Starting with less than $300


Plaates is a new project Jodie and I recently launched. The idea came to us a couple of years ago while we were in Bali and eating off a Lucas Grogan plastic melamine plate. It was our FUCK YEAH moment while eating cheese and crackers off a plate with FUCK YEAH printed on it. We were really interested in the hard waring, virtually indestructible nature of melamine with a really cool design on it. At the time we were not ready to pursue it but timing feels right now.

The best part of letting this idea sit on a shelf (pardon the pun) for a couple years is how easy it has now become to launch a business online now.

So easy that we’ve been able to keep the initial costs below $300 to be able to reach the point of shipping our first order out the door.

Here are a few of the things we’ve setup with limited resources … just a desire to get out there and start talking to people about a fun new project.

$13.17 – Buy the domain name – Hover
$ 0 – Setup a paypal account – Paypal
$29.00 per month – Signup to a basic Shopify cart – Shopify
$ 0 – Gmail – gotta love free Gmail – Google
$100 cost of the first batch of plates
$75 initial marketing – Instagram and Facebook
$14.29 per month – Photoshop – to cleanup product images for your cart
* A camera – I use a Panasonic Lumix 100 but at a pinch any new smartphone takes cracker photos
* A few props to help take some great photos
* Your own voice – Jodie asks for feedback from as many people as possible. In the middle of eating a noodle soup she has whipped out the iPad and asked the waitress for feedback.

It is by no means complicated – the business itself is very simple (we’re shipping plates not saving lives) but I have learnt it’s far more efficient to strip away the complexity early on. It’s amazing how much I would over complicate the idea by adding more features, agonising over a name, this design doesn’t look right, we need more features, the photo isn’t perfect, the copy doesn’t look right … all excuses that would invariably pile up and just lead to a delay in getting the idea out there and in front of people to see.

Cheers, Erz

You can now buy our first batch of plates from And don’t forget the discount code MAATES for a 20% discount because it’s maates rates for plaates!

Erz Imam sits in a warehouse called depo8 and builds shiny new things.

depo8 offers hourly desk hire with no lock in contracts. Stay for an hour. Or rent for a month. It’s entirely up to you.