Making Something From Nothing

Marty Cornish
Illustration of a young Marty Conish sitting isolated on the steps of a mobile home surrounded by kids running and playing.

Marty Cornish got used to not having what the other kids had: fancy sneakers, wholesome lunches and a dad to help.

Illustration of young Marty Cornish standing on a golf course, picking up a golfball. Silhouetted figures are visible in the distance.

But Marty had gumption and good ideas. He collected lost balls from the golf course, bleached them overnight, and resold them, making AU$200 a month — not bad for a 10-year-old.

Illustration of Marty Cornish standing in front of a wall covered with graffiti.

As a teenager, Marty sold energy drinks and CDs, but inside the classroom he had zero-percent hustle. He flunked his courses.

Illustration of Marty Cornish holding a bill that reads "Final Notice", with empty bottles visible on the table nearby.

After high school Marty drank too much, partied too hard and fell behind on his rent. Still, with his charisma and creativity, he found success in sales.

Illustration of Marty Cornish sitting in an office wearing a white shirt and tie, with the city skyline visible in the background.

As an adman for a national firm, Marty was exposed to multimillion-dollar fashion brands — and decided to start his own. Made Status aimed to capture Marty’s own story: Making something from nothing.

Illustration of Marty Cornish standing with his arms crossed wearing an army uniform, with large war ships visible in the background.

To buy time while incubating his company, Marty joined the Australian army. Not only did he save money, he also learned to be a stronger leader who made quick decisions.

Illustration of two silhouetted figures working, one on a computer, the other drawing next to a sewing machine. A clothing rack is visible in the background.

Still in the army, Marty enlisted his uncle to build a website and his then-girlfriend to design clothing. First run? Fifteen T-shirts.

Illustration of Marty Cornish standing at a crossroads, with a traffic sign that reads: "Made Status" to the left and "Army" to the right.

Marty could have waited for deployment — but he chose to double down on Made Status. He sold his car, invested his savings, and grew his product line.

Illustration of Marty Cornish standing next to a car with a "For Sale" sign, while a group of people wearing his apparel stand nearby. Their shirts read "From Nothing to Something", "The World is Ours", and "Life Long Dreams".

For the first couple of years, Marty still had trouble with the rent. But the brand moved in the right direction. Targeting new markets and honing Marty’s online following brought earnings to more than AU$100,000.

Illustration of the Made Status online store on devices amongst people wearing apparel that reads "Life Long Dreams" and "Ambition".

Online ads and email marketing boosted growth. Made Status recently had nine staffers and topped $1.2 million in annual sales. It’s a hit among athletes, hip-hop artists, and micro-influencers.

Illustration of Marty Cornish stnding on an empty golf course, looking into the distance.

And the kid who resold lost golf balls can now afford to pay a few rounds himself.

Illustrations by Alvaro Tapia Hidalgo
Words by Jacky Habib