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Six Months In

Things have been as busy as ever, the year is rocketing by and it’s getting colder. I’m remembering what a Melbourne winter is like. I started Mr Draper just over six months ago and I’m having a little bit of a reality check as to how the business is growing.

I’m a glass half full kind of guy; I’m generally very positive and usually get carried away with just about everything I do. It doesn’t take long to get stars in my eyes. I guess that was the case with my business plan and budget I drew up last year before starting. I planned for a conservative start followed by, what now seems like a meteoric rise. Within a year I would own a yacht and have an army of boston terriers at my disposal, within two, a private jet… Not really, but you get the excitement of starting a new business…

Reflecting back on my plan and forecast I’m amazed at how much I’ve learnt. Initially I was a little disheartened by where I’m at. I’m not making the big dollars yet; I still have a part time job to help with bills and cash flow. I’m not able to travel or buy as much stuff from other makers as I would like. I do have to keep an eye on my bank account and do an extra shift here or there to cover the spikes. First world problems I know, but problems all the same.

It’s easy to get caught up in it all, there does seem to be a lot of people starting stuff all around us. Usually the only stories you hear (or choose to hear) are the successful ones. That new whatsaname app that just sold for 20 bajillion dollars six months after launch...  That new label that is just crushing it. Thinking about that stuff and comparing yourself to others is not useful, but we still do it. It can get lonely being a one person business. The grass always seems a little greener…

I snap myself out of it pretty quick. It’s only been about six months. Look at what your doing. Look at the awesome people you’ve met. Look at the feedback you’ve received. You own your own time damnit! You have a plan. 

The last month or two feels like the momentum is turning. I’m feeling that things are starting to stick. People are getting what I’m trying to do. The dream is slowly turning into reality.

I have a few things on the boil for the coming months. The photos from my shoot will be done, as will a bunch of product photography. This will see my random iPhone product photos be replaced with professional shots.  Using the same photos I’ll put my new website / shop live, this should make the buying experience a little easier and better showcase what I’m doing.

I’m taking part in the Finders Keepers market, my fist ‘big’ craft market. I was lucky enough to get a sponsored stall. I have the challenge of showcasing my range in a 1.5 X 1.5 meter space… I guess I’m going upwards. 

I’m moving into a proper studio. I’m taking a bit of risk and moving out of my current space (the spare room at home) and into a proper making space. I’ll finally be able to have a full size cutting table which will be fricken amazing. Working with the fabric for a king sized doona on the kitchen table is tough...

It’s only been six months but I just want to say thank you to everyone that has stuck by me. Thank you to my partner, to all the friends that have done photoshoots for free or helped me build websites. Thanks to the folks who’ve manned the stall so I can take a pee break.  Thank you to the people in the industry that have given me your time (or houses). Thank you to all the people that have bought something and are helping to make this dream happen.

  • Post author
    Alistair Birrell

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