Name: Dan Murray
Business name: Sly Underwear
Changing careers from a concreter to an underwear magnate is not your standard entrepreneurial tale. But Dan Murray has thrived on doing things a bit differently.
Murray realised there was a gap in the market for stylish underwear for men, so went about sketching out a few designs on Microsoft Paint and sending them to China to be produced.
After spending the majority of his $25,000 start-up funds, from his job as a concreter, Murray hired some friends to help him out and managed to secure a further loan to get the business to the next level.
A friend helpfully nominated him for Triple J’s Catapult competition for young entrepreneurs, which he subsequently won.
The resulting publicity caught the attention of Jalil Keval, a US-based consultant to the likes of Tommy Hilfiger. Within a few months, Murray had jumped on a plane to learn from the best.
Three years on, Sly Underwear has a presence in 170 stores across Australia, with distribution deals for the US and New Zealand. The UK and South Africa are next in Murray’s sights.
Murray says: “The beauty of today is the power of the internet. You can research your market, competitors, find suppliers, negotiate a deal on production, pay for your order, clear customs, find sales agents and launch a social media campaign to promote your new brand within the industry you have researched.”
“All this from behind a desk without ever giving up your age to anyone – although I wouldn’t recommend it, as business is all about good relationships.”
“Just give it a go. It sounds very clichéd but it’s a lot easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.”