Stagekings – From Set Design to Home Office Furniture

Published May 04, 2020 (last updated July 22, 2020) Author: Employsure

When COVID-19 forced the Government to ban mass public gatherings due to health and safety reasons, it decimated the events industry and led to a complete shutdown.

The pandemic saw the cancellation of music festivals and concerts, sporting and corporate functions, and everything else in between.

For Stagekings, it meant in the space of 48 hours, its entire income for 2020 was cancelled with no end in sight.

Being a company that provides themed stage design, scaffolding and other specialised structures to events across the country, it was clear the new rules would have a huge impact on business.

“When the announcement came that mass public gatherings were banned, we were in Melbourne building the set for Ninja Warrior and the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix,” said Stagekings Managing Director Jeremy Fleming.

“Our employee numbers fluctuate with the nature of this industry. We have a core team of 12 full-time, and then we’ve got up to 40 casuals. When it all went pear-shaped we had to stand down about 23 workers at the time.”

Faced with the prospect of letting go of its hard working and loyal staff, Stagekings had to pivot its business model to ensure its survival during the downturn.

“Looking for ideas on how to get through the crisis, I started talking to a friend in Ireland that has a set-building company over there, and he suggested we look at furniture production,” said Mr Fleming.

“Our head of production is Mick Jessop, and coincidently his hobby has always been furniture. After I suggested the idea to him, he came in with some 3-D printed desk models on Monday morning, and then we knocked up some prototypes. By the afternoon we got in some nice birch ply and cut our first desks. Monday night we set up the eCommerce site on the website, and then Tuesday we went live with the product.”

The team decided to call their new product the IsoKing desk, combining the name of the company with the term ‘isolation’, a practice many workers across the country had already been doing to minimise the spread of coronavirus.

Marketed towards stay-at-home workers and children who were unable to go to school, the desk, which comes in four pieces, takes about 30 seconds to assemble, and can be taken down and put away at the end of the day.

“Demand for the desk took off. We had about 1,200 orders in the first two weeks, and that number is growing,” Mr Fleming said.“It wasn’t long after we completed the standard design that we got started on a standing desk. That then led to smaller desks for children, stands for laptops, monitors and tablets, vinyl crates and even wine racks.

“Not only will this keep a number of our workers in a job, but for every sale from this new business venture, we are donating $10 to Support Act, which is the industry charity for the events industry. There’s 600,000 events crew that have been affected by the public gathering ban. They’re struggling right now, so we’re giving money from every desk to help them.”

When asked what his business may look like six months down the track, Mr Fleming said big decisions will need to be made.

“I can’t see people needing desks indefinitely, so we need to keep going as long as we can with these. We’re already starting to introduce completely different products such as acrylic barriers for supermarket checkouts, to provide both staff and customers an added layer of protection from airborne particles.

“We’ll push this as far as we can until such time as live events are allowed to happen again, and to be honest, the way things are going, I can’t see that we’ll end this. I think it’ll be a side business from now on.

“We’ve had some really good PR for the product and a huge amount of coverage. It’s sort of a rare good-news story amongst all the negativity in the world right now.”

For information on Stagekings visit: stagekings.com.au

Watch their story here.

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