Muzo Works CEO, Darren Buttle and company Marketing Director, Andrew Buttle (also vocalist for A Joker’s Rage) discuss mental health in the business and furniture world and the brand’s goals for 2021.
Being at the head of a successful company can have its ups and downs, but how does Muzo Works bossman Darren Buttle focus on success and maintaining a positive outlook on life? “By having great people around me,” says Darren. He expands on what he means by saying: “I’m only sat here today because I’m surrounded by great people, and those people keep me grounded, they’re great advisors.” He also says that too many company bosses detach themselves from being part of the team and that he is hands-on with a lot of things, whether that be sweeping the floors or running the business.
For a bit of background, the company Darren founded, called Muzo (or Muzo Works) is all about creating furniture designed to help the physical environments that people find themselves in while learning and make them more beneficial to the learning environment. Being at the helm of Muzo for 24 years is a massive accomplishment. Andrew is also a man of many talents; he is the vocalist for A Jokers Rage and is the marketing director at Muzo.
We ask Andrew the same question around success, to which he responded that you shouldn’t focus on people who bring negativity into your life. Speaking of his dad’s answer, he agrees by saying, “I think we share a common perspective on how to achieve success.” He shares some personal health issues he suffers from, including health anxiety. “I realised I had to make some changes in my life to prove my health and my physical fitness and things like that, change the way I see myself.” Indeed, Andrew defines overcoming this as a success, with some inspirational words on what it did for himself and can do for other people. “So this year for me, success has been defined by overcoming fears and overcoming challenges and learning about the strength that I have inside, and learning that we have this power, all of us to overcome these situations mentally and physically.”
Asking Darren a similar question about mental health, he adds: “If you’ve got worries, concerns, self- doubt, we all have. Whether you’re running a multimillion-dollar business like me or a mobile disco, or you’re in a band, you have doubts. If you can do things that you enjoy, that can help you overcome some of these doubts.”
In terms of big life choices, Andrew faced a herculean one. When he was 27, his partner had become pregnant, and he immediately felt like he couldn’t cope because he didn’t have a steady income. He and his partner planned to terminate the baby, but after calling Darren, who convinced him that he should keep the baby. After that conversation, Andrew and his partner talked amongst themselves and cancelled the termination. “Now, I have an eight-year-old son, who I’m responsible for and who I have to raise and learn about every day.”
Personal development is another theme we come back to in the interview, and when we ask, we get very informative answers from the father, son duo. “If it’s all easy around you, you don’t become the guy in Chicago, you get all cosy, and you end up bored in life. So make it uncomfortable, don’t get cosy, get out there and enjoy your life,” enthuses Darren. Andrew has similar advice, “One thing I’ve learned is that there are many more paths than you realise when you’re going down one path, for example, I’ve learned that it’s never too late to switch paths, even when you feel like you’ve committed to something.”
During these still uncertain times Muzo still stands by its unique mission statement. “To stay on course for the transformation of education for all, that’s my passion in life, and that’s what gets me out of bed every day,” says Darren. He wants to enable a better life for the children in the schools and the adults in work. Andrew successfully follows up with “It’s not a goal based on strategy; it’s a goal based on heart.” The pandemic has made a lot of companies panic, but not Muzo. The company still believe what they stand for and want to push on ahead into the future, all the while being more hands-on than other companies. “We don’t look at what everyone else is doing, we go talk to the teacher, we talk to the student, we talk to the health experts,” says Andrew.
With a strong company, many dedicated employees and a dynamic father and son duo at the helm, the future still seems bright for the team at Muzo.
Interview: Dom Smith / Words: Brett Herlingshaw