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Shoebox Benson, leading from the front.

If we wait until the day Shoei officially leaves the army to start sorting our sh*t out, we've left it wayyyyyyy to late! We know he's leaving the army, we know that he wants to work with young people and we know that the time is now.

I'm writing this as the kids are back at school and most of them have been off for around 6 months already. That it in itself is going to cause issues but add that to the current situation where whole year groups are being sent home for 2 weeks, back in and then could possible be back home for a fortnight - we are not going to know whether we are coming or going, routine and structure a thing of the past and this is going to have a massive impact on everyone's lives but especially on the lives of children and young people, on their education and on their mental health. If Shoei wants to help young people struggling, there is no time like the present. He had the Whysup experience before deciding to leave the army and there was talk of a future collaboration but he needed something to get his teeth into, something to believe in. He needed to know where he was heading.

It is not hard to set up a company, I've had one for years but I felt that, coming from the army, from the belonging, if Shoei wasn't just going to go and work for a company, he had to believe in 'his' company. I know that seems weird because you would think that everyone believes in their own company but it needed to have its own identity, set apart from but intertwined with him as a person. Branding was key. We had a-hundred-and-one ideas going around our heads about what the business may be, what it might turn into but the baseline was that Shoei needed to feel from it - and it needed to emit - the sense of brotherhood he had with the army. This new venture is never / was never going to be just Shoei, it is going to evolve and grow with Shoebox Benson leading from the front.

We had previously heard of Tim Marner, a local branding business that seemed on a level so we messaged him and arranged to have a chat, over Zoom, about working with his company to brand the new business. We were so nervous, we didn't even really know what we wanted. God help Tim haha. We were literally at the very beginning of an idea, no business plan, no business name, nothing! Tim asked us all kinds of questions, pulling out of us the information he required and questioning some of our ideas which was a really good thing to do as it helped us start to find the path that we needed to be on. We filled out some further information for Tim around the kind of person we wanted to work with and then Tim went to work and we sat waiting. Waiting for something for Shoei to get his teeth into. Waiting for a company name that we could register. Waiting for something that we could actually start to work on.

And then, as if by pure Tim Marner magic, on the 12th June 2020 we had a name, we had an identity and we had something that could grow with us and we could not wait to get started. Pheniks Division had been born. 💪

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