This picture was taken on the 4th April this year at a demo day for a pre-accelerator program we went through for six weeks. I'm Tom (on the right), and my co-founder Ross is on the left. Don't worry about my dead trim, mistakes were made and have now been rectified!
894 days ago on the 11th December 2016 Ross and I were at a house party, catching up as he had been away at university and I had been at college. For some context, we've been friends since joining the same secondary school in 2011. Actually, we became friends in year 10 as he was part of the popular friendship group, which walked in on me and my mum having a Mcdonalds in Brighton to their amusement. I was not part of the "popular people" then but what was so much cooler about going to Churchill Square Hollister with your girlfriend over me having a Mcdonalds with my mum? Anyway, we did become friends a year or so after that.
At the party, Ross explained to me that him and his new uni mate had come up with an idea for an app that would be used by people in nightclubs. It sounded interesting but it never went any further, or at least not for a while.
760 days ago on the 22nd of April 2017, Ross, one of our best mates Jonny, and I went to the pub for a few drinks. Once again, Ross had come up with another entrepreneurial idea which he was telling us about. He had, at that time, just bought a t-shirt from an independent, small brand on Instagram. Seeing the success they were having, he wanted to start his own t-shirt brand on Instagram with us. At the pub we decided that Jonny could do the designs, as he was and still is the most fashionable out of us three, I would do the "marketing"/Instagram stuff, and Ross would run the business operations. Below are two very early sketches Jonny did for our brand "Skipser":
Although I don't personally dress that fashionably, I do have a very strong interest in the fashion world and thought if we were going to start a fashion brand we should do it properly. An example of what I REALLY didn't want us to be is Hype clothing. If your from the UK you'll remember at least one of your mates had a shitty t-shirt from them in 2011.
710 days ago on the 11th June 2017 I went to Ross' house with a 14 page PowerPoint presentation explaining why I thought doing a t-shirt company was a silly idea, and that a better idea would be to do a drop-shipping company. Below is a list of the reasons why I thought it wouldn't work:
On reflection, I was taking the idea way to far. Ross and Jonny weren't thinking of Givenchy, Gucci, Prada etc, they were thinking of the small independent brands on Instagram. We could have very easily developed Jonny's designs further, all put in a few hundred quid each for samples to be made and then and built it out from there on a make to demand basis. The problem was, I didn't want to do something small like that, and when I explained the success people were having with dropshipping to Ross he was as enticed as I was to it. Jonny was not as enticed so decided happily to not continue.
For the next month or so Ross and I taught ourselves everything to do with dropshipping whilst simultaneously setting ourselves up as a proper company, registering ourselves with Companies House, getting a business bank account, and planning for this to be big. I've just checked the old Facebook accounts from where we advertised the products we sold and it says the account was setup 669 days ago on the 22nd of July. However, the first post we made wasn't until 632 days ago on the 28th August. It took us 78 days from deciding to do drop-shipping to first putting our stuff out there. That was way to long of a time for a fairly simple thing to setup and definitely didn't require registering at companies house, nor having a business bank account. In total we made a few hundred pounds and were left feeling pretty stupid. 546 days ago on the 22nd November 2017 we made our final Facebook post.
As our drop-shipping company came to a rapid end, I remembered back to the previous Christmas of 2016 when Ross told me about his app idea. I suggested that instead of trying to revive what we already had, why don't we change our focus to building that app. He agreed this was a good idea and we have been working on it ever since.
During the past year and a half we have been through many iterations of our product, had many meetings (some good, some bad), been through a pre-accelarator, built our community of you guys on Instagram, and many more ups and downs all whilst both of us have been doing full time uni courses. It's now time for both of us to put in the hard work to get an actual product, an actual app that you can download onto your phones and use as soon as possible.
Stay up to date by following our Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/afterglowapp/
And join our waiting list on the home page to be one of the first users when we release Afterglow.
There will be more blog posts to come.
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