Focus Magazine interview Part 2
What are you working on at the
Since moving to Port Macquarie, I have been on the wild ride of solopreneurship (not for the faint-hearted) and burned through all my savings in order to focus all my whacky creative ideas into the form of a business, Dolphin & Dog. I created Dolphin & Dog to be a pet/lifestyle brand that focuses on caring for the oceans and the land. Dolphin & Dog is an eco-friendly brand that offers unique and high-quality products, reflecting my perfectionist approach. I design everything myself and source the best materials and people to produce them. While it may take some time to bring my products to market, the end result is worth it, and I'm confident you'll appreciate the thought and hard work that goes into each item.
I built a hard rule into the brand, and that was that it had to be completely plastic-free when it comes to packaging. The plastic pollution issue the world is facing at the moment is something close to my heart, and I didn't want to be adding to that with my own single-use plastics. I have designed all packaging to be non-plastic and look to make all future products with this ethos in mind. But that wasn't enough just to be neutral, so I have teamed up with Landcare Australia and 15Trees. Every sale made on the site goes towards planting trees in Australia, allowing Dolphin & Dog to move towards being a carbon-positive brand.
The next step is to find an ocean charity that the brand can team up with and start making a difference in the problem we face with plastic pollution. This is the real driver of the business and not just a guy looking for a better source of income but knowing that I might actually be able to make a difference in the world if I work hard enough, of course. So the more that Dolphin & Dog succeeds, the more help I promise to the oceans and the environment we all live in.
Creating the brand allows me to roll all my loves into one and enables me to express my creativity not only in the form of a photograph or a painting but now as products that everyone can have a chance of owning that are unique to Dolphin & Dog. I have spent the last year or more designing a range of products and illustrated packaging from scratch while teaching myself every aspect of owning and running a business by myself. It hasn't been an easy feat, and I am now on a first-name basis with the guy at my local bottle shop.
What is on the horizon for you for the year ahead?
Hopefully, it will be a big year ahead with the launch of Dolphin & Dog, which will happen in the very near future. So keep your eyes peeled, everyone! I will be introducing my Soul Surfer range first, which has been a big secret until now. It's EXCLUSIVE! The range consists of wearables for your dogs and children, including dog coats and hoodies for all sizes of dogs, from Pomeranian to Great Dane, as well as surf ponchos for babies and children.. I will be putting on a market each week, and I'm super excited to get out and about, talking to all the locals and seeing everyone's reactions, whether good or bad! There are several more products planned, and two more ranges to launch, SHORELINE and BEACHBUM, by year-end. Pre-orders available on the website. The photography and painting will continue, of course, as that’s my inspiration and happy place, allowing me to escape from the currently required business me for a short space of time and providing me with my next idea.
What have been some of your highlights of your work looking back?
It has to be a time when I was doing fruit picking out at Stanthorpe here in Australia in order to get the 88 days farm work required for the visa. I was two and a half days into picking apples when I thought, “You must be joking if you think I'm doing this for another 85 days.” I quit right on the spot in the middle of the day, leaving all my mates to carry on, and walked home eating a few apples.
On the way back I bumped into a lovely old lady from Yugoslavia, and long story short, she commissioned me to paint a mural at the village hall she owned. I was paid well, got my 88 days, and ate chicken schnitzel every day. Meanwhile, my mates got trench foot and couldn't stand the sight of another apple. I learned a few things about myself over that time, such as trusting my gut, taking risks, and not being fearful of the outcome. This instilled future confidence to pursue something creative. I met up with her last year, 11 years on, for a cup of tea and some apple strudel.
Away from the camera where would we find you spending your down time?
You can find me on the coastal walk from time to time, where I've unintentionally made a bit of a pastime out of mistakenly stepping on snakes. Alternatively, I might be down at Lighthouse Beach, breathing in while attempting a sun tan. And of course, I'll be hanging around at the markets - check out my website, www.dolphinanddog.com.au, for a schedule of which ones I'll be at and when. I plan to do a few local markets each month, so you should be able to find me there. If not, I'm happy to offer free delivery to anyone in Port, personally delivered by yours truly. I also have a blog and newsletter that i enjoy writing, featuring articles on a range of topics, including Port Macquarie, entrepreneurship, the environment, photography, art and design, dogs, and more. Be sure to sign up for updates and stay in the loop. Soul Surfer range available to pre-order from today.
For people wanting to find out more about your work, how can they best connect with you?
Please Contact me anytime with any questions and I’ll be happy to help.
website - www.dolphinanddog.com.au
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook : DolphinanddogFB