'Ban the single-use prime minister' meme spawns start-up overnight
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'Ban the single-use prime minister' meme spawns start-up overnight

Gwen Blake didn't mean to start a new business.

Frustrated as yet another prime minister was ousted, the packaging designer created a meme of a photo of a bag with the words "Ban the single-use prime minister" on it.

Gwen Blake says the meme was "just a little Australian political joke" that she shared on social media.

Gwen Blake says the meme was "just a little Australian political joke" that she shared on social media.Credit:Stephen Blake

Blake told Fairfax Media the meme was "just a little Australian political joke" that she shared on social media.

She was bantering with her friend, political journalist Annabel Crabb, and Blake says she decided to create an image with the slogan on a bag.

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"I never had any intention to make it," she says. "Then the post got shared like a zillion times and everyone was asking for the bag. So I've created a business overnight."

Blake is the co-owner of Sydney packaging and design company Boxer and Co and says she already had the contacts in place to get manufacturing off the ground for the fledgling business she has called Sans Sheriff.

"I had just intended it as a funny visual joke but people thought it was an actual bag and then there were people saying they were going to make it," she said.

You can actually think 'I'll start a business' on a Saturday night and by Monday have decent sales happening.

"I thought 'Hang on a sec', I'll do it myself' - I have made merchandise in the past so I knew what I was doing. I quickly made a logo and created a store."

Blake says orders have been pouring in for the bag, which she is selling via online marketplace Etsy.

"Within 36 hours I had sold more than 400," she says. With the bags priced at $20 each, the business has turned over more than $8000 in its first two days.

Gwen Blake created her business in a weekend.

Gwen Blake created her business in a weekend.

"It did take two big kind of news stories and throw them together in a zeitgeist way but I think Aussies in general just want a bit of light relief from what was happening in Canberra," Blake says.

After getting her business off the ground over the course of a weekend, Blake says its amazing how quickly a start-up can be created.

"In the old days, it would have taken months to identify, respond to, then advertise the response to that moment," she says. "Now creating a product and setting up a sales channel can happen on a phone, at home, when you’re getting on with your life, cooking dinner and looking after a sick kid. You can actually think 'I'll start a business' on a Saturday night and by Monday have decent sales happening."

However, Blake says while Sans Sheriff will continue she plans to close orders for the hit bags this week.

"I want it to be fresh," she says. "Hopefully I won't be a one-hit wonder and I will come up with something else funny. I just think this joke is right now and I don't want it to grow old. What a fun rollercoaster. I need a nap."

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