I hate to admit this, but I first saw this quote on the back of some guy’s t-shirt:
I quickly snapped a picture of it on my phone so that I'd remember it. All these years later, it’s become a quote I return to constantly.
Owning a small business in 2024 and living in NYC means perpetually feeling like you’re not doing or moving fast enough. Trend and product cycles are turning over faster than ever and I feel it both as a consumer and creator. The pace can feel disheartening and exhausting.
This quote has become a core mantra for me and my work at Abel, one that helps me focus on one of my foundational values: creating work that outlives trends and stands the test of time.
It’s a common shared experience for creatives to look at old work and feel embarrassed by what we thought was “good” at the time. Even if you’re not in a creative field, I’m sure you can relate to the experience of seeing a photograph of yourself wearing an outfit you wouldn’t be caught dead in today.
I find that the longer I own something — whether it’s a well-loved piece of clothing, a bag, an object, or even a cherished coffee mug — the greater satisfaction I feel when I use it. I shocked myself the other day when I realized one of the winter coats I wear most often is 14 years old… it’s as old as a full-blown teenager!
The dopamine hit you get when buying something new is exciting and fleeting, but the gratification of continuing to love something you already own is fulfilling and enduring.
As someone who makes physical products, I pose a similar challenge to myself when creating — is this design a knee-jerk response to a trend I’m seeing, or do I actually think this has long-term value? Does this piece add a unique voice to the landscape, or am I just contributing to the pile of what’s deemed popular?
A few months ago, an editor who reviewed my Core Collection asked which pieces of mine were new and I sheepishly admitted that a lot of the pieces I currently sell are ones I first released in 2017. In the moment I felt embarrassed by this fact and was worried that this lack of novelty might make my collection less appealing to write about from an editorial perspective.
That editor never ended up writing about me so perhaps my concern was valid. More importantly, however, upon further reflection I realized I’m actually proud of the very thing I had felt shame about. Those pieces I originally launched with — I still think they’re worth selling, people are still buying them, and I myself continue to love wearing them. It’s a testament to their timelessness.
So whenever I start beating myself up about how long I’ve been working on a piece, or for not launching new styles often enough, this quote serves as a steadfast reminder of my ultimate aim.
If I’m making something timeless, what’s the rush?