16/07/2008 - 22:00

Flexibility key for shirt printer

16/07/2008 - 22:00


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Online shirt printing business, cheekyteez.com.au, was born after Paul Morris had an idea for customised kids wear on Christmas Day in 2006.

Online shirt printing business, cheekyteez.com.au, was born after Paul Morris had an idea for customised kids wear on Christmas Day in 2006.

A t-shirt labelled 'It's all about me', was given to his son as a gift, which triggered Mr Morris to start researching the business idea over the following 12 months.

"To really research the market place took a year, because there is quite a lot of competition out there," Mr Morris said.

The business, which is run out of Mr Morris' home, allows customers to create and preview their own shirt designs online, with a wide range of styles and colours available.

Mr Morris said the ability of the website to allow customers to upload images and see their very own design seconds later, was a niche market he was trying to target.

After 15 years in the advertising and marketing industry, Mr Morris said the online business was a perfect fit to his lifestyle, allowing him to run his business and play "Mr Mum" simultaneously.

"I wanted to work from home and be able to spend time with the little one," Mr Morris told WA Business News.

Originally intended to target kids wear, Mr Morris found that corporate demand for his customised clothing began to grow, a market that he had not initially considered.

"The flexibility to see the market and see that I could actually meet that market in a niche area [was important]," Mr Morris said.

"I was getting all these corporate orders coming through, so now the goal is to keep expanding that... but it's not where I [initially] did my business planning or research."

Mr Morris adapted his business plan to cater for both kids wear and corporate clothing, with demand growing from companies wanting shirts for corporate days and team building events.

While adapting to a new market base, the company also stuck to its initial idea of producing shirt runs of 30 or less from his home, with larger orders and specialist designs being outsourced to screen printers or industry suppliers.

Mr Morris said that a mentor at the Stirling Small Business Centre helped him realise that changing or deviating from his original business plan was part of growth and that there were plenty of options from which his company could expand.

The Stirling Small Business Ce-ntre is a not-for-profit organisation that offers business advice, resources and workshops for new or existing small business owners.

Stirling Small Business Centre chief executive David Morris (no relation to Paul Morris) said that while many different individuals visit the centre with a wide range of great ideas, often they have not fully thought through every aspect of the business, which is where the organisation helps.

"There are as many days in the year as there are different people that come in with different ideas," David Morris said.

"If you look at the psychological characteristics of someone who is entrepreneurial they tend to be impatient, have a low attention span and they tend to be easily distracted."

"These people often have really great ideas, but they've only thought through what really interests them...but not the other side, like accounting for example. It's something they quite often forget."

Paul Morris established his one-man operation through the New Enterprise Initiative Scheme (NEIS), which provides eligible job seekers with training and financial assistance.

With no experience in the clothing and textile industry, Paul Morris said that establishing relationships with local suppliers, including screen printers and shirt providers, was a key aspect to running the business successfully.



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