10 Questions: Luke Hodson, Awesome Merch

We caught up with co-founder of Awesome Merchandise - Luke Hodson - about awesome things, making plans, setting goals, and his American dream!

What do you do?

I help to run Awesome Merchandise, a company I co-founded in 2005. We are an e-commerce print and merch company that works with creatives, musicians, illustrators, artists and entrepreneurs who want to make Awesome things...

Right now, my main focus is launching Awesome into the US market and setting up our operations in Austin, TX.

What are you typically doing every day at 9am?

I will typically be either in a meeting, with our team in the UK (as I am primarily based in the US ) and this is my time window where everyone is at work, or I’ll be working on my number one priority for the day.

What makes your job easier?

Making a well thought out plan. Splitting things out into goals and tasks and focusing in on one task after another makes life a lot easier. That, and having smart and committed people to work alongside both inside Awesome and with some of key partners on the brand and marketing side.

What makes your job harder?

Trying to do too much at once, not being clear on objectives and not communicating effectively.

Dream job title?

Part-time snowboarder?! I’ve worked on Awesome since I was 19 so at some point have probably covered most job titles, but, being honest it’s not really something I have ever thought about.

What is the most overused word in your workday?

Awesome! It’s funny, when we meet new customers or suppliers, everyone uses the word awesome a tonne and then gets confused as to whether they should be using it or not...I embrace the constant use of the word and figure we may as well lean into it.

What misconceptions do you encounter working in your field?

I think previously we’ve come up against being young ’ish’ and maybe being much more relaxed in our style that people are typically used to at work. This has confused people at times and can lead to challenges. We are very serious but have fun and come across laid back. Some of this is our bad for actually being too relaxed and optimistic on certain projects. We’ve had to learn how to communicate with people that may have different perspectives or experiences whilst trying to maintain an approach to our work that we are comfortable with.

Any advice for those who want to do what you do?

Think hard about your goals and if you are sure you want to reach them, work out a plan to get you there. I’ve got a long way to go to achieve my current set of goals, but what I’ve already experienced in my work, far exceeds what I could have imagined when we bought a handheld badge machine on eBay.

Once you have your goals and a plan, try and surround yourself with smart people and people who may have done something similar. There are also plenty of books, podcasts, videos etc of people that have done something similar to what you are looking to do. Don’t stop learning because you are working.

What’s your career high point?

It will be when the first t-shirt is printed at our Austin location. We will have turned a pipe dream into something real. Then the hard work will begin!

What makes your current job different from anything else you’ve done?

This is all I’ve done since 2005 but that said, every year is completely different to the year before. My current job is trying to build a factory from zero, break into a new market, whilst at the same time helping our team in the UK improve and grow. This is all new, exciting and kind of challenging.

Photo credit Awesome Merch & Liam Henry