Work Hard Dream Big | A Talk with Mr. Tommy Blades
If you spend any time exploring Instagram, there is no doubt you have come across the adventurous galleries of MRTOMMYBLADES or PNWONDERLAND. Inspired by fashion, art and the outdoors, Tommy is dedicated to pursuing his passions and hoping that others do the same. With his authentic apparel, the Tommy Blades brand is more then just a shirt or a hat; it's a message. We had the chance to talk with Tommy a bit and figure out what makes him tick.
What makes Tommy Blades different than other brands?
Tommy Blades reaches far beyond apparel and really focuses on a positive and powerful way of life. We strive to help inspire and empower people around the globe to pursue their dreams and passions in life, whatever they may be, and to help them realize that they are possible. Each piece of apparel really serves as a constant reminder to live with passion and push life to the limits.
We also value personal connections and relationships and go through great lengths to make that known; such as handwritten notes, personal photographs that are printed and shipped with orders, responding to each and every comment on social media, and being a strong advocate for community, photography, and adventure. Tommy shares a lot of personal stories, struggles, and things that he has gone through/is going through and helps others to understand that we are all in this together.
More than anything - this is not "just" a brand. It is a community of incredibly passionate, talented, and creative like-minded people who want the most they can possibly get out of life. Although we do of course focus on the quality of product that we put out - we also focus on the quality of the experience just as much.
On your website, you explain how you gave up working for eBay to pursue your own passions. What’s your favorite part about working for yourself?
This has honestly been a dream of mine for years. I am a very free-thinking and creative person and thrive when I have a lot of variety and freedom. Although I am easily working more than 40 hours a week right now - I am building on that dream that I have had for so long - and I really love the journey. This is new territory for me... I am taking on things that I never have before. I am finding out what works and what does not work first hand. I am constantly learning. This journey is just priceless for me - it is something that I have looked forward to for years - and I try to take a step back as often as I can to just realize how awesome it really is.
On the flip side, what’s the hardest part about doing Tommy Blades full-time?
Right now, I am trying hard to balance work and life. I am getting married in just under two months to the most amazing person in the world - and I really need to put the phone away in the evenings and focus on us. I have been a one-man show for a lot of the last year - I have personally handled all aspects of the brand and community, along with a great deal of support from my incredible friends and family- and naturally, it is difficult for me to disconnect from it because I love doing it. I think that maintaining that balance is incredibly important though - and I want to be "present" for my wife to-be and my family.
There’s obviously a bright future for you and your endeavors. Care to shed any light on future projects or apparel?
I have been focusing a lot on quality and am excited to be releasing some products this spring and summer that take things to a whole new level for the brand. I have also been working with companies that are not only based in the USA - but also based in the Pacific Northwest - to help produce them. This is where I was born and raised and I have a great deal of pride having products made here.
I have also focused a lot on our Pay it Forward Project and look forward to expanding on it as much as I possible can. The Pay it Forward Project is where when one item is purchased from our site... we send you two. You however are not allowed to keep the second item for yourself - you are to give it to someone special. Whether it be a friend, family member, or a complete stranger - we want to help you make someone's day through an unprovoked act of kindness. We then ask those who are participating in the project to post about who they gave it to, why they gave it to them, what it meant, and then ask that person to perform a random act of kindness as well. It is simple but powerful and has reached multiple continents. We sincerely believe that a simple act of kindness has the ability to change someone's life and also believe that kindness is contagious - this has the potential to positively impact a lot of people.
People look up to “Doers” like yourself. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to pursue similar goals?
Something that really stands out for me is preparing yourself for the work involved with achieving your goals. It is not easy - and that's OK. It is supposed to be hard. There are going to be difficult sacrifices, long hours, obstacles, failures, and much more along the way. It can be mentally and physically draining at times. You may crawl to the finish line... but you can do it.
I think it is incredibly important to simply believe in yourself and your dreams as well. Be true to what is inside of your heart and follow it.
Thanks for the insight tommy!
If you're interested in finding out more about Mr Tommy Blades, head to his website (Tommyblades.com) and see for yourself what all the hype is about.
Remember: Stay Sharp, Be Different.