One of the best things about running my own shop is the interesting and diverse people I meet. Recently Mat Dusting got in contact The Perching Post about his fantastic company, M-24, that makes bags from recycled truck tarpaulin. Each bag is different due to the different types of tarpaulin he collects. It’s a brilliant, versitile, extremely durable product which come in 5 different designs: Jerry Can, Oil Drum, Pylon, Tanker and my favourite Eddie Stobart Messenger! Take a look….
As it was such an unusual idea I wanted to find out more about Mat Dusting and his company so I took the opportunity to ask him a couple of questions about M-24 and how he set about making his idea become a reality:
What is M-24?
M-24 upcycle used/discarded lorry curtains and seat belts into funky functional bags. These include Backpacks, Duffel bags and Ski bags.
What motivated you to start a business?
By biggest fear is being normal! I want to create products and business that change the world. (Big dream). I have been inspired by people around me to start a business; my dad has created a very successful business from nothing and has given me great confidence to pursue my own ventures. Some of my friends have created successfully tech businesses from nothing and now working on loads of exciting projects.
I worked for a large corporation during a placement year at university. This was a fantastic experience where I learned a lot about myself. I knew at the end of the 12 months I didn’t want to work in a standard 9-5 job. Some of the faces of people who had been working there for years looked so demoralised and depressed.
I think the greatest motivation is being in control of your future, knowing no limits and fulfilling dreams in your head.
When did you start M-24?
M-24 started around March 2012. I started playing around with left over material on the farm to create a durable ski bag. I experimented with old sand bags and bits of plastic and soon found a piece of leftover lorry curtain. I cleaned it up, cut it up and stitched it into a crude ski bag shape. I made a few more prototypes using local leather stitching experts and soon came up with a design. I showed my friends and family the products and they loved them.
What support have you had, Grants/ Mentor?
Shortly after starting M-24, I found out about an Enterprise program the Princes Trust were running. I signed up and 2 months later received a start-up loan of £2000 and a personal business mentor.
M-24 is supported by Taunton Deane Borough council who have helped with a £1000 grant
M-24 came 1st during Aprils Shell-livewire competition. We won £1000 and have been entered into a national award for Entrepreneur of the Year.
What has been the greatest challenge so far?
There have been many hurdles over the last 12 months.
I’ve been running this business on my own from home. Being on your own most days can be hard. Keeping myself motivated and focused is the biggest challenge. Most of my friends work in the city earning good salaries and living comfortably. It’s not easy working long hours and earning little while your friends are doing the opposite.
What does the future hold?
We’ve been accepted into a pop up shop on KINGS RD London from 16th -31st July 2013. I’m now working with the Stobart group (Eddie Stobart) to design an exclusive range of bags and help them recycle some of their old material. We want to become a nationally recognised British brand.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Think big! Believe in yourself, follow your gut!
Start small! Don’t throw money at your idea at the early stages. Test your idea first. Bootstrap your business.
When you buy an M-24 product, you’re helping to reduce UK landfill thus helping to save the planet and helping a local UK business.