Reinvention success story: Jeremy Fleming on stages to standing desks

This year’s Bondi Innovation Alliance Entrepreneur’s Christmas party features a fascinating panel discussion featuring success stories of business reinvention and lessons learned for next year and beyond.

Here’s panelist Jeremy Fleming‘s inspiring story of pivoting from stages to standing desks in 2020. Overcoming an existential threat to his business, growing the team 4x in the process and donating $35,000+ to charity. Wow!

Source: Cemoh

Jeremy is the Managing Director of Stagekings. Founded in 2015 they produce custom-designed decorated stages for music and arts festivals, corporate events, sporting events and more. From stage design to construction, scaffolds and structures.

Stagekings create the largest custom stages and event structures in Australia. From government projects to tv studios to the set for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. Known for doing what others can’t and thinking bigger, bolder, better.

They quickly built a great reputation in the event industry for their creativity and ground breaking work, ‘can-do’ attitude, world class team and their speed.

When COVID restrictions hit the events industry in March 2020, Stagekings saw their income go to $0 for 2020 and beyond. Forcing them into tough, emotional decisions to let go of staff.

In the space of just 48 hours, our entire income and job list for the remainder of 2020 (and beyond) was completely cancelled, and we had no choice but to make massive and instant cuts to our business.


The mix of emotions I felt was impossible to put into words” says Jeremy. Letting all of our hard working, loyal staff go was too much to bear. I felt sick to the core. We pretty much decided there and then that we had to – HAD to – come up with something to survive.

To survive as a business they used their creativity and brainstormed what else they could do with their talented team and their existing warehouse and tools. With 10,000’s Aussies starting to work from home – Stagekings saw an opportunity and pivoted to creating and selling simple, beautiful work-from-home IsoKing desks.

The IsoKing desk. Source: Stagekings

So we do what we always do at Stagekings when we need to get highly creative. Which is most days!

We gathered our talented team together, and we brainstormed. But this time, it wasn’t to impress a client, it was for survival of our business. This had to be our best work yet.

We thought about what people would need at a time like this, and realised that tens of thousands of Aussies would have to start working from home with almost immediate effect. We had a CNC router (specialised cutting machine), a large and well-kitted out warehouse set up to custom make pretty much anything, and an unbelievably talented team on tap, so we decided to produce super-simple but beautiful work-from-home desks – Stagekings style.

They sold 10,000+ products in the first 3 months and now have expanded to a range of 40+ items.

The team and their new Isoking range of products. Source: Stagekings

In just the first three months we made nearly 10,000 IsoKing products and sent them across Australia to thousands of new awesome customers. We quickly expanded the product range to more than 40 items, and we are releasing new products every week. It’s been good for business, great for morale, and has kept us afloat and busy during some strange times.

We increased our workforce from twelve to over fifty people working across four states, re-employing our entire staff base and quickly adding to the team with all kinds of highly-skilled event freelancers who found themselves out of work due to COVID-19.  It was pretty much a dream team that you may never have had the chance to hand pick during more normal times.

The pivot turned out to be great for morale and the business. On the people front – they were able to grow their team 4x and re-employ their staff and hire event professionals out of work to build a dream team.

We increased our workforce from twelve to over fifty people working across four states, re-employing our entire staff base and quickly adding to the team with all kinds of highly-skilled event freelancers who found themselves out of work due to COVID-19. It was pretty much a dream team that you may never have had the chance to hand pick during more normal times.

They turned what was a cataclysmic year for the events industry into an opportunity to serve the public, grow their team. Even donating a portion of their sales to Support Act, an Aussie charity providing support for the event & entertainment industry. Donating more than $35,000+ in just their first 3 months.

What a fantastic story of creativity, resilience and generosity.

You can meet Jeremy and our other fantastic panelists at the Christmas party. Get a ticket now before they sell out.

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