The venture enjoyed early success, but the colourful and distinctive line of clothing suffered somewhat from a lack of exposure as marketing was basically limited to Saturdays at the Punanga Nui Market.
And so the hunt for the perfect spot to set up a showroom began. And eventually, it landed Daniel a prime spot beside Avatiu harbour.
MAD Box is the latest addition to the lineup of businesses in the harbour area, and already it is attracting plenty of attention from passers-by.
“Initially, I wanted to set up the shop opposite Palace Takeaways, but space wasn’t available. Then I saw this space next to the Palace so I enquired with Ports Authority. They asked for a proposal to be put through the board for them to consider,” Daniel explained.
“I made the proposal and submitted it for their monthly board of directors meeting. A month and a half later, I received news from them that I had pretty much secured the location.”
With one hurdle down, Daniel began planning the shop, a process which took a year.
“It wasn’t easy to work out all the logistics, to get the funds and the building materials. Originally, I wanted the shop to be locally built, but due to a clause in our arrangement with the Ports Authority, I opted for setting up a custom-made container showroom,” he said.
“I had to source the building materials from overseas and there was a lot of burning the midnight oil in getting the materials through. And once they were here, it took plenty of hard work to set up the shop and get it ready for opening.”
All that planning and hard work paid off though, because just a week after work on the shop began, MAD Box was ready for business.
Now MAD Box is attracting plenty of attention and providing an excellent avenue for Daniel to promote his work.
“This (MAD Box) has certainly improved our business because prior to this, we had basically half a day in a week to sell our product,” Daniel said.
“Now we are open from Monday to Saturday right in the centre of the Avatiu business strip and this provides us with more opportunity to promote our business.
“Since we opened, customers have made numerous enquiries as to how we set up this business and how they can go about placing their print orders, etc.
“Having the Box has truly improved the profile of MAD Designs.”
MAD Designs was initially formed with the aim of designing apparel that would instill island pride. For Daniel, it was a way of promoting the culture and tradition of the Cook Islands to the younger generation.
“I design island pride into the apparel we sell. The idea behind this is to help young people to understand that each island has its own story and each island has its (own traditional) name,” he said.
“These designs depict stories of the particular island that features on t-shirts, for example. I have produced apparel featuring eight of the 15 islands and am currently working on the remaining islands.”
MAD Designs uses a new technology in printing called sublimation print.
The process puts the dye on inside the fabric, unlike screen printing where it sits on top of the fabric.
“We do all sorts of designs, be it for sports apparel or family reunion uniforms, for example, and in the future, we will be looking at targeting some of the corporates for their uniforms.
“We use only original designs and sometimes we use local designers to help out. Some years back I did a venture with the Tereora College arts class. I wanted to pick some of the kids out of that class and help them in their design aspirations.
“All our designs are locally done and designed by me with the assistance of family and friends who suggest ideas.”
You can also check out MAD-Designs on Facebook.