2016 was The Wonky Chair’s first year as a trading business. Now the year has ended, we think it is an appropriate time to assess our progression and development during our first three months.
Before setting up our business, it was easy to imagine how a business should run, but it is not until you actually start it, that you realise how much work and time goes into establishing a new business. In honesty, all three of us at The Wonky Chair Design Studio had very little understanding of business because ultimately we are designers. The majority of what we have achieved in terms of business has been taught to us as we do it, or shortly before! To say it has been an expediential learning curve would be an understatement.
The aspects of setting up a business, which on the surface seem like they would be relatively quick and straightforward, turned out to be full of lengthy processes that are difficult to get right first time and even the second! The perfect example of this would be the branding. Tom has said regularly that the hardest part about the branding is being ‘fully consistent with it across all platforms and from all aspects’. Some might consider that branding may seem like a lower priority when setting up a business but for us, good branding is essential. At the end of the day, initial impressions can be the only thing between new customers and us.
So far the hardest part of running a business, for us, has been getting into a business mentality and making sure you consistently upkeep that strong mentality week in – week out. Its scary waking up every morning with the first thought of the day being ‘How are we going to make money today?’, ‘How do we progress further as a business?’, ‘How do we make a living out of this?’, ‘How will we reach this deadline?’.
This leads us nicely onto how we have sold and how we have found jobs. So far we’ve been fortunate to have had a lot of initial interest from people which has led to a few good jobs. During week three of our set up we were approached by a set designer who was working on a Ted Baker Christmas advert. They were interested in our CNC specialities and asked us to produce some CNC plywood reindeers to use as props. (see link below)
After this job was finished we decided that we would make the reindeers to sell as Christmas decorations over the festive period. We spent endless days on St Marys street selling reindeers out of a Christmas market shed. Despite the long and cold days, they were a big hit with shoppers and that fuelled us with the motivation to continue working hard to accomplish our goals. Things began to pick up towards the Christmas period, where we were running three jobs back to back. Which in fact became very over-whelming but we were just happy to see our business finally picking up traction.
To conclude this assessment, we can truly say it has been a hard few months of rapid progression. We are sure the next few will be even harder as we try to expand but we would like to thank everybody who has been involved with us, whether it be mentors, customers, friends and family, for supporting us through our first few months as a newly established business.