Sep 14, 2016 | Stall Profile, TVM Startup Stall

We've personally been there before.....When life throws a curveball at you and your nine to five falls comes to an unexpected end, you turn the negative into a positive and create your own path. It's the push you need to follow your passion and create a job you love.

That was the case for boilermaker turned coal miner turned entrepreneur and designer Nik Horrigan who joins TVM for the first time this Sunday with his label, NIKKE HORRIGAN.

We were inspired by Nik's story and thought he was the perfect fit for our recently launched TVM Startup Stall. We chatted to Nik about how he got the kick start he needed to launch his business.


I grew up in a small suburb in Ipswich called Brassall. I did a bit of everything, my dad pushed me to become an apprentice boiler maker and plumber. But I wanted to see the world so joined the navy to become an aircraft tech but I hated being told what to do - so that didn't go down well! Then I found myself working as an underground coal miner.

What made your pursue your creative passion?
I felt that I was different, a bit of an outsider growing up. I always wanted to live my life with a certain sense of identity and live in a way that allowed me to be happy. I always had good fashion sense growing up close with my mother. But it was after I was unfairly dismissed from my job when I was working at an underground mine, everything changed. I promised myself that I wouldn't let myself be treated like that again. And I started focusing on what I love.

When did you take the plunge and start your own business?
I've been chipping away at if for a few years on and off while I was working. But it wasn't till last year when I lot of personal things happened to me that I knew I had to make the change. So I quit my job and travelled Europe to reboot. And I told myself, "If can get through it all, I can do anything". I had seen the light at the end of the tunnel, and I realized I have what it takes, so I launched the label at the end of last year.

What does your brand consist of?
At the moment it's tee's, shirts, jeans, shorts and headwear. But I'd like to get into eyewear, underwear and fragrance in the future.



Where is the label designed and made?
Crazy story, I tried make my clothes in Australia but none wanted to work with me because I was a no-body. I decided to take the leap of faith and buy a ticket to China and bang on every factory door until someone would help me. So long story short, I got lucky and found an Australian factory based in China, and the strangest thing was that the owner and I went to the same school in Ipswich!


What inspires you?
That life is what you make it.

What are your plans for the brand and where do you hope it takes you?
I'd like to see the label become a lifestyle brand and compete with the major high end brands like Saint Laurent, Balmain and Alexander Wang. I hope to travel the world and live in different places and meet people from all walks of life.

What were the biggest challenges when launching your brand?
Patience and investing money and time into yourself. It's hard not to compare yourself with people around you because when you choose a non-traditional path in life there's not a lot of people around you.

What is the best thing about having your own business?
It's very fulfilling.

One piece of advice for someone hoping to start their own small business that you wish you’d been told?
Think twice before you sign something.


Find Nik Horrigan at TVM this Sunday 18 September +

Instagram: @nikkehorrigan