Nathan Darma is a Melbourne magician (for reals) who is creating a business out of magic.
The 24 year old wanted to create his own custom deck of cards for personal use, but when he realised it required a minimum order he decided to take the cards global. His first capital raising campaign in 2017 was funded in just four days with a total of $14,000 made by the end of the campaign.
His Implicit Playing Cards ended up being stocked all over the world, including making it onto the shelves of Walmart in the US.
Nathan has now just completed his second raise, which saw $27,474 pledged by over 500 backers. His second edition of Implicit Playing Cards has been in the planning/sampling process for over a year.
We chat to him about business, the juggle and, of course, magic…
Tell us about Implicit Playing Cards.
Implicit Playing Cards are a premium, luxury item for magicians and card collectors. From first glance, it’s immediately evident that they aren’t your standard pack of playing cards that you would be able to pick up from your local shop down the road. This is what I personally wanted to achieve in a deck of playing cards, and I feel it has hit pretty close to the mark so far!
What inspired you to start Implicit Playing Cards?
Honestly, I never had plans to actually distribute/sell these cards to the public. I wanted my own custom deck of playing cards that were quite different to the feel and design of traditional decks out there. I wanted a deck that made a statement as soon as they were presented to an audience.
While researching how to actual make these decks a reality a quickly found out that there was a minimum order to get custom cards made…and I didn’t have the money, nor the storage space in my apartment to make that happen. So, I thought there would be no harm in asking my followers on Instagram if they would support my project (which was a strong “YES”). After receiving the positive feedback, I got some samples made, created some content for the Kickstarter campaign, started to build a bit of hype online and then hit the green light to launch my campaign! To date I have raised over $40,000 for Implicit Playing Cards (which still boggles my mind).
Tell us about your career and background.
I graduated from Swinburne University of Technology with a degree in Psychology. While completing my degree I dabbled quite a bit in starting side hustles, anything from clothing brands to apps. These mini ventures had varied levels of success, but the process taught me a lot about social media, digital marketing, and marketing strategy as well as making me realise that I have a love for startup businesses/startup culture.
I now currently work as the head of Sales & Marketing for the Australian startup resortwear brand Skwosh. This has been an incredible experience so far and I can’t wait to see Skwosh continue to grow as a brand.
Describe a typical work day for you.
I start every morning with a double espresso while reading up on the latest news from my RSS feeds. After that, I head off to the gym to get a bit of a workout in before I start work. My day-to-day while in the office can vary quite a bit (which is one of the aspects I love about startups). Recently though we have been organising the launch of our upcoming clothing collections, while also preparing for our trip next month to exhibit Skwosh at the Miami Swim Week trade show (I can’t wait!).
What advice do you have for those wanting to start a business?
If it’s an idea you can’t stop thinking about, and you’ve done enough research to know that there’s a chance that it will work, just go for it (as long as it doesn’t put you/your loved ones in a really uncomfortable financial state). You don’t want to look back on your life and regret not giving these things a chance.
What’s next for you, and Implicit Playing Cards?
The next thing I have planned for Implicit Playing Cards is to release the third edition next year. I’m looking at changing up the design quite a bit, potentially pull it towards a minimal yet classy direction.
As for me, I plan on continuing to develop my strategic marketing skills by working as part of the Skwosh team. I’d also love to learn more about the startup tech world as I’ve had a few ideas I wouldn’t mind pursuing/looking into. So if there’s anyone out there reading this that’s involved in the tech world and wouldn’t mind teaching me a few things feel free to get in touch with me via social media/ LinkedIn.