Inspired partly by an advertisement for "Lord Coconut's Emporium of Wonder" that appeared in the Argus newspaper in 1891, Mark Boldiston opened an eponymous store-cum-gallery in Melbourne in May 2011. While he has spent most of his adult life working in universities he decided to open Lord Coconut to sell and support Australian artisans creating contemporary jewellery, cufflinks and art for men. Mark is offering Daily Imprint readers a 10% discount on any online purchases made until the end of April. Simply type in the discount code DAILY.
Which five words best describe you? Nice, driven, considerate, grumpy, overweight.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I was lucky enough to go to university when a university education included what occurred via the student union/association, not just what you learnt in the classroom. It's a real loss that this appears to be no longer the norm. That time at university was my first opportunity to try different things, listen to different music, meet a wide variety of people and change the way I dressed until I found what worked for me. This led me to become involved in the student association and running the university social program (and meeting my first true mentor - PJ Sturgess). That eventually led to nine years working at two different universities running social and sporting events before moving into roles within various professional associations (CPA, LIV, RANZCP) once voluntary student unionism came in. A sabatical out of the workforce to find what work would make me truly happy led to the opening of Lord Coconut.
What's the best lesson you've learnt along the way? Treat everyone the same way as you expect to be treated. You may not get that in return all the time but everyone is responsible for their own behaviour. How can you expect to be treated with respect if you don't treat anyone else with respect?
What's your proudest career achievement? Proudest career achievement will always be seeing the personal development first-year students experience whilst at university. They'd often come in shy, alone kids not knowing who they really are and after a bit of time involved in extra-curricular activities at university, leave as confident young adults knowing who they really are, not who their parents or peers think they should be. I always loved being part of that process whilst working at university.
What's been your best decision? Giving up my last 9 to 5 role and taking a leap of faith in my own ability to start my own business. It's always hard to give up the guarenteed dollars but working for yourself always beats working for someone else.
Who inspires you? My local jewellers, designers and artisans involved in the store. Their talent is amazing and they tend to do it for love, not money.
What are you passionate about? Local designers, jewellers and artisans. I like to surround myself with their handmade creations. We all talk about supporting Australian or locally made goods but how many us truly support our local artisans and buy our clothes, furniture and artwork from close to home? I do. And I'm passionate about it.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I'm not really into meeting famous/successful people, living or dead. It's hard enough finding time to spend with family and friends!
What dream do you still want to fulfil? As I'm usually quite lucid when I dream, I tend to fulfil most of them, just to see how they end.
What are you reading? Just magazines and newspapers, I'm afraid including The Age, Time, Living Etc (although I'm waiting for a full day to read the latest Matthew Reilly story and see what Scarecrow gets up to at a million miles a minute).
images courtesy of lord coconut