Thursday, June 10, 2010

Do What You LOVE: Nick Young

"I'd been thinking and talking about creating my own label for years. When my dad died, my whole perspective on life changed. I just knuckled down and got creative." Nick Young

occupation: Designer of jewellery, clothes, cards, bags, tea towels and more.
lives: Melbourne

I like you talks to Nick Young, designer of the label Two Ruffians about his life, his label and the things that inspire him.

[image above: A selection of Two Ruffians product range displayed at the Warnambool Art Gallery]

1. Tell us about 'Two Ruffians' and what we can expect to find from your label?
'Two Ruffians' is a fun irreverent label, with a 'have a go' attitude.

I started the label just under a year ago, having taught myself to use 'design' software, expose patterns onto silk screens and print. With a couple of t shirts and tea towels, I boldly set off into the unknown, and it's been a fast, productive year.

2. Why did you decide to create 'Two Ruffians' and what's been your biggest lesson from running it?

I'd been thinking and talking about creating my own label for years. When my dad died, my whole perspective on life changed. I just knuckled down and got creative.

I'd been interested in fashion since my teenage years when I worked in a cool independent clothes store back in the UK. When I moved to London in the early 90's, fashion, music, street art and friends all had a profound effect on me - it's those influences that I carry into my work today.

I've worked with my partner, Clair Wayman, on various interior styling jobs over the years. When I started the homewares side of the business I wanted to create something that was brighter and bolder than what I had seen when hunting for props. Most design seems to follow a fairly safe format, and I wanted to do something different.

The biggest lesson I've learnt is that people are generally creatures of habit. It's been a challenge when offering hand made designs that aren't conventional. I'm competing with a huge volume of mass produced products. But I'm up for the challenge - it's my David and Goliath moment!

3. What is your favourite part about running your own business?

Simply being able turn an idea into a design on my own is wicked!

4. I personally believe that you have to provide value to your business/ products and the money will follow. What advise would you give a designer/ crafty small business owner trying to provide great value to their customers?

Work hard, believe in yourself, don't give up, do what you say and be polite to everyone you meet.

5. Would you recommend any Books or Music that you found to be of great value to yourself?

Books: Floor To Wall, Plastic People Flyers 1998-2003, by Ali Augur, Blurb Publishing
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Charta publishing

All the music I listen to is of great value to me. It's a big part of 'Two Ruffians.
1) Apache, The Incredible Bongo Band
2) Water No Get Enemy, Fela Ransome Kuti
3) We Got Soul? ( Rob Life Remix), Quantic
4) Living Well parts one and two, The Limp Twins
5) I Believe In Miracles, Jackson Sisters
6) The New Breed, Jimmy Holiday
7) Search For The Inner Self, Jon Lucien
8) "357 Magnum Force" La Funk Mob
9) Witness, Roots Manuva
10) Everybody Knows, David Holmes presents The Free Association
11) Unfinished Sympathy, Massive Attack
12) Loaded, Primal Scream
13) I'm Alive, Don Fardon
14) Just Like You, Ian Brown

6. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

Phil Taylor, he's my best mate who I've known since I was 4. I don't get to see him much these days so we could talk about stuff all night. That would be cool.

7. What would constitute the "perfect" day for you?

If I could finish what I'd set out to achieve for once. My time management skills are not great. Or maybe chilling out on a beach in Thailand would be better.

8. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30 year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

Oh definitely the mind. Then again some would say I've lost my marbles already, so maybe a fit body.

9. I noticed that in a past interview with The Design Files you mentioned you were reading 'Things I have Learned in My Life So Far' by Stefan Sagmeister. What lessons have you learned in your life so far?
It's cool to be kind.

10. Have you any plans (personal or business) that you can share with us about your future plans/ goals/ lifetime goals?
Find some more stockists then put my feet up for a bit and switch off. Aaaaaaaaaah! that sounds nice!

A big thank you to Nick for answering all these questions. Please do visit his website and his blog to find out more about him and his products.

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