A Year Working With Outwest

A Year Working With Outwest

 ‘I’ve had an idea’ has fast become one of my favourite things to hear while working with Outwest. 

Leaving my previous job, and beginning from scratch with a new company in 2023 was a daunting undertaking. For someone who thrives on responsibility and hard work, the fear that I would be standing behind a counter with little to no responsibility was big and it was real. As Outwest’s first ever employee, I spent the first few weeks figuring out where I fit into this previously tight knit twosome of a business, learning the pillars of the brand, the ethos & ethics, and the front of house ropes, slowly acclimatising to my new environment. A couple of months in, I came to Bec & Shane, mild panic in my eyes. ‘I am going to need more’ I told them, more responsibility, more growth, more learning, or I wouldn’t be able to continue with the job. 

And so began what has been a most enjoyable year of learning and growth for me.

I am an artist, by training and brain chemistry, and definitely one of those creatives, to whom business know how does not come easily, but they began to patiently teach me the runnings of the behind the scenes of their successful and growing business. It can’t have been easy delegating responsibility for the inner workings to someone so new, but I was taught about previously unknown to me areas such as accounting, optimised marketing, forecasting, designing & creating garments and relationships with factories abroad, online sales jargon (conversion rates!) along with as many acronyms  (KPIs, AOV, CTR etc.) and the sheer level of tenacity that it takes to see sustained growth as a young business, in a well established market. One of the things that has stuck out for me is their willingness to listen and incorporate third party suggestions, from myself, customers and the community that they have built up here in Dingle and across the globe. They regularly ask ‘what do you think?’, which inspires a feeling of being valued in the space, for more than the ability to sell product to people. 

Working in Outwest, no two days are the same, and far from lacking in diversity, the responsibilities are many and varied, and the cross section of society that comes through the door often surprises and delights. We have pins on our world map in everywhere from Tahiti to Kazakhstan and everywhere in between. The stories of how people landed in Dingle from these far flung places are a joy to hear, and connecting with people that you may not otherwise have the chance to meet, is a wonderful perk of the job. (Jamie Dornan being a rather fine example!) 

When Outwest first opened it’s physical doors here in Dingle in August 2022, they had 3 rails of clothes and big dreams. The intervening months have seen their stock grow to fill the entire shop, so much so that we have recently knocked down a dividing wall and doubled our retail space. It is a joy to watch products go from the concept stage to physically landing on the rails, and even more so when my input has been sought and implemented, with some of the incoming garments featuring graphics designed by me! A recent trip to Portugal to visit the factory that produces all of our organic cotton products has been an eye opening experience, on the scale of talent, technique and the many hands that go into delivering the high quality Outwest garments that have become a staple in my wardrobe, even on my days off!

Outwest is a brand that has community and quality at the core of it’s being, and is run by two of the most kind, down to earth, and inspiring people that I have had the pleasure of working with. The year has been an education in turning ideas into realities, the importance of actions to back words and a crash course in how to run a growing business.

In 2024 we have a year of exciting developments ahead at Outwest, and I am really looking forward to the part that I get to play in that.

Ciúin Tracey 

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