Oh boy, oh boy. We finally have a boy in the mix! Quite a crucial one, come to think of it. JM just doesn’t have the same ring to it. The ‘A’ in Jam is for Andrew. Andrew is, of course, so much more than just a vowel in this acronym. He is business owner, big brother and boss.
My first day at Jam, Andrew comes trotting round the corner to the store in his wetsuit, carrying his surfboard under his arm. Straight from the sea at Porthmeor, he opened the store with keys he fished out a nearby drainpipe (sorry Andrew, you’re going to have to find a new hiding place when this is out!). He went through the days to-do list whilst taking off his wetsuit, and I wasn’t sure whether to make notes or hold up his towel?! Open for business: Andrew lays his wetsuit outside the front of the shop to dry, ready for his second surf of the day, when he leaves me to close up. I thought to myself; finally I’ve found my people.
You can’t keep Andrew from the surf. He says, “you’d have to get rid of my boards (all five of them) and my wetsuits to stop me from going out”. Andrew is recovering from an injury and has just come from a personal training session with his physio. The orders are; he’s not allowed to do any strenuous physical activity for three weeks, at least. His health is paramount but then surfing is paramount for his health, so, the surfing stays. Andrew will, no doubt, follow his own set of rules. A characteristic I am getting used to.
If everyone else is in one place doing something, Andrew is probably busy elsewhere doing something else entirely. He feels like he’s never really fitted in anywhere. That’s because Andrew isn’t going to be shaped one particular way for one particular vocation. He is fluid, like water. Which means he can take on any shape or form and shift between forms. Some see it as skill; Andrew can put his hand to anything and he will most probably ace it. He will give whatever he needs to give to do the task, to go above and beyond. But people like this also need protecting. When people give so much of themselves, you need the people around you to have your back, people that love you, people that aren’t going to misuse your qualities or your genius. You need your family.
Jam is family. Literally. So Andrew has this incredible soft play arena to let his imagination soar to the sky and as wide. He can be bold. And crucially, he can act on his vision and turn his dreams into reality. How? Because Mark is there, Lynne is there, setting out the stepping-stones and ensuring a safe place for landing.
Andrew instinctively wants to go from level 1 to level 100. But it doesn’t work that way, as Andrew has come to realise; “you have to go through all the levels”. He literally explains it like a game where you need to find a certain number of gold coins on the level you are on that then allows you access to the next level and into a new part of the world you are creating. You have set backs too, and you find yourself in a part of the world you didn’t expect and you get stuck there for a while, but ultimately, with Mark and Lynne by your side, you will find a way and you will succeed to the next level. Before you know it you have a really great t –shirt that is comfy (level 1.1), stylish (level 1.2), quality (level 1.3) and all the rest, and you can finally move on to the sweatshirt (level 2). This is how Jam Industries was built from zero to the level they are on now (well, the simplified version and as you know, we like to simplify). But literally, they started at zero. "Better to fall off a small horse than a big one" – Andrew quotes Lynne. She was right, of course. After levels and levels and levels within levels, sure enough; they have a business that is profitable, a team that is flourishing and a product they can be truly proud of. It probably has also helped that Mark minds the pennies!
The game is far from over, it’s too much fun for one thing. If you are in the right game, you won’t stop playing. Designing clothing and running a business with his family is never going to get boring for Andrew. For Andrew, it’s not work; it’s fun.
So, what’s the end goal? Well, I don’t think it’s a big pot of money for Andrew. Of course, he likes his comforts, his clothing and his boards! But he has already achieved his goal of moving permanently to Cornwall. He has already met the woman of his dreams (in a one of the Jam stores, no less!). Al! And if any of you know Al, you will agree; she really is a dream! He repeats: I don’t believe in money. He effectively cut his salary by 80% when he quit his work in television and gave his full attention to Jam. He has never looked back and he has never felt more wealth. A penthouse might be a sign of success for some, but it would be wasted on Andrew, as he’s only interested in being at sea level.
So for the moment, it’s just about the adventures of the present (which he’s created from the future); collecting the right amount of 'gold coins' at each level in order to get to the next, discovering new worlds and riding the waves along the way. Oh and it looks like we are very close to getting to the final level of levels when it comes to products… cashmere! Boy, oh boy is it special…