One of the main reasons I started this blog is very cliche. I want to be the change I want to see in this world, particularly in the schooling system. All day and every day, I bang on to students about contributing to our community, and creating their own opportunities to use their personal strengths and uniqueness to offer this world what no one else can but them.
Because I was asking my students to step up and make a difference, it only made sense for me to do the same. I wanted to practice what I was preaching not only for my own personal development, but because the most influential way others learn is through role modelling. So if I want others to recognise and celebrate their own strengths to create something that benefits themselves or others in anyway, then that’s what I needed to do. Imagine the world we would live in if every school project had a real world purpose to positively impact others in any way, shape or form? Problems would be opportunities for change.
Work created for a teacher alone is wasted.
It is through examples and role models that students learn best. Did you know that 80% of what students learn is through role modelling? And did you know that researchers believe 95% of what we learn is without our conscious awareness? To me, that means that learning comes from our intentions, our values and what we stand for. It doesn’t come from what we say, but our intentions behind why we are saying it.
With that in mind, I have interviewed a good friend of mine, Bo Alexander. He is the creator of Wink Apparel. I think that what he has created is amazing. He is a wonderful role model and example for all others out there to live their best and most creative life. And if I know that we learn from others paving the way for us, what better way to inspire you to start your own journey by sharing other success stories. So I asked Bo some questions. I hope you feel just as amazing as I do after hearing some of his responses!
Tell us a bit about what an average day looks like for you?
All of my days look quite similar in terms of routine, differing here and there. Here is a little time line:
- Up by 5.45-6 for an early gym session, if not, I’m in ‘the office’ sorting out orders and content and tinkering with ideas. Sometimes I just find myself staring at the computer screen doing nothing, always with a coffee of course
- At school by 8am sorting out my lessons for the day
- Home by roughly 4, depending on school meetings etc.
- This hour or so is spent with my doggo, or my PS4 console
- 6pm is boxing (Mon & Wed) or football training (Tues & Thurs)
- Food and Netflix
- Repeat until the weekend
When did you have the idea to create Wink apparel?
I had the idea of Wink in 2015 sometime. I always took what I wore to the gym quite serious and always had trouble finding the perfect fitting shorts, tanks, hats, beanies etc. One day I just had an epiphany that instead of searching for the perfect fit I should just manufacture my own as it would make life a lot easier.
Did you ever second guess yourself before you began Wink?
Soon after the so called epiphany, I started a social media platform, ordered a few samples in and started to realize the outlay and capital that would be needed to get things up and going. So I swept that idea under the rug for a couple years. Then something hit me over summer 16’ and decided that I wanted to push the idea again. Most days I ask myself what I’m doing and that there is a million other people trying to do the exact same thing from the exact same position, so I tell myself that I’m making these garments for me, and if anyone else chooses to wear what I’m wearing, then sweet, make a purchase.
Where does your motivation come from?
I guess talking to people about what I’m doing helps put things in perspective for me. Many people say “oh I’ve thought of doing that”, but they never pulled the trigger. I get a lot of compliments and encouragement from friends which helps motivate me and remind me that people do notice what I’m doing and will support in any way possible. My partner, Stevi, helps me be resilient. There are times where I want to throw the towel in with any little or big task but she’s there to mop up the mess and give advice when needed.
How important is self-belief in anything that we do?
Self-belief is huge, especially these days when mental health plays a huge role in society. Everyone has off-days, and when you have off-days, it can throw a dark cloud over an idea that has so much worth. And on the days where your self-efficacy is hiding, it only takes one person to pump your tyres up to bring you back to clarity, and that’s why I appreciate everyone that has ever complimented my idea.
I wouldn’t say I grew up on the outer, but I was okay with being myself and didn’t have to wear anything or do anything to impress others, because I was happy with being myself. Fast forward, I didn’t have a problem starting up a lifestyle label just because no one else I knew had done it, or the fact that people might think it’s going to flop because it’s not the norm. I have an idea, so I’m going to run with it and I’ll do everything I can to make it work. I guess it’s just a mindset.
What do you do to look after and care for yourself?
Exercise is the best medicine in my opinion. Having a stint in the fitness industry and playing team sports has helped me appreciate exercise for what it can do for us. Sweating everyday helps keep your mental wellbeing in check – knowing that you’re doing something good for yourself everyday helps with your self-efficacy.
What is the best advice you can provide to teenagers and young people now?
Find your niche in life. You see and hear about so many people about waking up and hating what they do, but for some reason they choose to do it anyway. I love mentoring the youth, I love exercising and I love the idea that someday I may be able to work for myself. My advice for education is – finish school, work for 2 years in a dead end job and for those 2 years, think every day about what it is that you’d rather be doing for a career. And when you find what field you’d like to enter, apply for further education, whatever that may look like.
If you could make one subject mandated for all teenagers in the school curriculum, what would it be?
This is quite farfetched I know – I would make a year level, possibly 9, to undertake a mandatory year of military training. This would help develop a teenager’s respect for themselves and others, discipline, independence, give them a sense of belonging that they may have never had before and allow them to have a better understanding of society a how they will contribute.
The world we live in isn’t a one-size fits all, but something needs to change before it’s a one size fits none.
You can keep up with Bo by following @winkapparel, or you can get yourself some fresh threads at winkapparel.com