This Teacher Leaves His School Job After His Side Project Goes Big

Alex Dodson never would have imagined that the upcycling project he was carrying out for students in 2015 could grow into a whole career. It all started when he found similarities between an LPG cylinder and Darth Vader’s mask.

Four years since then, Alex is a director and chief designer of his own company – Burned By Design. They make wood burners and barbecue grills and ship them all around the world. It was only a matter of putting his first Darth Vader-like burner online for it to go viral and help him start his own business.

In an interview he recalls that the first burner didn’t even look like Darth Vader that much, but it went immediately viral online. So he set up a little workroom in his father’s garage and started copying those Darth Vader wood burners. There was another vital point in this whole story though, – after Alex sent one of his Darth Vaders to Australia and the owner posted a slow-mo video of it burning. That video counted more than 22 million (!) views and brought Alex many orders.

Pretty soon he had orders stacked up to make a 4 months waiting list, so he needed to dedicate his new business more time, if not all of his time. That’s how he left his teaching job. With Star Wars being very popular again, Alex kept on replicating its characters and machines like Storm Trooper, Death Star and Millennium Falcon. His burners and grills cost up to $2,000.

His designs include music and other sci-fi movies as well. Check out his other works here: