VANTOM| First Photoshoot with Grant Dan Vanessa and Jess
VANTOM Co Founder Tim Cram continues his take on the realities of starting a clothing label and life in part II of a 3 part series
When VANTOM did start gaining traction the brakes would come on sharply due to Vanessa’s ongoing battle with the debilitating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the complications associated with it, like depression, panic and anxiety disorders, which the latter many of us have faced in our lifetime.
Moments I can recall as amazing like meeting and having a beer with Paul Everest from Evrst and UNIT Founder, however, VANTOM’S progress went backwards not long after that, due to personal reasons. One not so great moment in particular stands out in my mind. I would be head down and charging, all guns blazing developing VANTOM when all the sudden an incoherent mobile call comes in from Vanessa lost in the Gold Coast’s Harbourtown massive car parking areas. I would race off to find her, driving around the carpark searching because all I could decipher was ‘lost in Harbourtown carrr…’ nothing made sense. I would eventually find her sitting in a gutter a kilometre or more from her car and poor Vanessa couldn’t speak properly, function or remember anything including where she was parked. I carried her and got her into my car. She just sobbed quietly in the passenger seat. It was truly awful, frightening and saddening at the same time.
I would immediately get to work on calming her so she could get her normal functions back. Then the process would begin; getting her to a doctor, finding Vanessa’s car left in this massive car park, letting support networks know and worst of all watching the shame she felt, turn to guilt. A vicious cycle that continued over and over which I feel only started stabilising once we found the right support. The pressure was immense with the dream of VANTOM fading away into the distance and I too had to seek out support.
Our personal lives unfortunately infiltrated and negatively impacted the business but every cloud has a silver lining. When you feel you are having the worst day in your life the next day can change everything, and that’s what happened. A real turning point happened when the business achieved its first sale from a non-family member or friend. It was something so small and insignificant to anyone else but to the brand it was a godsend. There was realisation that someone outside family or friends actually liked it. It instilled confidence that the brand was not just going to flicker and die out like many others, it was here to stay in my mind at least. That confidence lifted me to the next level.
There came a realisation that consumers needed choice, so the brand moved from almost entirely Organic to both Australian and Organic Cotton. In addition the new designs moved from subtle to bold handcrafted gear. We could now pass on the lower costs of regular Australian cotton to the consumer and start pushing into the more action orientated youth segment.
But as with any story there is always bumps to jump and you’ll have to tune in next week for the last instalment; part III! Read part I HERE