Front Page Gifts evolved from a hobby into a business after I was made redundant from my full-time position as a multi-media director with Newscorp in June.
As a hobby, I have produced many front pages in the past as gifts for weddings and special birthdays.
It has been a tradition in newsrooms for as many years as I can remember to produce a front page as a farewell gift when someone was leaving the newspaper.
I took that a step further in the early 1990s and started creating mock front pages of mock mastheads (out of total respect for the real mastheads) for special occasions.
Going through the archives, it seems I made the first one in 1992 for the surprise birthday party of a friend who was turning 40-something!
With more than three decades experience in the publishing industry in NSW, ACT and Qld, becoming redundant was certainly daunting.
I had never been unemployed before except by choice when I spent 18 months travelling in Europe in 1993 and 1994.
At 53 years of age and with a mortgage, I had no idea what I was going to do.
To top it off, we were in the middle of a world-wide coronavirus pandemic so I knew jobs were scarce.
Other friends had lost their jobs. This was hitting all industries.
Everyone was affected in different ways so I wasn't alone.
I quickly registered for an ABN and had business cards printed.
I was then very fortunate to be offered a short-term part-time editing contract.
I also picked up a bit (tiny bit) of PR, social media management and proof-reading work to at least keep a bit of cash flow happening.
I was busy but also had a lot of time to reflect and think about the future.
Too much time, in fact.
For more than 20 years, I had produced mock front pages, very occasionally, for special friends for weddings, birthdays and the like.
People’s reaction was always “WOW” and many people over the years had suggested I should produce them and sell them.
I was never going to do that.
I had a full-time job and this was just something I enjoyed doing for fun.
Likewise, I had often written poetry to be recited for people’s birthdays and other special occasions.
Friends had also suggested I could make money from poetry. How?
And why bother? It was just for fun and I had a full-time job.
That changed as the reality set in that after June 26, 2020, I would have plenty of spare time and would no longer have a regular income stream - for the first time in my adult life.
Early in June, about a week after the announcement that I (along with hundreds of my colleagues) would be made redundant, I produced a mock front page as a present for a 60th birthday. It was the first one I had done for some time.
The waitress at the restaurant that afternoon asked me what I was going to do after being made redundant.
I told her I was considering a few things, including producing front pages to sell.
She had seen the presentation of the mock front page at lunch just an hour earlier.
She ordered one before I left that day (thanks Fiona) for her mother’s 80th birthday in August.
Front Page Gifts was still a concept, a thought, a possibility - and I already had an order!!
That is when I started giving this some serious thought.
The more people I mentioned it to, the more inspired I became.
The response was overwhelming.
People started requesting orders and I hadn’t even registered the business name yet.
Someone even mentioned that they had thought about asking me to produce front pages for their friends and family in the past but didn’t want to ask as I was busy.
I certainly hope I will continue to be busy but I encourage you not to hesitate now.
Front Page Gifts is up and running!!
Full product and price information will be available soon but I can take enquiries and orders now. I look forward to producing special gifts for special people in your life.
And if you are enjoying these blogs, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know. I will write some more if people are interested.