The old rundown building stood unassumingly on Main North Rd, its windows boarded up, its fences tagged with graffiti. Fair to say, we hadn't given the place much thought until Daniel joined the Think Tank property group at our church.
They offered a church the Elephant House once, someone had said at the meeting.
The Elephant House?
Curious, Daniel told me of what he'd learned about the place that we so often drove past and yet never really saw.
So began our research...
As it happens, Tommy the elephant, Adelaide's first elephant, resided there around 1855. This young elephant from India became somewhat of a sideshow act for the Smithfield Hotel along with a means to plough fields. However, he soon proved himself to be a mischief maker, spraying people down with his trunk and pinching people's washing.
I was enchanted.
We instantly started dreaming of the possibilities and potential of the Elephant House.
Quirky cafe? Maybe a teahouse...
Book shop? Maybe a co-working space...
Could we use the external space for a landscape company, or...
Our dreams quickly expanded, exceeding our current financial situation.
Still, we were enchanted.
I decided to use the Elephant House as a model for my directed study on creative community spaces. By this time, Daniel had left his high paying job to study theology. We were both students, I was only working part time, and after a long-winded battle with Centrelink, we discovered Daniel wasn't entitled to Austudy.
We were further than our dream than ever.
Or so we thought,,,
Our lack of income meant Daniel had to seek another means of employment. Last year, we had briefly entertained the idea of taking on a high-pressure cleaning business and call it Acqua Blast. Now we were playing with the notion of taking that idea and making it more specific. Perhaps we could do car detailing? Perhaps it could be a business that could eventually run outside of our creative community space, so people could have their cars detailed and stop in for a coffee and a book...
Once again, our imaginations ran amok and one Saturday morning, while Daniel was out washing the car, I came up with a new logo design... incorporating... an elephant...
We were sold.
It felt good and it felt right.
This would be the first step. We would start a mobile car detailing business in hopes that one day, we would have a physical space to call our own.
In amongst this change of events, I had finished my long-term writing project and wanted to source a new publisher. I looked into a traditional publisher who thrived on publishing the exact genre I was after (Christian/fantasy). Though they were happy for me to forward my manuscript, they weren't looking at new projects until 2020. Since I'm an individual who suffers greatly from 'now-syndrome', I couldn't wait that long. I wanted the project out and done so I could move on, even if that meant self-publishing. I glanced down that route, I even looked to a mentor who could assist with the parts I didn't understand about publishing. It was at that moment when I thought, why couldn't I understand it?
It was a Thursday night and I couldn't sleep. All I kept wondering was, Could I be an indie publisher?
I briefly pitched the idea to Daniel the following morning who swiftly replied, of course you can, why not?
It was set.
Better yet, he even came up with the name - Elephant House Press.
Two days later, we had a website.
Four weeks later, Daniel has his equipment, marketing material and has started detailing cars in between his uni work. Likewise, I've taken on a book of poetry, a children's book, and am running a winter writing competition. I've also learned the mind-curdling art of formatting books....
Most nights we sit by the fire with a glass of wine, two laptops on the coffee table, and countless dreams swirling about us. A husband and wife duo fueled by inspiration, faith, and a whole lot of prayer.
We're excited to share this journey with you, a venture that has birthed in our first year of marriage. God only knows what He has install for us in the years to come...
photo source: http://www.playford.sa.gov.au/elephant