I’ve always found myself following the allure of the start-up life. I tried on a few side hustles, but nothing seemed to fit me, what I was pursuing wasn’t authentic and ultimately failed to launch.
It wasn't until I gave myself a six months career break to spend time with family and explore that my focus started to shift to what I really cared about...Creating.
My break took me to Italy. My wife and I love it there, we'd pack up and move tomorrow if we could, we've been four times over the years but this time we would be exploring the boot from top to toe with a nine-month-old baby.
Finding business inspiration wasn’t my intention when I took a sabbatical to travel. Spending time away with my beautiful daughter has been the highlight of my life. Italian (vacation) life is so carefree that I had the time to evaluate everything, not just the big decisions of the day like, “should I order the Pizza or Pasta?
This freedom allowed me to focus on what I’m passionate about, and with limitless possibility, start developing the watch brand I’d spent years fantasising about.
During our trip, I stopped by every old Italian antique store I came across to check out their watches and sketch what inspired me in a notepad. A hobby that most would find a bit strange.
The inspiration I needed turn this little dream into reality came during a visit to Modena, a small town close to Bologna; known for being the birthplace of Ferrari (fun fact for my fellow F1 fans) and the production of Balsamic Vinegar.
The typical tourist stroll led us to a small, handmade leather workshop. I usually hate being dragged into these empty little artisan shops because I always end up getting sucked into buying something I don’t want or need. But there I was, standing in front of one of the most passionate makers I’ve ever met, having the life-altering realisation that handcrafted matters. That following tradition and creating something you are proud of, to the point it pains you to see it sold (the leathercrafter hugged the vegetable-tanned bag Ruth bought before she let it go), it matters, being passionate matters.
That passion was infectious. The love they had for their products, the pride they took in the process and what that represented, inspired me. I walked out of that workshop with a clear vision of what I wanted to create, knowing exactly what Barrow should be. I want to create something I am honestly passionate about. Something I want to tell people about. Something to be proud of.
And I am. I am proud of Barrow. What started with a design on a piece of paper is now something I can touch, feel and share with you.