Dean Salakas – The Party People


I am Dean Salakas, Chief Party Dude at The Party People. 30 Years ago my mum was patches the clown and she started a party store. Today we have over 40 staff and are the largest party store in Australia.

Oprah once quoted ‘You’ve got to follow your passion – You’ve got to figure out what it is you love – who you really are. And have the courage to do that. I believe that the only courage anybody ever needs is the courage to follow your own dreams.” Please share, how you had the courage to follow your own dreams.
Tell us what the word “Entrepreneur” means to you?
What has been the biggest lesson you have learned from being an entrepreneur?

I have learned to believe in my abilities. Confidence without being able to back it up is arrogance. I was not confident to start with but I am now with constantly being able to get past bit challenges.

What inspired you to start your own business, and how did you go about identifying a need in the market that your business could address?
When I started at Woolworths, everyone in head office was minimum 20 years experience. I was an anomoly. My manager went rougue and hired someone outside the company with no experience simply because he said he needed a “bull terrier” and thought I would be the guy. Turns out he was right, I wouldnt accept when people told me things where unable to be changed, I changed them. Each time I was told “you cant do that, its not possible, I wont support your project” and I did I succeeded with my project. After 5 years, people started to say “I cant see how you will achieve that, but I am sure you will find a way”. I went from being the underdog expected to fail to people expecting me to succeed. It took the fun out of it. So when the idea of taking on the family business where most small business fail came up, I couldnt resist.
What is your favourite quote about “following your dreams”?

There’s no such thing as luck. Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?

Don’t do it! Its hard and there are always setbacks. Its constant and taxing…if you ignore my advice, you might have what it takes to get through the challenge of starting a business. I believe most fail because the setbacks are just too much, its the ones that push through those set backs no matter how great that is the difference between those that go on with it and those that don’t.

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