Courtney Ray, founder of Daily Bloom

How three Aussie start-ups were founded in three ways

Pauline Morrissey

How many times have you stumbled across an idea and thought to yourself, “that would make for a great business, maybe I should take the initiative and turn it into a reality?” In most cases, what typically follows is, well – nothing.

Most great ideas dissipate over time because people don’t have the resources, money, and above all, courage to take action. Even for those that do, the risk of that business idea going astray is relatively high. But regardless of these odds, ideas are manifested everyday by people who have nurtured them into successful start-ups – and they take shape in a variety of ways, for different reasons. Here's three of them: 

The side-step

Perhaps the most organic way a creative start-up is likely to come about is through a natural progression from a previous and similar career path. This was the case for Melbourne-based Ben Lawry, founder and director of Art Club Concept, who during a trip to the coast of Bali, experienced a lightbulb moment regarding combining the experience he gained from spending a decade within the fashion industry with his other passion for interior design.

“I thought, now more than ever, the home has become a further extension of fashion; a way to represent personal identity and style, so I decided to tap into that,” Lawry says.

Twelve months after his “ahuh moment,” Art Club Concept was born in early 2015; a homeware brand that gives a nod to both fashion and art.

In just over a year, Lawry has turned his one man team into a team of four and with products stocked throughout many established homeware stores within Australia.

The complete 180

Whilst the development of start-ups such as Lawry’s can seem like a flawless transition from a previous career, other ventures are not so much a sidestep, but rather, a complete 180. Take entrepreneur, Courtney Ray of DAILY Blooms, who after many years of working within the corporate world, took a chance on starting her own online floristry business.

“I was working over 60 hours per week and was virtually inseparable from my desk. I found myself falling out of love with my job,” Ray says. “I grew up on a farm on the Bellarine Penninsula, where I was surrounded by beautiful gardens and bunches of freshly cut blooms that filled our house. In contrast, I now live in a city apartment, and whilst I do my best to grow herbs and flowers on a small balcony, it’s pitiful by comparison.”

After deciding to take action, DAILY Blooms was born in 2014; delivering locally grown flowers to homes and workplaces.

Since its launch in Melbourne two years ago, the business has now expanded in Sydney and is currently delivering to 641 suburbs, with plans to continue expansion into every capital city in Australia.

The eureka moment

Passion aside, other successful start-up ideas are born by simply identifying a solution for a very common problem. A great example of this is husband and wife Sydney-based duo, Dean Jones and Audrey Khaing-Jones, founder of GlamCorner, both of whom have come from the finance industry.

“A lot of people find it surprising how we've built this business given we had zero experience in the fashion or technology industry before we launched,” says Jones.

“Attending regular work-related formal events was part of our job. Dean was able to rent a tux from the traditional formalwear outlets, whilst I continued to find myself standing in front of a wardrobe full of clothes with nothing to wear. I was tired of spending money on items that I would only end up wearing once.”

After searching online for "rent women's dresses", Audrey discovered a company in the US called Rent The Runway which rented out high-end designer label dresses on-demand. Dean and Audrey quickly realised that this was an incredible idea that solved a real and frequent problem for a lot of women and questioned why nobody had yet built a similar service in Australia. Due to this realisation, GlamCorner was born in late 2012.

The company has since grown to a staff of eight and went on to secure early-stage funding of $1.3M raised to take their business to the next level. The team plans to revolutionise the online retail market in Australia.

Pauline Morrissey

Pauline is a Sydney-based journalist for Domain and is frequently featured amongst various Fairfax Media mastheads including The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.