In May 2019 we’re celebrating 15 years of being Deadgood. Throughout this time our Deadgood directors have been pursuing their mission to challenge the pre conceived conceptions of what a commercial furniture brand should look like.

Dan & Elliot share their thoughts on how not to build a design brand.

With thanks to Barbara Chandler (@sunnygran) for posing the #AskDeadgood question.

Elliot Brook & Dan Ziglam, Deadgood co-founders & directors, 2004

Elliot Brook & Dan Ziglam, Deadgood co-founders & directors, 2004

  1. Go to art college and loosen up, whilst ensuring you gain absolutely no business experience whatsoever.

  2. Decide to set up shop in your spare room with your best mate.

  3. Write your business plan on the back of a beer mat and develop a total disregard for the numbers.

  4. Milk every possible resource available to hand.

  5. Launch your business with one completely unresolved product and make sure you find a manufacturer before you take orders. 

  6. Realise quickly that you need something else to sell. 

  7. Promote yourselves in as many diverse places as possible and maintain consistency by painting everything black.

  8. Spend what little money you manage to raise on embossed business cards and full page adverts.

  9. Go to New York for ‘inspiration’… Every year for a decade.

  10. Organise a series of underground raves in an abandoned fire station, next to the police HQ.

  11. Implement loads of different business ideas before remembering that the first idea is often the best idea. 

  12. Celebrate when you get a new stapler but never believe the hype. 

  13. Rent a leaky arch with no windows and no toilet and eat soup every day for an entire winter. 

  14. Insist on paying yourself very little. 

  15. Squat and be mindful of the slugs. 

  16. Decide to split your resources and move to another city. 

  17. Obtain focus and direction and decide to put everything you’ve now learnt into practice. 

  18. Put the pencil crayons back in the tin and move forward with clarity.  

  19. Be comfortable with who you are. 

  20. Establish a design strategy and define your company values.

  21. Learn the numbers and how to raise investment. 

  22. Hire an ex Iranian arm wrestler as your chairman and mentor. 

  23. Collaborate with like minded folk in order to develop an eclectic collection of products. 

  24. Keep a tight hold of the purse strings.

  25. Present yourself with clarity and professionalism.

  26. Experiment with new ideas in every element of your business but always keep it simple stupid!

  27. Proceed with a philosophy of constant evolution. 

  28. Win top industry awards and remember to never believe the hype. 

  29. Make it all look like an overnight success. 

  30. Remember to have fun!