Clough's video about silencing said doubt to launch his business, Stone & Cloth, resonated with us so much so that we had to know, who is this man? Stone & Cloth employs the same one for one model that many companies are embracing: for every backpack purchased, a scholarship is granted to a student in East Africa. With a Kickstarter campaign going strong and ending in two weeks, the customers have shown that they believe in the mission of Stone & Cloth as well.
To learn more about Stone & Cloth and why Matthew is a Daring Creative, continue on.
When did you decide to pursue your current career path?
I decided to take this career path when I realized I wanted to spend my professional life using business as a force for good.
How did you go from idea to execution?
I started small. Very small. I had about $250 to my name and bought a used sewing machine on Craigslist and some fabric and started making a batch of very low quality prototypes and samples. The sheer energy and excitement I had about the idea allowed me to build momentum with the project. It might sound simple but one of the best habits I built was talking about the project with whoever would listen (which resulted in more ideas and others connecting me to like-minded people) and being relentless about writing down and completing action items (which makes any project or big idea feel manageable.)
I quickly learned that surrounding myself with people that had taken the path I was looking to take would play a significant role in continuing to make progress, so I quit my job to take an internship at TOMS to learn from people in the industry that were doing what I envisioned for Stone & Cloth.
How does the city you live in influence your creativity?
It does so in such big ways! LA is such a big city filled with creative and giving people. I'm always inspired by the sheer number of people I meet that are making their dreams a reality. Without Los Angeles I'm not sure we would have figured out how to continue to grow this project.
In your words, what does it mean to be a “creative”?
I think it just means being able to take an idea and put it into action. And to be able to find solutions to problems we all inevitably face in business and in life.
What is a misconception about the work that you do?
A common misconception about running a small business is that I have the freedom and the budget to do whatever I want. It's so far from the truth. Although I started the business with the idea that I would have more freedom, it almost seems the opposite -- I have to make compromises when it comes to seeing friends and going on trips, but always try to keep the long-view perspective that the work we're doing now will impact the world in a positive enough way to make it all worth it.
What is the most rewarding part of being a creative?
Making tangible progress. For me, that means seeing a customers face light up when they see a new product for the first time, seeing a stranger on the street wearing one of our bags. It's also very gratifying to know the products we make in Los Angeles help support local jobs. I'm also very excited that we're on track to provide 25,000 hours of classroom learning for students by the end of the year!
What is a tip/trick/habit that do you do to get through your day?
Meditate and breath work. I have the tendency to get very distracted by a lot of things, and can't always sit still -- it's not always great for productivity. If I'm really stressed I try to meditate for 10 minutes three times a day. The cool thing is I can do this from basically anywhere. I've also recently learned about something called a box breath. You inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds. then repeat. doing this for 3-5 minutes puts me (and can probably help anyone) get to a more relaxed state and a better frame of mind to be more productive.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to pursue the same career as you?
1. Think big, execute small.
2. Get *very* organized and find a few mentors that believe in your vision.
3. Take all my advice with a grain of salt :)
What has been the pit and peak of your week so far? (a low and a high moment)
The pit of my week has been not getting enough sleep. the peak has been arriving in Denver to spend time with my brother!
What is the trait you most admire in others?
Kindness. I'm very attracted to kind people. I really admire anyone with patience and empathy. I think those are the people that make this world just a little bit better.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Don't let your ego get in the way of how you do business.
Finish this sentence:
In 25 years I see myself: doing more of what I'm doing today -- using business to help people and spending my free time traveling and making memories with the people I love.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have: done less things, more often. It's so easy to say yes to a lot of things, but only a few we truly should if we want to be successful.
I couldn’t live without my: journal.
To support Stone & Cloth's Kickstarter campaign, donate here: bit.ly/TheSummitCollection
For more on Stone & Cloth, check out their site here: stoneandcloth.com