The Budding Branson?
Ben Thornton. Or simply ‘Ben’ to his very close friends and family.
What’s his game?
Screenprinting. And having an awesome beard.
What’s his story?
After spending the majority of his embryonic years learning the sacred art of majestic beard growth in a Tibetan Temple, Ben “The Master Chocolatier” Thornton, took it upon himself to master another art form: LIFE. And, graphic design and sh!t.
The funky and inventive art of screenprinting soon became Ben’s forte and, acting upon a mixture of potent alcohol and the natural creative disposition – Impulsive mania – he casually signed up for the IOM Exco and even more casually – he had his hands in his pockets and everything – went and smashed it out of the park, the tinker. He won an iPad, DED Business course and the Island’s hearts.
Give me some more background on this dude
Well, being the innovative type, Ben had started his own clothing brand sometime before. Stay Dead clothing was founded in 2010. A true DIY operation, while he worked full time and lived at home, this was a pure labour of love for Ben. There he poured his restless creative zeal into projects for the soul rather than the bank balance. It was distillation of art, a subconscious outpouring of creativity. Ya know, like a rainbow ejaculating. Or something. Anyway, Stay Dead may, have, unwittingly died, but it sowed the seeds for his future exploits.
“Simple but complicated”
These words of profundity come from Ben when summarising the trying but, ultimately rewarding path he has chosen. In simple terms: Starting your own business is bloody hard graft. Like knocking out a gibbon armed with only a sponge, for instance.
Learning from past mistakes is critical in all human experience. It is how we can truly embrace our humility and improve as a species. To evolve. I think it was Soul Sensation Des’Ree who put it best when she sang, so poignantly, “Life, Oh Life, Ohhhh Liiiiife, Oh Life. Doo Doo Doo”.
Ben’s mistakes previously were not playing to his strengths. He’s a visionary, an artist. That kid don’t do numbers. He thinks The Calculator is a sexual position! So, he realised quite quickly, that he needed to surround himself with briefcase brandishing dullards! The boffins, nerds, geeks, number f#ckers, tie wearers, beautiful minders, fun avoiders, clever Gefs, you know the types.
Ben lives it when a plan comes together
He really does. The new, wiser Ben was forward thinking. His ideas were every bit as dynamic and enterprising as before but now, the older, beardier Ben thought about the costs. Like a bloody businessman. He even briefly looked at a tie. WITH UTTER DISDAIN. He researched the more cost effective yet undeniably arty notion of screenprinting. Like a great big bastarding bloody beautiful bastard Ben worked full time as a graphic designer by day and by night he was a screenprinting ninja, stealthily absorbing all the info like Yoda with a squeegee.
Apropos of nothing, he ripped his (screenprinted custom made) t-shirt off (it took some time due to the simply fabulous quality of Print & Press. Seriously those guys are the best) and bellowed:
“IT IS TIME! TIME FOR THE NAYSAYERS TO BOW BEFORE MY MIGHT. TIME FOR THOSE WHO DOUBTED MY MAGNIFICENCE TO SWALLOW THEIR COLLECTIVE SENSE OF PRIDE. AND FOR THOSE WHO ALWAYS BELIEVED IN MY UNEQUIVOCAL POWER? WELL, IT IS TIME WE DANCED TO THE SWEET SOUND OF BEN!”
He may have been drunk.
DED on your feet
The Department of Economic Development really should’ve come up with a better acronym for a branch of government focused on revitalising or reigniting industry but, anyhow, DED it is. One of the best tips Ben was given on the DED course was to constantly update and evolve his business plan as it runs. Also to name the business what it is. Print & Press may sound simple. And it is. But you know what it is! And thank Jebus for the DED course because Ben’s first name for the business was
“SCREENPRINT IF YA WANNA GO FASTER”.
What do you need after the idea?
Conviction. You need belief and you need the why factor. Why are you doing this? What is the end goal? In Ben’s case, the previous proclamation would appear to be some form of blood curdling, naked vengeance. What’s your motive? Make sure you scream it for no reason at all when you work that out.
Strategize! Plan! The DED course was vital in giving Ben the fundamentals to develop his core idea. They instilled context of what a business plan entails and how crucial those building blocks are. Why do you think Richard Branson employs Umpa Lumpas to do all his accounting? You need to get the basics right! Umpa Lumpas, say what you will about those guys, get the job done.
Ben knew why he was doing this. The DED course put necessary pressure on him to get a business plan done in record time and to put everything he had learned previously into action.
Ben put on his thinking hat (an outrageously large sombrero made of manchego cheese, if you must know) and acted on that pressure. He decided there and then to open a screen printing studio to teach others how to screenprint – like Jesus, some would say – but also a creative workshop on myriad processes such as photography, design, printmaking, and cheese sombrero consuming!
Teaching someone a skill that they can use and transfer into their own business is pretty awesome. Sharing is caring! Building a space that unites creativity conjures up visions of a whimsical dreamy place full of magical mystery. Like Andy Warhol’s Factory but less soup / drugs / wigs / nakedness / orgies. Probably.
All about the Benjamins
Funding is a b!tch. He briefly contemplated becoming a male prostitute again but changed his mind: Ben thought that to be the easy way out – what with his insatiable girth and all. But Ben is ultimately doing this because he loves it. Screenprinting that is, not man-whoring. And how f#cking cool is that? Isn’t that the dream for all of us? To discard the shackles of work-a-day humdrum tawdriness and to GET PAID TO DO WHAT YOU LOVE. There’s no simpler beauty, truly.
The irony for Ben is the less he worries about money, the more investment there seems to be. It’s Jedi sh!t, man. Or maybe, just maybe…here’s a guy who spent a lot of time and put in a lot of effort into his passion. And when you’re good at something and bring positivity and graft with innovation, the world will listen.
Noun: Smug pr!ck hired by Alan Sugar
Noun: A person who organises and managers enterprise. With enthusiasm, risk and beardy awesomeness.