Episode 37 - The Best Fish Sticks in the Business with Ibbotson Drums


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Frustrated working for others, Paul was looking for a change. It didn't come without trial and error though, working a wide range of jobs, trying to work out what he wanted to do. No matter what he did, his mind kept gravitating back to starting his own business. When it came to investing his efforts in a possible trade, working for someone else, Paul made the decision rather to invest in himself and what he is passionate about. Drumming and metal.

Leaning on his years of experience as a metal drummer playing in a number of bands, Paul has used his knowledge of drumming as well as his existing networks to create a grass roots business that caters directly for the demographic he comes from. This gives him a genuine and organic approach where people can instantly trust his business, understanding that this is something that is important to Paul and he has the knowledge and experience to back it up.

It's only been a few months in but Paul has hit the ground running. Creating an overarching brand of Ibbotson Drums and focusing on his first product, Fishsticks, he's been able to reach the interest of a wide range of accomplished drummers who have jumped on board as endorsees of the brand. He's created apparel and is actively pushing his business out across his existing networks which is starting to naturally grow though word of mouth and recommendations.

Paul's ideas are without limit and with a parent brand created, he will start to introduce new products and services as time rolls on. He's here for the long term and he's made sure that it's set up to allow plenty of room to grow, in any direction.

What did you learn from this episode? Here's some of my key takeaways;

1. Be confident in who you are - Wear your passions and your identify on your sleeve. Not everyone has to like what you like and you're not catering for the masses. There's enough business to go around. If you're genuine in what you do and have a real passion for your craft then it will be a magnet for not only people who share your interests but you may find people outside of your circles showing curiosity in what you are doing. Paul's domain is the metal drummer, but he's already found people outside of the metal genre showing interest in his products.

2. Parent company gives you options - Paul created Ibbotson drums as a parent company to allow him to create as many different products/brands as he desires. He's started with Fishsticks and is his main focus, however as he said in the chat "the sky's the limit". You don't need to do everything all at once, but it's good to think ahead and create foundations so that you have flexibility in the long term.

3. Taking a page from a different book - Paul has created merchandise that accompanies his branding which I think gives him room to create 'lifestyle branding' where people want to wear the logo and be a part of the imagery and ethics of what his business is all about. Paul shared that he has come from a skater background where a lot of his approaches when it comes to apparel have come from and been inspired by that industry. His branding isn't around skating culture but he's been able to fuse ideas and claw out inspiration from another market and apply it to his own.

4. Endorsements - Can you create an advocate? If you have people who are passionate about your product, consider an endorsement where you take care of selected advocates (or these days often referred to as influencers) in exchange for discounted or free products/services. It's an agreement that goes both ways so be selective in the people you choose and make sure that value is being provided in both ways. Paul has a growing list of endorsees with their own public profile who swear by his product and spread the word for him. He even has a section on his website where prospective endorsees can complete a form and read up about what to expect if they wish to enquire about an endorsement so that expectations are set from the outset.

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Location – Sydney, New South Wales

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