We chat to Kris Goodbody about his lifestyle, surf and travel brand BigStyle
From learning from mistakes and utilising social media, Kris Goodbody from BigStyle seems to have found the perfect work life balance. He also has an extensive background in travelling and watersports qualifications from lifeguard to coasteering guide. Kris has been working in the watersports industry for over 10 years. He lives on the HMS Stíl Mór in Grand Canal Dock.How does he do it? Read on!
What’s the hardest thing about running your own business?
Every business needs someone to drive it, to be the engine, and I suppose having to play that role no matter what you’re up against or how you feel can be deeply draining.
Even in year seven of running BigStyle, surrounded by the best staff imaginable I still feel like taking my eye off the ball for any real amount of time is out of the question.
The thing is though, at this stage I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I didn’t need to be the engine. I’d probably be bored in a week.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I reckon it just comes from listening to people, an idea will always come to me (and probably to all of us) from somebody else.
It could come as an offhand comment that sparks the beginning of a train of thought, or it might come as a fully formed idea ready to be put straight into action.
Obviously, the more varied the people we surround ourselves with the more varied the chats, ideas and inspiration will become. Saying that while the chat that inspired the inception of BigStyle was with an Italian-Kenyan adventurer called Boris while standing in the Indian Ocean, the chat that inspired our Lodge in Co Mayo was with my Mum in our family kitchen in Monkstown over a biscuit.
Do you think social media is a help or a hindrance?
A help in almost every way for business, a hindrance in almost every way for personal life.
I’ve often tried to imagine how businesses could have got off the ground before the days of social media and internet searches. Advertising is now affordable and goes directly to your target market, your Instagram is now your shopfront and people can find you instantly.
Personally, though I try to avoid it when possible. No matter how good I’m feeling about myself all I need to do is spend a cool 15 minutes on Instagram to take the wind out of my sails.
Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Absolutely not. I was never that lad around school buying sweets from the shop and selling them at a profit to the other kids, business or entrepreneurship never entered my head as an option. I always wanted to be a war correspondent, wearing a bulletproof vest with UN on the front reporting live from Kabul.
Business for me has always been a series of fun, challenging projects that, in hindsight, were steps gradually leading myself and BigStyle to this point… and that’s how I want it to continue.
What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“Enjoy the ride, the end goal’s a myth.”
I can’t remember who it was but it was just as I was setting up BigStyle, stuck with me ever since.
What have you learned over the years?
In founding and running BigStyle I feel I’ve gained more valuable practical experience of management, leadership and business in general than I could have in a decade of studying business in University.
Though much more importantly (and cornily) the main thing I’ve learned is self-belief. Every one of those little incremental steps I mentioned before gave me a little jolt of self-confidence whereby today I’d take on projects and challenges that I wouldn’t have dreamed of a few years before. Except for learning how to use Microsoft Excel, I cannot for the life of me get my head around Excel.
If you could go back and do it all again would you change anything?
Honestly, I reckon I’d change very little. I feel a bit like a chef who’s put together a brilliant recipe on the fly but didn’t write down the ingredients. I don’t know if I could do it again.
Maybe I shouldn’t have grown that moustache back in 2016 though.
What’re your plans for the future?
BigStyle wants to expand the operation in Dun Laoghaire as we’re feeling a bit imbalanced with our presence in the west of Ireland vs our home in Dublin.
The plan is to open a surf shop, coffee shop, yoga studio and stand up paddleboarding school all under the same roof near to Dun Laoghaire Harbour – bring a bit of the buzz we’ve created out in Mayo back to Dublin town.
Then I want to consolidate our gains, streamline the business and then ease back slightly so I can focus on the good things in life which are (in no particular order): surfing, a bit of travel, knocking around with friends and family and taking on new and exciting projects potentially outside of BigStyle.