It all began back in 1992 when armed with a second-hand Apple Ilcx Mac and a passion for design I started JAZ. I would like to say that I had a well-orchestrated business plan and a marketing plan to boot. The reality was, back in 1992 I was between jobs (the result of the recession we had to have), which forced a break in employment and got me thinking about life, work, and the universe.
The lure of a sea change and a move to the East Coast was calling as I contemplated my next move. I headed east to Tasmania with the family on a two-week holiday to see what opportunities lay there.
The night before I was due to fly out, I met a business colleague and friend who proposed starting a Graphic Design business and he would put in the seed capital. This certainly gave me food for thought on my holiday.
On return, there was nothing else in the offering and with two young kids (under two), I needed a job. While most would look for a safe and secure job, I instead accepted the offer and challenge to start a small business in the midst of a recession.
We anguished over what to call ourselves. One night playing around with names and letters I realised that by taking the first initial of my two children James and Zoe, you got JAZ: a catchy but meaningful acronym that was perfectly suited to our family business, and so JAZ was born.
Statistically, 12 months is a milestone in Small Business for all the wrong reasons – over 90% fail in their first year. For me it was significant in other ways; I put on my first employee (I had too much work for just one) and bought out the other shareholders to own JAZ outright.
Over the past 30-plus years we have seen massive changes in technology unlike any other industry. When I started in 1992, there was neither Internet nor email, and my mobile phone was the size of a small brick.
Now we live in a digital age where everything is online and the web is fundamental to all businesses, and we have a long list of ever-changing social channels to choose from and keep us connected. Thankfully the very essence of design hasn’t changed, and today it is as important, if not more important than it was back in 1992.
We are a family business with a long history that has withstood the test of time. I am as passionate as ever as no two days are the same, the diversity and challenges of the work mixed in with the opportunity to be creative through design keeps the fire burning.
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JAZ is located on land belonging to the Whadjuk Noongar people, and we recognise and pay respect to the Traditional Owners and Elders of this country and the significant importance of their cultural heritage.