The Blink Boys: Best Friends and Business Partners
While on holiday in the Perhentian Islands, two Dilworth Old boys, Andrew Slane and Asher Walker (Class of 2007) decided to quit their jobs and start their own business. This marked the start of Auckland creative studio ‘Blink’ which they founded with their friend and Dilworth Old Boy Timothy Slane (Class of 2008). Starting out with just one client in 2015, the young men have grown their business and continue to service a number of high profile clients including Uber, Auckland Council and H&M.
After graduating from Dilworth, the three young men (nicknamed ‘The Blink Boys’) all pursued university education in a range of disciplines including Business and Communications. They also worked in a variety of jobs including bartending and running club nights through to promotional work and retail. Asher and Tim had spent some time travelling and working overseas.
Each one of the ‘Blink Boys’ has always had a keen interest in creative pursuits and business. Prior to starting ‘Blink’ Andrew had been the General Manager of a print company, Asher was working in advertising and Tim had been working for a print and signage company.
“We’d previously created music with each other, started a jewellery business and ran events. We didn’t actually know what we were going to do when we started the company but each brought skill sets from our previous jobs and created a business that works. I like to think of it as a collage of each of our interests and skillsets,” explains Asher.
This diversity in skills is exactly what Asher attributes to the group's success. Blink provides services for creative strategy, content creation and execution, photography, copywriting and graphic design. On the physical side, they focus on signage, print and custom projects and events that involve parts of those industries.
“Coming from quite diverse work environments meant that we each brought knowledge of different industries to the table. We had also learnt the value of hard work and perseverance,” he said.
It was through their time at Dilworth that Asher believes the three young men learnt about the value and importance of hard work as well as about relationships.
“Dilworth taught us the value of hard work, the power of relationships and an independence that I don’t think is taught in other schools,” he explains.
(L to R) Andrew, Tim and Asher
Asher acknowledges that going into business with close friends is not for everyone, as it’s a challenging environment to navigate. However, he believes the Blink Boys have a different approach that has enabled them to succeed.
“We’ve heard a number of horror stories about friends and family that go into business with each other, but I think Dilworth gave us a bond that has meant we approach things differently. Dilworth taught us to value relationships and people. It also taught us to make the most of every opportunity given to you,” he said.
Despite the success the Blink Boys have seen in their career thus far, they clearly remember the risks they’ve had to take and challenges they’ve faced along the way, particularly at the start of their business journey.
“The scariest part of starting Blink was venturing into the unknown. We started with one small client and had no idea whether we were going to make enough money to even pay the rent. When starting something new, there’s always going to be the fear of failure but you’ve just got to keep moving and push on. Someone once told us the main thing is to show up each day, at specific hours and put pencil to paper. Something eventually will happen (and it did),” explains Asher.
This sentiment is echoed in the advice the Blink Boys would offer to current Dilworth students who have big ambitions and goals for the future.
“There’s no time like the present. Just stay focused and remember that people are the most important thing,” advises Asher.
As for the highlight in their business journey so far, aside from the great clients they have worked alongside, Asher’s personal highlight has been working alongside his best friends.
“We get to work with some incredible clients from small businesses that are just starting out through to Auckland Council and Commercial Bay but I think the highlight has been getting to do this journey with our best friends. We’re pretty lucky in that respect,” said Asher.
While the Blink Boys continue to take things one step at a time, they still have ambitions to grow and diversify their business.
“We’re slowly growing our team to the size we want it to be. We’d like to work towards owning our own building and diversifying the business into quite separate businesses, creating different teams that can sustain themselves. Ultimately we want to ensure that we’re still having fun.”