Former Teacher Turned His School Project Into a Full-Time Business

Sometimes life takes unexpected turns and former teacher Alex Dodson realized this after he researched ideas for upcycled projects for his students. Back in 2015, when researching the project, he came across an LPG cylinder that resembled the Star Wars villain Darth Vader, which gave him the idea to create his own designs.

The 38-year-old teacher decided to quit teaching and turn his passion into his full-time career after his Darth Vader wood burner went viral. “It didn’t look much like Darth Vader, more like an Angry Birds version, but I posted it on Facebook and it went crazy,” he told LADbible.

He decided to set up a workshop in his Dad’s garage and started making Vader Burners. Flash forward four years and he’s the company director and lead designer at Burned By Design, which makes made to order wood burners, fire pits, and barbecues all around the world.

His popularity came after he sent one of his Vader Burners to a client in Australia and the client sent him a slow-motion video of it burning—a video that has since been watched over 22 million times.

Dodson’s products include a Millennium Falcon, Storm Trooper and Death Star wood burners, and an AT-AT barbeque grill which retails for almost $2,000! It’s no wonder he’s had huge success as Star Wars has reached peak fandom.

In addition to Star Wars inspired designs he also creates music, sci-fi, movies, sports, etc designs. Check some of them out below.