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Jonny started Ticket Tailor in 2010. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Ticket Tailor?
Back in 2005, I was a student at Birmingham University UK studying software engineering. It’s a big city, with a large student population and lots going on – as a music fan I was keen to get stuck into what was on offer beyond the cheesy student nights.
In those days, information on the internet was pretty sparse, and so I would go to record shops and collect flyers for everything that was going on, type it up, and publish it on a listings website I created called “What’s on in Brum?”.
Once word got out about the website, not only did I make a bit of pocket money (say $100/mo) but it also landed me a few web development clients.
I was soon building websites for local club brands (where I also got some DJ gigs and made some great friends) and built an e-commerce website for a local ticket agency that was previously telephone and shop-based.
In my final year, a friend and I ran a club night for charity. I remember not wanting to use an agency for selling tickets as it meant paying a large fee on each ticket sale and sharing data.
All I needed was a means to take payment online and issue a ticket – a pretty simple problem for a developer. I set up a quick PayPal button, and that was that. The event was fairly small and this solution was good enough.
After university, I had enough clients to continue freelancing and I naturally ended up building a lot of ticketing and registration systems for a range of clients.
Potential new clients came to me with a similar story to what I’d experienced: they didn’t want to use a ticketing agency because the fees were too high, and they didn’t want to have to share their data. But for a lot of them, the cost of a bespoke system also didn’t make sense, so in the end, I was turning clients away.
As things got busier I realized that the only way to grow a bespoke service business would be to hire more people. I didn’t find this prospect particularly appealing, feeling it wouldn’t be scalable or that fun to work on. This way of working wasn’t, well, working for me anymore, and it wasn’t working for many potential clients, either.
I’d read stories of other businesses in a similar situation moving from bespoke web development services to way more scalable software products (like WildBit and 37 Signals) and I realized there was an opportunity staring me in the face. Lots of software products businesses were achieving success by cutting out the middleman, and that’s what I needed to do. For many, ticketing is a software product problem, not a middleman problem.
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story
- Wiki Updater