Please introduce yourself (any co-founders) and your startup?
My name is Adam Jelic and I’m the founder of an inspirational stationery company called Mi Goals.
Life can get pretty crazy and its very easy to get distracted and de-railed from your goals. Our mission is to create stationery to empower and motivate people to work on their goals with our structured diaries, journals and notebooks which has space to write your goals, set weekly habits and a key focus to ensure you make progress on the goals you want to achieve.
Founded in 2010, the business was a side-project as a I worked full-time. My business partner (Alec) and I jumped into the business early 2016 and have since experienced significant growth in the business.
How did you go from idea, to MVP and launch?
As a personal trainer, ex soccer player and sales manager we would attend many personal development days where goal setting was often a point of discussion. I was frustrated as we were always given scrap bits of random paper to write our goals on.
I wanted to create a book where I could proudly and easily write my goals and reference them every day – to remind myself as what I was working on. I also wanted something that worked as a daily planner, would keep me motivated and helped me keep track of what the goals I was working on.
In the office I was working at, at the time, we had break out and meeting rooms. I wrote a list of 10 of the best books shops across Melbourne and decided to cold call them to find out if they were interested in my product. To my surprise they loved the Idea.
So I had the courage to do a single print run of 800 units which sold out in the first year.
I was delighted by the response and continued to cold call more retailers and the interest kept on building. At the time this was our only sales channel as selling in the online space wasn’t where it was now. Our products can now be found in over 250 retailers across Australia and New Zealand with distribution in the U.K and we have our own Mi Goals online store too.
What challenges did you face during this period and how did you overcome them?
When we ordered the first 800 units to my house in the middle of the night (god knows what the neighbours were thinking), the shrink wrap on the products was absolutely horrible. There was no way the first product I was selling that would be seen on shelves was going out to retailers in this state.
So my business partner and I had to individually un-wrap all of the products. My wife was also heavily pregnant at the time of launch and we were in the process of project managing the build of our own home. So a combination of timing, financial pressure and resources were some key issues at this time.
During this journey to build and launch your startup what is one thing you look back on with a sense of achievement?
We have a few wins that we are proud of: Selling out of our first print run of 800 units, retailers supporting the idea of the diary, having over 250 retailers across Australia and New Zealand, when Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters got in touch to stock our product in their stores as well as being featured in The Design Files and business websites. These were some key moments that really helped gain traction for the business.
Offer us one insight, tip, marketing strategy or growth hack that has worked really well for oyu and your startup?
We have a mentor who we meet with each month and keeps us accountable on the financial end of the business. Because he isn’t in the stationery space he is able to give us invaluable insight on how to grow the business and ensure we have sufficient cash flow.
How is your startup going and what do you aim to achieve in the next 3, 6, 12 months?
In the next 3 months we are launching our first kickstarter campaign for a pretty game-changing diary. In the next 6 months we will be launching our new range of diaries and notebooks. Because our products are seasonal this time is crucial for us and kind of a make or break moment for the business. In the next 12 months and moving forward we are striving to become an international lifestyle brand that empowers people through a variety of different products which involves expanding our current range of stationery.
Is there anything else you want to tell us about?
We are launching a kickstarter campaign towards the end of August which aims to solve a lot of issues for those trying to find their way through life. With this product we want to give people guidance on living a purpose-driven life that they are passionate about.