beauty

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - NEWS -

For­mer All White-turned-entrepreneur, Tim Brown, launched in­no­va­tive footwear com­pany All­birds back in 2014. He talks to from his cur­rent home base in San Fran­cisco about new ba­bies, new tech­nolo­gies and get­ting busted wear­ing other shoe brands. My week­ends are re­ally im­por­tant to me. In my pre­vi­ous sport­ing life, I never had week­ends free. There was al­ways a game, so it took me time to reac­quaint my­self with a good week­end, but I’ve learned fast. A well-spent week­end is a key part of a well-lived week.

I live in the Ma­rina in San Fran­cisco, which is very near the har­bour, the Golden Gate Bridge and Al­ca­traz. It’s a beau­ti­ful part of the city that re­minds me of my home­town Welling­ton all the time.

The beach is 15 min­utes’ walk from our house, there are great cafés and farm­ers’ mar­kets nearby, and it’s an easy drive to get over the bridge, out of San Fran­cisco and up to Sonoma (wine coun­try) where we go fre­quently. It’s re­ally beau­ti­ful up there and in a weird quirk of the San Fran­cis­can cli­mate, you drive an hour away and you of­ten go from fog to sun­shine and it is sud­denly 10 de­grees warmer.

Work and home life def­i­nitely do spill over. My wife and I have a 6-month-old baby so there’s a lot of new things to learn there and hav­ing the flex­i­bil­ity to be at home when I need to be is a real pri­or­ity. It is def­i­nitely a work in progress find­ing the right balance as a new dad but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Fri­day evening is a re­ally im­por­tant mo­ment for me to end the week, re­flect and come down from the highs of all that has gone on.

I try to use Sat­ur­day to re­set, usu­ally with ex­er­cise, and time spent with friends and fam­ily. Ide­ally, talk­ing and think­ing about things not re­lated to work.

On Sun­day, there will be a chunk of time ded­i­cated to pre­par­ing for the week ahead.

In be­tween the crazy love­li­ness of time with our daugh­ter, a reg­u­lar Sun­day will in­clude lots of cups of tea, time with The New York Times – the pa­per edi­tion – dog walks with our pup, Char­lie and, even­tu­ally, ex­er­cise of some kind.

The sim­pler the bet­ter for Sun­days at the mo­ment. The jour­ney to build All­birds has been such a whirl­wind, I’ve come to re­ally value a few small things done re­ally well.

A New Zealand Sun­day versus an Amer­i­can one? They are pretty much the same. The food is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent, and there’s dif­fer­ent sport on tele­vi­sion but peo­ple have the same vibe. I’ve never lived in a more “Kiwi” city than San Fran­cisco. There are a lot of sim­i­lar­i­ties and I love liv­ing here.

Over­all, I think of my ap­proach to work much like I did de­vel­op­ing and main­tain­ing fit­ness when I was a sportsper­son – in­tense train­ing fol­lowed by equally im­por­tant mo­ments of re­cov­ery. There are more sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween pro­fes­sional sport and en­trepreneur­ship than I ever could have imag­ined.

All­birds re­cently sold its mil­lionth pair of shoes. It was a spe­cial mo­ment par­tic­u­larly as it co­in­cided with the launch of our Tree fam­ily of prod­ucts and our sec­ond ma­te­rial in­no­va­tion. There was a small cel­e­bra­tion with our team here, but there is still so much more to do so we’re not get­ting too car­ried away.

Early on, we re­alised that as re­mark­able as wool is, when the weather gets hot and you’re wear­ing wool shoes with­out socks it isn’t as good an ex­pe­ri­ence as it could be. We set out to find a new ma­te­rial that could de­liver an even bet­ter com­fort feel­ing, and found eu­ca­lyp­tus fi­bre. Eu­ca­lyp­tus has both in­cred­i­ble hand-feel and soft­ness but also a nat­u­rally cool­ing prop­erty that made it the per­fect so­lu­tion.

The only catch was, much like the wool, it took years of re­search and de­vel­op­ment, a world-first FSC (For­est Ste­ward­ship Coun­cil) cer­ti­fi­ca­tion to meet our en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards and the use of a new, dig­i­tally knit­ted man­u­fac­tur­ing process to meet our prod­uct stan­dards. It’s been a long jour­ney but we’re thrilled with the re­sults.

The one thing they don’t tell you about start­ing a footwear com­pany is you kind of have to wear your prod­uct all the time! On the rare oc­ca­sions I’ve had to wear other footwear, I in­evitably get caught.

On the week­ends, I’m def­i­nitely more ca­sual and I try to wear shorts and track­ies when­ever I can – which I would never do dur­ing the week in the of­fice. Other than that, my grey, blue and white pal­ette is still a con­stant.

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