Diving into Business Ownership: Real World Learning

Business persons, industry voices and entrepreneurs constantly echo the daunting truth: 90% of startups will fail. Is it strange that those words resonate a sense of excitement within me? Recently, I’ve co-founded an independent clothing label alongside my younger brother.

Throughout the process, QUT has not only equipment me with the essential knowledge, but has also inspired us to make a splash with our business dive.

Adjacent Supply is an independent, contemporary apparel and accessory label. We’re authentically invested in our unisex products, where we design, create and test our gear using our own two sets of hands. When that’s not possible, we partner with local and ethical Australian suppliers to do it for us. We are also charity-driven, where we donate portions of our revenues back to local charities as part of our ‘Supply for Change’ program; for every order placed, the customer chooses which partnered charity their ‘change’ goes to.

Adjacent Supply – ‘Signature’ & ‘Change’ Tees

QUT Driven:

While the statistics above are admittingly nerve-racking, it’s reassuring to admit that I’ve got a trick up my sleeve to balance the odds: QUT. QUT has not only equipped me with the know-how to dive into the depths of business-ownership, but has also provided the opportunity to test run a small business… as assessment.

Firstly, the core units covered in QUT’s business degree provided a broad overview of all the bones required for a small-business skeleton. While the at-the-time accounting study seemed a little (okay a lot – sorry accounting students!) boring, I humbly regret having those thoughts and now value the core business units tremendously. They can equip any student with the foundations to build their businesses upon.

Further, the marketing elective ‘Marketing Planning and Management’ provided an opportunity to test-run a small business. Throughout thirteen weeks, teams of students built mock businesses from the ground up; we produced a business from collaborated ideas, formulated a business plan, physically created our products and then sold them in QUTopia: a mock-market place with student and real consumers buying products with ‘QUTopia dollars’. This experience was so much more than a whole lot of fun. It gave me the nudge needed to kick start Adjacent Supply: ‘if I can do it at uni, why not do it in the real world?’

AMB240 Assessment – QUTopia Market Day (Daniel Edwards, Lucy Rodgers, Georgia Roberts, Jeremy Cent, Joel Rebenhorst left to right) 

QUT Starters: The Helping Hand

While uni work was a major support and influence, it was multifaceted. QUT entrepreneurial student club ‘QUT Starters’ inspired Adjacent Supply in a significant way. By attending several of their events (nervously at that!), I became exposed to the startup scene within QUT and Brisbane as a whole. Throughout one year, I had the opportunity to:

  • receive advice from a number of notable Brisbane entrepreneurs;
  • check out co-working spaces;
  • be part of (and find success in!) a hack-a-thon (a startup competition ran over the course of a weekend) with both students and professionals competing.

Perhaps the most valuable experience from attending QUT Starters events was the opportunity to meet like-minded people who inspired me to pursue my business goals. It was beyond encouraging to be introduced to and surrounded by people who are so welcoming to those entering the startup/business world, and who are so eager to provide feedback and advice.

So far, throughout Adjacent Supply’s young life (less than three months), we have encountered problems, as all (okay most) young businesses do. These do not deter us however; after all, aren’t lessons learned from making mistakes some of the most valuable? QUT and QUT Starters have provided Adjacent Supply with the foundation and inspiration to swim when thrown into the deep end – and not to sink. I’ve been assured repeatedly that university is the best time to start a business, and boy, we’re ecstatic for the ride!

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