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Attracting major clients

'We believe you must give back to the community. We incorporate this philosophy into the events and organisations we support.'

— Marc Williams and Craig Small, Deadly Design

Top tips

  • Experiment with events to build your profile
  • Get actively involved your industry's networks
  • A positive social philosophy can give your business an edge

The business: Deadly Design graphic designers and printers

Deadly Design began in 2003 to meet the ever increasing demand for Aboriginal culturally-influenced design, and printing solutions for a diverse range of clients. As their reputation and business has grown, so has their client base. They expanded well beyond the Indigenous and government sectors, extending into corporate Australia, mostly into small to medium enterprises.

Deadly Design is owned by Marc Williams and Craig Small. It’s one of the only two Indigenous graphic design and printers in Australia, and the only one in Victoria.

'Our company is a founding member of Kinaway, the Victorian Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce and a certified member of Supply Nation,' says Marc.

Challenges we faced

'Some of the challenges we’ve faced as Indigenous Business owners are the difficulty of attracting financial support for the business. This limited our ability to bid for large jobs and consider some business opportunities. It's also been hard to find and keep experienced or qualified Indigenous staff.

But most of all, it’s been exciting and challenging just to be in your own business.'

Our recent successes: attracting major clients

In 2010 Deadly Design became a certified Indigenous supplier to Supply Nation (previously AMSC). This certification has led to some important opportunities with Supply Nation members, some of whom are top Australian corporate and government organisations.

'We’ve developed a relationship with Supply Nation member Cummins South Pacific. We're now their principal print supplier nationwide. This major contract has enabled Deadly Design to plan for future growth, provide more jobs, as well as offer training opportunities for Indigenous Australians.'

In 2011 Deadly Design became the principal print supplier for the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC). The contract covers all printing needs for their three venues Caulfield Racecourse, Sportingbet Park (Sandown), and Mornington Racecourse. 'We’re also proud to support the MRC by sponsoring a race during the Spring Racing Carnival,' says Marc.

'Working with the MRC, we’re planning a new annual Indigenous cultural race day to add to the racing calendar. This event will celebrate Indigenous culture. It will include art displays, entertainment, Indigenous cuisine, and more. It will also provide the opportunity for Indigenous businesses to network with the business community. We’re very excited to be partnering with the MRC to make this day a highlight in their racing calendar.'

'We believe you must give back to the community.  We incorporate this philosophy into the events and organisations we support. Our long-term business plans are interwoven with plans to train and employ Aboriginal Australians across all areas of our business.'

The result

Deadly Design now works with major clients in the government and corporate sector including PWC, Cummins South Pacific, Target, K Mart, Melbourne Racing Club (MRC), Victorian Government and IPAA.

Deadly Design was also a Top 20 Finalist in the 2012 Ethnic Small Business Awards.