Starting the day with the co-founders of Hound & Bone

For Peter Daniells and Cassie Bone, it’s a short commute to work. Originally based in their living room, the pair recently upgraded their fine art printing business, Hound & Bone, to a shop front on Sydney Road, Brunswick complete with a separate living space upstairs. The duo behind this small business share their insights and experiences.

Living in your workspace has the expected positives and negatives, which differ depending on who you talk to.

“I miss the commute,” said Peter, who has a background in fine art and has worked in a variety of industries spanning printing, hospitality, and cycling. “It is nice having that disconnect. If you’ve had a hectic day by the time you get home you have worked it all out and don’t have to worry about it too much.”

Cassie on the other hand, who is currently finishing her Master of Arts and Cultural Management, relishes the days when she can skip the morning rush on public transport. “It’s nice not having to worry about seeing the world before I’m ready – I can prepare the day in my own way,” she explained.

The couple met a few years ago and decided to combine their complementary skills to start their own printing business.
“I really enjoy the administrational and project management side running a business and Pete brings more of the engineering brain,” said Cassie. “Between the two of us we have managed to tick enough boxes to make this happen.”
While the pair were somewhat cautious about leaping into a business as a couple initially, it’s proven to be advantageous.

“Occasionally I would wonder if I was mad to be running a business with my partner, but it is a really rewarding experience because you know how the other works – you know their weak spots and when to jump in and support them more.”

The couple is also mindful of not letting work spill into their personal lives – a balance that requires constant attention.

With a growing business, studies, part time jobs, a shopfront and a relationship, the pair share their typical mornings and how they are learning to juggle it all.

Peter Daniells and Cassie Bone’s morning ritual

Cassie: I’ve never been a morning person, ever. A lot of the time I rely on adrenaline to get me out of bed, otherwise I find it really difficult.

Peter: I think both of us work better at night and are at our most creative when it is past midnight.

Cassie: That said, our alarms still tend to go off anytime between seven and eight in the morning and we probably get less sleep than we should!

After we wake, the only ritual we strictly adhere to is coffee – it often happens before a shower happens!

Peter: Cassie will prefer the AeroPress coffee and I will do the plunger because I like mine hideously strong after years of caffeine abuse! Sometimes we might go to a cafe nearby if we are running late and grab some breakfast. But we are both pretty terrible at eating breakfast. A little later in the morning I might grab some fruit.

Cassie: The next thing for me is sweeping. It’s such a mundane task, but being on Sydney Road we have to be mindful of dust as it is the worst enemy for a fine art printer. Then the next port of call for me is emails.

Peter: For me, it’s printer on, wait for that to fire up, run nozzle checks, do the whole setup process, and then music. Without music it just doesn’t seem like the day has begun. At ten o’clock, we open our doors. Initially we were working by appointment only in our previous space, but more and more we are having customers drop in or repeat customers come in and say hello and tell us about a new project.

Cassie: We also have a lot of regional and interstate customers, so I’ll often have to run down orders to the post office. Even though the work I do is very behind the scenes, being able to tick the small boxes is really rewarding. The long hours are totally bearable if you really enjoy the work you do.

Peter: I think what I enjoy most about my work is the problem solving and collaborating with clients to make their idea a reality. Then there are the other milestones along the way like going to a client’s exhibition.

Cassie: We don’t really schedule a lunch break but at some point one of us might do a mad dash to get food. Typically we don’t take breaks at the same time because we need one of us to be available here.

Peter: I will often try and get out of the space and go for a walk and buy something locally. It’s been great getting to know this end of Sydney Road and noticing places popping up, like Very Good Falafel.
When running a small business, it is achieving the small things that keeps you going, so you have to learn to see value and enjoyment in those seemingly menial tasks.

Small business tips from Hound & Bone

1. If working from home, find a separation

“When we had the printer in our lounge room there wasn’t any separation between work and life – it was harder to close the door and pretend that you knocked off for the day. Now it is really nice to have a workspace downstairs and living upstairs and I find I can focus a lot better.” – Cassie

2. Social media can be the key to growth

“The reason we were able to get a business up and running in the first place was social media. It is something we can keep working on no matter where we are or what we are doing and keep content rolling out so people hear about us and what we are doing.” – Cassie

3. Get to know your community

“Seeing the finished piece at an exhibition or in its final incarnation is really rewarding. It feels like you’re part of a community, and the arts community is so interwoven so you get to see other familiar faces. It often feels like a catch up, not work!” – Peter

4. Maintain some independence when working with your partner

“So that life isn’t always about work, it does help that with our schedules and part time jobs we only cross over on Sundays and Mondays. It’s good to be able to catch up on little things you forget to mention, but also have space.” – Cassie

Photography credit: Matt Henry

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