Shifting Skills and Scope for Growth and Resilience

October 8, 2021

TRANSFORMING
WORK

WITH
SOPHIE WADE

Shifting Skills and Scope for Growth and Resilience

Shifting Skills and Scope for Growth and Resilience

Jeremy Fleming, the Founder and CEO of Stagekings, discusses how he evolved and grew the Australian event and theater staging business after a necessary radical pivot at the beginning of the pandemic. Re-applying everyone’s crafts’ skills to design, develop, sell, and distribute innovative desks, they engaged new customers online and used feedback to help expand the product range. Jeremy also shares how encouraging people to work across all areas of the business as well as diversifying revenue and vertically integrating is creating resiliency to ensure the company’s ongoing stability and success.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[02:57] How Jeremy started his career in bridge carpentry and scaffolding.

[04:11] Jeremy brought his event staging experience from Europe to launch Stagekings in 2015.

[05:52] Versatile use of their skills expanded services into building theater sets and whole theaters.

[06:52] Jeremy’s scaffolding and event experience and innovative approach enabled rapid assembly and dismantling.

[08:07] Friday March 13th 2020: Devastating news for Stagekings’ business.

[10:03] Friday March 20th: Jeremy’s difficult decision to let employees go after exhausting all options.

[11:58] How chatting with a former employee seeded the idea of creating desks for people working from home.

[12:22] Sunday March 22nd: Mick’s furniture-making hobby and skills are engaged to explore desk ideas.

[13:13] Unique desk designs: no-tool quick assembly/disassembly, one packs flat for easy storage.

[14:15] Monday March 23rd: The business now needs ecommerce to sell the new desk products online.

[15:18] How Jeremy’s frank letter shared on social channels to market their desks goes viral.

[16:11] Tuesday March 24th: StageKings’ former employees are called back to work!

[16:55] Stagekings hires more people as the demand for IsoKing desks grows.

[18:25] New desk designs and other products are added as the business expands rapidly.

[19:19] Customers enjoy receiving desks delivered by entertainment event roadies.

[20:07] The product line expands driven by ‘community-led innovation’ with surprising requests!

[23:01] Stagekings consolidates IsoKings’ products and operations after rapid first year growth.

[24:27] A new brand of at-home furniture is launched as well as IsoKing becoming its own brand.

[26:42] With continuing uncertainties, the focus becomes establishing more income streams.

[27:58] Vertical integration enables Stagekings to broaden their offering and customer base.

[30:55] Jeremy attributes their success to the team, their adaptability, and positive attitudes.

[34:02] How Stagekings gives back to the event industry, supporting unemployed event workers.

[34:59] Discussing the challenges for freelance workers during the pandemic.

[37:02] The optimism Jeremy has about 2022 for Stagekings across market segments.

[37:39] What flexible approaches to work and encouraging employees to move around business areas means for them and the company.

[39:21] IMMEDIATE ACTION TIP: If you have an idea, go for it. And it doesn’t have to be massive steps. Small, consistent steps will get you much further.

QUOTES

“There’s a time when the show must go on—and wherever we’re up to, that’s where it is when it happens!”

“We called it community-led innovation, where it was the community telling us what they wanted, and we’d design it.”

“Out of anything bad, something good will come, and you need to work on that. Don't focus on the bad, focus on the good that'll come from it.”

“It’s real event mentality—problems are going to come up, and you’re just going to deal with them, you’ve still got to get through it.”

“We lost all of our work, what can we do? What can we do? Yeah, there's something you can do.”

“I’ve really focused over the whole of the last 18 months on establishing more pillars of income.”

“I think that’s what people like about it here—it’s that nothing is every the same!”

“The big thing for me is if people have an idea, just really go for it.“

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