1. How did your startup/business journey begin?
By accident. Back in 2004 - I took what I thought would be a year off work (renovating an old house to keep me occupied) while I worked out what I wanted to do next. After 3 years my wife said enough is enough and found me a part time Marketing Manager job at Brandconnect. This would allow me to finish the renovation (which had transformed into a major project). After six months the owner was looking to sell the business, and we bought it.
2. What are you working on at the moment?
The promo industry is one of the last that has largely been shielded from digital disruption. Partly because placing a logo on a product is a physical process and may involve many decorators and suppliers. The market is also diverse with many needs (merchandise sales for not profits to company uniforms). Add complexities such as quantity discounts, multiple decoration options, production times (China versus local) which tends to lead to distributors specializing in market segments.
Quoting is a time consuming and complicated process. As supplier data is now becoming available in a common and digital format and with API technology, it’s now possible to link supplier directly data to custom built web stores. This means product pricing and stock quantities are accurate which cuts out the quoting process. Thrown in drop shipping and automated order processing software the entire process can be stripped down and many overheads removed. This means we will be extremely competitive and efficient. We are close to finalising our API links with suppliers and making our website easier to search and use. We aim to have the best promo website in Australia by August.
3. What do you love about being a part of the Spacecubed community?
We moved into Spacecubed to meet people and be part of their community. We love chatting to people and learning about their businesses and their particular journey. We also love that everything is supplied. We don't have to think about infrastructure or consumables.
4. Can you share with us one of your favourite success stories?
We have so many. We have worked with so many great corporate brands or so many campaigns all across Australia. We have run company merchandise stores for iiNet, Bankwest, St. John of God, Wesfarmers, Western Power and many more. Probably our greatest success has come from our strong IT focus and skills. All our systems and webstore technology has been built in-house over the past ten years. This means everything from our job management system, our website, accounting, CRM etc. are integrated. It's been a monster to build but has been a great achievement and is a great asset and is behind all we do.
5. What do you hope to achieve in 2019?
1. Finish off the Brandconnect website and API. Our ultimate vision is a customer can place an order on the site which will flow through to to supplier with purchase orders etc.
2. Launch a new Reseller service called Brandengine. Given we have the technology and firepower we plan to offer this to businesses that often sell promotional items on an adhoc basis as part of their service offering (eg Printers, Event companies, Ad Agencies etc). They will get wholesale pricing and an online solution that puts them in control. Brandengine will launch in July.
3. We have a 3D printing supplies business called X3D. We will be launching a new range of recycled filaments in July which will mean 3D printing will be totally sustainable and good for the environment and user.
Want to get in contact to Mark? You can learn more about Brandconnect here and reach Mark on LinkedIn here.
If you’ve got an amazing startup story you’d like to share with us, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org, we’d love to hear from you!