Who is Carl Thompson?
A very deep an existential question to kick us off. Well technically if you Google Carl Thompson (yes, I know, vanity is the devils favourite sin) then Wikipedia will tell you Carl Thompson is a retired British Cruiserweight champion. It might also point you towards Carl Thompson the UK’s heaviest man who tragically died in 2015.
Amidst the melee of Carl’s is little old me. A surveyor of men’s fashion, a lifestyle blogger and YouTuber that has a fixation on trying to convince my male counterparts that there is more to fashion than logos, athleisure and the saturated denim and polo combo.
How did you start on your creative journey?
I had a great head start with my IT background. One of the biggest questions I still get asked by my friends is ‘can I help set up their blog?’ They struggle with the IT side of things, which is understandable because if you don’t speak the language, then everything takes twice as long.
I think the biggest fallacy is that people believe that if they start blogging, they’ll make money instantly. That brands will throw freebies and press trips their way because they tag them in posts and get a couple of holiday pics wearing their products.
In truth it takes a lot of time to develop trust and relationships with brands. I must have been buying and tagging Reiss clothing for 5 years before I did a collaboration feature with them last year.
But how did I get started on my creative journey? Initially I was just looking to drive more traffic to Hawkins and Shepherd, so I started writing about fashion and the things that interested me. I started emptying all my fashion thoughts, everything I had stashed away. Eventually it turned into what everyone else now does, a blog.
I enjoyed the process back then, I was writing prolifically, developing my knowledge base and building relationships with like-minded folk. The blog soon developed into something separate and I was keen to olive branch into sub genres such as travel, cars etc. Now we have Carl Thompson the blog, it’s just grown like a separate limb. I like to think of that limb as a very muscular bicep that’s covered in arm butter.
What makes you want to get up on a morning?
At the moment I’m very driven by fitness. I’m going to KOBOX at least 5 times a week and like to get my fitness chores done early in the day while I have the energy. My Charlie also needs to get out of the house, an alarm clock is surplus to requirements when you have a dog.
Other than that I’m very ambitious, have plenty of plates and projects on the go at once so need to crack on. I listen to a lot of Jocko Willink podcasts who talks about the enemy getting the jump on you by getting up early. There’s plenty of bloggers, YouTubers, influencers out there that are all looking to make their own way in life. Whilst I don’t see them as enemies, a part of me thinks I can’t let them get the jump on me. I need to get out in front.
Ideal brand to work with down the line?
I’d love to work on something with Tom Ford. He was a great source of inspiration for me starting my own brand. I do collaborate on his grooming range, and that’s amazing. His private blends are out of this world. It would be amazing for him to call me one day and say ‘Carl, I love your work. I love your face and beard. You’re clearly a man with style and I want to put a suit on you. I want you to design the suit with me. Sky’s the limit. I’ll have my man pick you up in an hour and we’ll have coffee at the Dorchester to discuss it.’
Where will we see you in 5 years?
I’m hoping my brand Hawkins & Shepherd will have concessions in department stores. I’d love to do some design collaborations with brands that I admire. Other than that I’m not entirely sure. Maybe I might become a personal trainer as I’m enjoying my KOBOX so much.
Any pet peeves?
I don’t know. Fashion wise I’m quite reticent to tell people that certain things should never have been worn.
I’m not a fan of big logos and athleisure wear being worn in inappropriate settings. I believe one should always respect a dress code, or just not bother turning up.
If we’re talking pet peeves in general, don’t be late. If you’re 15 minutes late to a lunch, I leave or I start eating without you.
Advice to aspiring bloggers and creators out there?
Become a morning person. Be prepared to do a lot of work for free. You need to be a one man band at times. A cameraman, a writer, videographer, a podcaster. Read as much as you can, do your research.
Don’t sling mud on social media. It’s a race to the bottom. Don’t follow the people that annoy you. Don’t concentrate on what others are doing, or question what they’re getting paid.
Try and find a niche, have a different angle. If you’re just going to replicate what others are doing you’ll never get ahead.