“Working in your socks and boxers,” says entrepreneur Mathieu Ajan. “That’s the life for a lot of creatives.” There’s something enticing, he says, about not going into an office, being your own boss, and setting your own hours.
But it also means that there are no colleagues around to advise you, no mentors to take you under their wings. “I started out as a photographer, and I was struggling to make a living in my chosen profession,” says Ajan. “And that’s when I realized that so many young people lack the knowledge to turn their passion into their profession.”
That was the spark for Teardusk, a media company designed to celebrate and nurture young creative talent. “I think we underestimate the importance of seeing other people do stuff,” Ajan says.
One way to bring people together is to sponsor networking events. The first one he organized, in his own South London neighborhood of Peckham, drew about 20 people. Pretty good, he thought. But the next one, in Central London’s Shoreditch, brought out 300 people. That convinced Ajan that he was on the right track.
“People always ask about our name,” he says. “It literally means crying through the night, putting your blood, sweat, and tears into what you love. All of us have been there.”
And Ajan just convinced the judges at the London Creator Awards, taking home an $18,000 prize in the Incubator category. That money will go a long way, he say, funding other events or even a film festival. He’d like to hire his first staffers for Teardusk, too.
“It’s all about perspective,” Ajan says. “I’ve learned a lot, and I’m ready to take it to the next level. I’ve written my preface, I have my introduction, and I’m ready to get into the middle.”