DelVache Startup stories - 1: The Work/Work balance
The DelVache team is very proud with the realization of 100 aprons last week. Although this may not look very spectacular in a world of big production units, I take this opportunity to let you know how I finally reached some long searched balance in my life. And perhaps you might also be in need of a work/work balance.
Since the start of my professional career, 22 years ago, I always worked as IT (SAP) consultant. In the IT world, you are often limited to immaterial creations (software) and in the case of SAP, this is mostly limited to business usage. Although I am aware this is important work for companies and the people working in these companies, my job never could give me the satisfaction of creating something beyond the limitations of a virtual world.
The hunger for designing and crafting something ‘material’ never ceased to grow over the years. About 6 years ago, in another attempt to still that hunger, I followed a woodworking course. During the next three years, once a week, I was delighted with learning woodworking skills. But at the end of the course, with many plans and ideas in my head, I once again faced the difficulty to find the energy and the priority to start working on projects for personal use. Yes, like many others, I am also affected by the ‘student syndrome’ (=planned procrastination, when students will only start to apply themselves to an assignment at the last possible moment before its deadline.)
In early 2020, my best friend asked me to join him to start DelVache. Suddenly, in a new exciting business environment, all procrastination issues disappeared. We had lots of clear deadlines and urgent tasks: designing products and production methods, search for suppliers, build a website, investigate the world of social media marketing, lots of administrative tasks and much more. Setting up a new business requires a lot of work, but when you start something in an area you love, then suddenly it feels like if something would pressure you to do your hobby. In other words, you have now the perfect excuse for yourself and your surroundings to dedicate an important part of your leisure time to something you love to do. Because it is under the guise of work.
Regarding our first ‘big’ order, we committed to deliver the 100 private-label aprons to a Belgian customer for the first week of May and after receiving the leather hides in the second half of April, we had only a few days to make the deadline. Because our startup is in parallel with our jobs for the 3 of us, we worked during evenings and a weekend. But I can tell you that I started to make the first apron with a big smile on my face and finished the last one with an even bigger smile and a intense sense of pride.
Before starting this post, I was thinking about how I could describe that state of equilibrium I feel right now. When the word ‘work/work balance’ came into my mind, I thought I might have invented a little theory/concept of my own. But a quick search on internet made me find the following excellent article about this topic, written by Nick Hilton:
Finally, I am doing what I always wanted to do and for a real purpose: designing and crafting products for people who need and enjoy them. Perhaps this is something recognizable for you or maybe you know someone that is looking since a long time for ‘something else’. Quitting your ‘need-work’ for a ‘want-work’ is not always the only option. You may combine both and find the work/work balance.
But let’s stay honest, it’s not all that easy. Because my next challenge is now to find the ‘Work/Work/Life balance’.