I am born and bred in Yarraville. In fact, my family home is right across my current home in Bayview Road in Yarraville. (stereotypical ethnic dream) haha
Dad’s always been in the West, and had a fish and chip shop in Pier Street, Altona. Mum is from Bosnia and arrived here when she’s 10 years old. They met in their early-20s, and moved into my family home after they got married. They’ve been there since 1989.
I’m the only child. Dad is a handyman and builder, now retired. He had an excavation business, and along with Mum, did a lot of renovations together. Mum’s an extraordinarily good designer, and Dad’s a good handyman. I’d say they’ve bought, renovated and sold five houses in the last 30 years, and recently just sold on in Williamstown. That’s what they enjoyed doing and now happily working on other things now.
Growing up, I was lucky enough to be travelling a lot. My parents really loved this . One of my earliest memories of travelling was accompanying Dad for his Ironman competition in France.
I’ve always been a weird kid and am in my little corner. My parents say I’ve always had a pen and paper and am stuck in my own world.
When I first had a PC, I spent all my time on it. Anything that was computer or drawing-related captivated me, which followed me to my adult life. Microsoft pain, corel draw, first photoshop version and any creative video games I was obsessed with.
Welldrawn started out of nothing, and luck. I’ve always done birthday and Christmas cards for my parents friends and family from the age of 5. They’d tell me I’d be making hundreds of green and red cards, stamp them with a Christmas tree and gave them to all our neighbours. It was always cards-related. I’d copy good illustrators that I like, or video game characters, and put them on cards and make something funny out of it.
They’ve kept all of them. Just a few weeks ago friends sent me cards I’ve given to them 20 years ago. There’s something about cards. I would try and draw something funny, and cheer someone up. That’s my principal. I’m not a serious person. In fact I struggle to find seriousness in my life. I like to be a big and strange kid, sitting in the corner.
I was always doodling and sketching in class. It used to get me through a boring class, or a meeting at work. Throughout my life, drawing is used to cheer people up, or even myself. People have asked if I could do a drawing for them, or a friend. I’d always say yes to these design requests. Nothing ever felt unachievable, and there was always something fun and I wanted to explore and learn.
If I wanted to learn something, I’d put in an effort and study it really carefully. It’s only for things I want to do; drawing has been one of them.
I knew very early on I wanted to draw. I worked as a engineering draughtsman in my first job for an internship, and I really enjoyed it. I spent five years there. I love the thrill of working there, and being able to pick up a few personal projects in my free time. I’ve worked at engineering firms, architecture and video game companies all in the design sector as technology has always been a huge interests as well and this has been in the background for the last 13 years.
Why Welldrawn? Everything in my life was completely up to chance. A few people had requested cards, and over time they began requesting more. It was really just my friends, but I began receiving more requests from their girlfriends / wives, their friends, their cousins and it became more than I could handle.. really just pure word of mouth and local shares
When I started doing things for people I don’t even know, I started making a website. I thought to myself ‘Maybe people actually want these custom cards.” Maybe it was actually a thing, but I created the website.
Originally Welldrawn was called K Cards, like my name. I had nothing in my head then. I sat down with Dad. He’s incredibly funny, really smart and loves languages. He’s always writing poems, made rhymes and would tell me a proper Dad joke daily. They were the worst puns. I’d think ‘I can’t believe you thought of that. It’s so embarrassing.’ Mum actually think he’s funny. When I asked Dad about a name, I was trying to think of a funny name, and I said how about ‘Handdrawn’ as I draw with my hand.
Dad said ‘Welldrawn’ but with a watering well. I thought ‘That’s random, but really funny.’ Mum chipped in and said ‘How about Drawn Well?’ They just want me to pursue something that I’m really passionate about.
Even in school I never understood schooling, nor was passionate about school and uni. I had trouble wanting to, or be motivated to do things. I always had requests to draw, which gave me the motivation to do things and I always wanted to have my own business like my family did
Welldrawn didn’t happen overnight. When I first started, I was flooded with requests. I was shocked. I didn’t know how to do anything business-related and was up every night until 1 or 2am. I was charging $5 for a card, or free. I couldn’t think of other ways to do it, and people were saying ‘Why don’t you get someone else to draw it for you?’. I couldn’t maintain that level of output, and my social life was gone, but I wanted to make it unique, so I stuck at it.
I realised quickly I could just make something generic, print it, and sell it to other people. One of my first ones was ‘Hope you have a safe trip’ with a money safe with its bags packed, while waving goodbye with a hat. Everything else before then, was pun related. I would spend the whole day thinking of puns. Now I can print a generic one, based on the occasion, event or just something someone likes.
Pretty quickly I had 100 cards for different occasions.
By 2018, I was struggling to keep up with the demand, but was also plateauing. I was making money from Welldrawn in 2016 and 2017, but business was through word of mouth, like the staff in the Sun Theatre where I worked. I realised word of mouth only got me so far. I began looking into digital marketing and explored different channels to grow a scalable marketing business. Luckily, I had my career and full time work but well drawn is something I really always wanted to keep perusing
Thankfully I work in a User Experience area (UI / UX as a creative director), and knew how to make things easier for my customer.
The layout of my website changed, but I felt the growth was slow. I’m super competitive, and played all sorts of sports growing up. My partner always laughs at my mentality when anything competitive is involved. I looked at other cards company and was always comparing myself to them. Even locals! I loved seeing what was working for others and how I could learn from everyone. It was never about the money but wanting to the best that I could possibly be.
Lots of times, I could have used a cheap card and envelope, but I wanted the best paper, envelope, and printing places. I spent a lot of time trying to source good quality cards. I’m always shocked how people like the quality of my products.
They’d say things like ‘I like the texture of the card. The paper quality is amazing.’ I really appreciate them, but I didn’t think people would care about it.
I had a message from the other night from a lady, who said ‘I really love the usability of the website. Two clicks from Instagram, and I could buy a card. I’m such a nerd about it and it made my day.’ No one realises the backend work to make a quality website and those small comments make it all worthwhile
I’ve had to rope my parents in to package things up. We still drive and deliver them from Yarraville.
I’ve told my parents they can take my profits, but they never take any.. so have forced their hand with holiday bribes and gifts galore
As I’m a website nerd, I didn’t even think about stocking my cards in a physical store. Now I have 17 stockists across Australia, and this was just within the last year.
My fiancé Eva fell ill with cancer in 2020, but has since recovered. Her condition has made me see Welldrawn in a different way. In the last four years, I’ve lost track of how Welldrawn’s direction should be. The idea of Welldrawn, the ethos and my message has changed. It really should be, and has always been, about making someone smile.
When I’m not working on Welldrawn, I’m a Creative Director (full-time LOL) for a company that focuses on online education (LTG). On weekends I’m a nerdy home person, and am always working on something on my laptop. I’m still into my video games (making video games), fastfood and movie obsessed (horror movies). I’m a big kid at heart.