Yesterday marked a pretty big milestone for Byzantine Design.
The store and business as you know it turned 7 years old.
8 years ago, I had a crazy idea to move to a city where I knew no one and open a store that relied on customers. I just knew that if I built a place for people, people would come.
I remember the day I opened 7 years ago very clearly. I got to work and realised that my keyboard was really dirty, and one should always start a new business with a clean keyboard. And so, I cleaned it with a rag that was too wet, and it shorted the keyboard. This was at opening time!
Not having any other choice, I had to close my doors and rush to the nearest Officeworks to purchase a new keyboard. Luckily, there weren't hordes of people waiting for me to open. In fact, no one came in for days, if not weeks. Gradually, people started to find me. I released that Melburnians love supporting a small business and we started to grow.
Looking back on photos of the store when I first opened I had very little stock, but I gradually got more options. That first year of business was so incredibly difficult for so many reasons. 6 weeks after I opened I went to Sydney for a funeral and fell over in a shopping centre. My body refused to move normally after that and gradually became worse. I had very little control over my balance and my vision started going turning grey. 6 weeks after the fall, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I had to go into rehab to learn how to walk again. Within this time, I had to hire my first staff members, as I couldn’t go to rehab and work consistently.
Rehab took a few months, but I still went to work every day. In reality, Byzantine Design gave me the drive to get better. Friends and family told me to move back to Sydney where I knew people. But I had support in Melbourne, and there was no way I was going to give up on my 10-year dream for a bit of MS.
Byzantine Design has been my constant throughout the last 7 years and for that, I am incredibly grateful. We’ve made it through various iterations; solved some interesting problems like freight; moved the showroom on the very day that COVID hit and the world changed; and of course, made it through a pandemic... and our doors are still open!
Rarely do we stop and reflect on what we have achieved.
Today I am at a Business Chicks conference in the Barossa Valley and I choose to celebrate all the I have achieved, along with my awesome team Laura and Abbie. These 2 women are the cornerstone of the business and I love working with them every day. They both teach me so much and will always listen when I say "I’ve had an idea...."
Thank you so much to everyone who has supported Byzantine Design over the last 7 years, we literally could not have gotten here without your support. Thanks also to our wonderful suppliers. Please know that we are working on some new things we hope to launch soon. And yes, we are trying to reduce freight costs.
We are all a Magnificent Work in Progress.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Stay safe and well,