We began as “Few and Far Collective” - an art-driven fashion brand born from humble beginnings, with no experience, background or resources in the fashion industry - just forged from love and passion. The brand was founded by Steen Jones and his love for the tattoo industry, culture and lifestyle. His goal was simple: to create a brand that gave a damn about quality, understood the importance of consistency and to fill a gap in the market for a brand that gave tattoo artists from around the globe a platform to design iconic products. Few and Far Collective had a clear focus of quality over quantity through creating unique, timeless and well-made goods.
In a short time Few and Far Collective became widely recognised as one of the pioneering and leading tattoo-influenced brands in the world. For Steen though, it wasn’t all glory. The day-to-day and back-to-back pressures of running a dynamic, fast growing brand wasn’t easy. The fashion industry can be turbulent and ruthless, and when coupled with the steep learning curves, responsibilities, stresses and risks of running your own business, these demands really began to take their toll. The more successful the brand became, the harder it was for Steen and his team to sustain it.
Between taking risks that didn’t always pay off, exploring other dream projects at the same time (like Deathproof Bar) and learning the hard way that you can’t always rely on, believe in or trust others when it comes to business and money (sadly), Steen was constantly burning the candle at both ends. Often at the cost of his personal health and relationships, Steen pushed through these challenges for as long as he could until he was ultimately just spread too thin and felt himself starting to burn out. Even after pulling back from active advertising, the Few and Far Collective website was still getting over 10,000 visits per month. Suddenly it seemed like the success of the business was at the cost of everything else important in life.
After 7 amazing years of hard work, life lessons, new friendships and hard-earned rewards, Steen came to the inevitable conclusion that it was time to retire Few and Far Collective as the brand known and loved around the world. But rather than shutting up shop, Steen decided to swallow his pride, cut his losses, make a fresh and get back to his roots - by creating a platform for all artists to collaborate, share and inspire. And with that, Few and Far Co. was born.
A note from Steen himself
I'm not gonna lie, experiencing everything mentioned above and ultimately accepting the reality of the situation is quite a moving one for me. While I am proud of myself for being able to swallow my pride, move the ego to the side and admit and share this publicly, Few and Far Collective has been such a massive part of me for so many years - it helped me shape and create who I am today, and it’s hard to let go of that. This said, I know myself better than anyone and I truly believe in my ability to excel at and overcome whatever life throws at me - so I say goodbye to the brand from a good place, knowing that we defied all odds, carved our own path and earned a good reputation and the respect of many. In many ways we have made positive changes to the industry that I love and have dedicated my life to and I am incredibly proud of that.
One of the biggest things that I'll take away from this chapter of my life is the importance of chasing your own happiness and not getting obsessed, pressured or infatuated with the riches or the “perks”. I'm not saying I ever did this for money, but as with all business, things got to the point where I HAD to make A LOT of money just in order to survive - to keep moving forward, and for me that’s where my passion started to stray.
Many people may not know this but on the same day I started Few and Far Collective the brand, I also started freelancing as an independent artist. At the beginning when I was so motivated to keep creating and work harder than I ever have, the growing pressure and responsibilities all seemed manageable. But it didn’t take long for it to push me into an uncomfortable place where I had to put my passions and personal endeavours to the side just to ensure Few and Far Collective could stay afloat. Things progressively got more hectic and stressful and I was losing energy, motivation and good health by the day. It wasn’t sustainable and it led me to a place of unhappiness - but I wasn’t prepared to go down like that.
It could have all ended as a sad story with a bad ending. Admittedly some days it felt like that was exactly where we were going to end up. But then something happened. I was painting a mural in Scotland, watching the devastating Australian bushfires in early 2020 from afar and I was feeling helpless and confused. But then I realised there was something I could do - I could donate the entire remaining catalogue of Few and Far Collective stock to those in need, those that had literally lost everything but the clothes on their back. It was only a small gesture in the grand scheme of things but it was the start of something new. 24 hours later, Few and Far Collective didn’t have a garment to its name - and suddenly I no longer carried the weight and sadness that was my burden for so long.
I had left Australia to take a break from everything for a while - I needed to for myself and my mental health. I had already stepped back from using personal social media for almost a year and was taking on less and less work during this time.My trip came to an abrupt and traumatic end due to COVID-19 and heading home to no stock seemed overwhelming and scary. But then it dawned on me that even though I didn’t have any product left, what I did have was infrastructure, expertise and years of experience that would allow me to support other artists to release their work and secure revenue during these times of uncertainty. It was hard but I knew I had to cut the cord and focus on the future. And so here we are.
Lastly I just wanted to end this by reassuring you all that I’m fine - actually I’m doing great. Some of the personal stuff I’ve shared here probably comes to some of you as a shock, and even though I have been through tough times in the last couple of years, now I feel like a brand new person. Like a fresh version of the inspired, motivated and hungry weirdo artist that I was when I started all of this. I can honestly say that I’m finally ready to put my years of hard work, hard lessons and hard-earned results to the test and get back to being an artist, and to supporting other artists in return.
United we stand, divided we fall.