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Why successful entrepreneurs become leaders in their own right

The hidden strength of an entrepreneur comes from their very being and the path that they walk.
By Brian Quebengco |

Jeremy Moon is the founder of a small company called Icebreaker that placed New Zealand’s merino wool on the map. And after 15 years, Icebreaker now has offices in eight countries, buys a quarter of New Zealand’s merino wool, and exports clothing to 30 countries with millions of customers around the world. His is a story of a young man who had a single experience that ignited his enthusiasm and changed his life forever.

 

Moon recalls: “When I started Icebreaker, I was 24, broke, and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. But I was driven by a passion for what I saw was possible, and a belief that I could make it happen. That passion was ignited by a meeting with a merino sheep farmer. Across the dining table, he threw me a T-shirt made from a merino wool fabric he’d designed himself. I thought, ‘Wow! This is an amazingly beautiful, practical, natural material. This is a product I could sell around the world.’ I had no idea how a business based on merino wool could work, but I had a strong feeling that I could make it happen.“I buried myself for two months in my bedroom, setting out how I could build an international brand from New Zealand. This took vision.

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“I screwed up the courage to quit my job and borrow seed money. The going was slow. It took five years to get a sense of what I was doing. Those years were pure desire and perseverance. I put in huge amounts of hard work and faced equally huge amounts of frustration and angst. I worked 70 to 100 hours a week. I had to commit myself totally to the business because if it failed, I would have been bankrupt. Never once did I lose my ability to see the big picture. I never doubted that it was possible to succeed. My mantra was ‘This will work if I don’t screw it up.’ I took full responsibility for my future.”

 


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