Woodberry Wetlands, 5 min 🚲 from home <3
I’ve been living in London (North East) for the past 9 years now. I moved here from France, initially just for a 5-month design internship… but I fell in love with the city as soon as I arrived, and decided to start my career here.
The constant excitement of meeting people from other cultures, all the parks, the art scene, but also working in so many different environments as a design consultant have made me stay here over the years.
All of this gave me the confidence to start my own outdoor apparel company in 2019, Labo Mono.
Although it’s been the most fulfilling and meaningful job I’ve ever had, it’s also been the job where I’ve felt the loneliest at times. Something quite common to entrepreneurs, and especially solopreneurs (🙋🏻♂️).
I learned that you can overcome this by having some routines and activities to balance it out.
For me, that would be by exploring the outdoors and meeting with people every now and then.
Hello confinements 👋
I guess you saw it coming: when the confinements hit, that balance completely broke, as I was now stuck in London. It got me asking myself loads of questions.
A few months in, I eventually came up with one conclusion: I needed to be able to run my business from anywhere, so I could travel anywhere and find that life balance again.
Becoming location independent?
Without realising it, I had already set up most of my business to run remotely.
- No more shipping orders myself anymore, thanks to my amazing fulfilment partner, one hour away from London
- Working with remote freelancers when needed
- Emails, marketing and design tools on my laptop
- Testing my jacket prototypes on myself and friends when we’d go out for a hike
The only thing to figure out: where to receive my samples.
After a few months planning, I decided it was time to give this a try and leave London for a while. I sublet my place, packed a suitcase with jackets and my camera (ok, plus some underwear), and hit the open road towards France.
I picked France as I knew many friends in different regions that I wanted to explore. For the next few months, I decided to visit them all, try the nearby hikes, as we tested my latest jackets and I took pictures of them.
My new ideal work/life balance was taking shape ❤️
I discovered that this way of working + travelling is a great way for me to experiment more creatively.
For instance, improving on my photography skills, but also to come up with new product ideas. New products that would be useful for my own journey, as well as many other travellers and adventurers.
I'll share about this very soon :)
Canal Saint Martin, Paris
Le Bez, and my first via ferrata. An exciting and slightly frightening experience. Looking forward to do more!
Ile d'Yeu (Yeu island)
A handy way of moving around
As I'm writing this, I'm 5 months into this new lifestyle. I also just passed my driving licence (yep at the age of 32. It's never too late :D ). Another fun (and stressful) challenge, but that will allow me even more flexibility as I travel.
A few more thing to solve: how to receive my sample and prototypes if I decide to leave London for good? I'll sure leave you another post and update very soon!
Let's see how far we can go now :)
Ali, Founder & Designer