Posted: Fri 13th Mar 2015
Kate Brewer started her business almost by accident as she started blogging for her sister's design collection. From a blog was born a business that scouts out and showcases graduate design talent from across the UK. This entrepreneur hopes even more people will have heard of the business after a PR and Marketing strategy kicks in.
When did you start the business and how did you come up with the idea?
I am a designer and have been working in the industry for nearly 11 years as a retail interior and furniture designer for brands such as Mulberry, All Saints and Selfridges.
In 2011 my sister graduated as an illustrator and wanted to go it alone. With no support or guidance available, I started a blog showcasing her work, and also began to feature other graduate designers from across the UK. Being based in London, I was seeing there was a real lean towards highlighting talent in the capital, and I wanted to show that amazing creative designers were working right across the country.
From online talent searches through sites like Arts Thread, I started to visit degree shows, New Designer's, D&AD New Blood and Free Range, and as well as blogging about work, decided to set-up an online presence where graduates and emerging designers could sell their work, gain insight into pricing, gain feedback from customers and give them the initial platform to get their names out there and offer the confidence to set-up on their own.
Over the last 4 years, Look Like Love has developed an e-commerce site and showcased new talent as part of London Design Festival in 2013 and 2014. I'm currently in the process of organising my next pop-up shop - this time a week-long event during Clerkenwell Design Week in London.
How are you making sales and getting known?
The re-launch of the website (looklikelove.co.uk) in September 2014 has been fundamental in getting the name out there. Previously, the blog and small shop offer were on different platforms. Having these all under one roof was important for growing the business and showcasing Look Like Love as a more established brand, leading toan increase in exposure as well as sales.
Social Media has always been important in gaining exposure, and as a small business that doesn't have a huge budget for PR and marketing, it's the perfect way to gain a following, not only to attract customers, but also new and emerging designers interested in what Look Like Love has to offer.
What's been the best bit of marketing you've ever done?
I'm not sure I can take credit for this, but for the exhibition in September 2014, (as part of London Design Festival), I signed up to be part of Shoreditch Design Triangle. It meant the exhibition was part of their community of events in the area, and subsequently picked-up by the TV channel 'London Live'. On launch night a film crew turned up and interviewed me, as well as several of the designers. Without the pr and marketing support from Shoreditch Design Triangle, this wouldn't have happened.
What are your plans for growth?
This year there's a big push towards establishing a PR and marketing strategy. With the new website now established, I feel confident to get the name and story out there.
I attended a PR Workshop hosted by Lizzie Slee at Somerset House as part of Enterprise Nation's calendar of events at the end of last year, which was incredibly useful in understanding the intricacies of promoting what I do.
I'm also planning to link up with universities directly to talk with students in their final year to offer advice and support, and potentially scout for new talent before their Summer degree shows! For the first time, I'm also sponsoring a degree show this year which is really exciting for me to extend the support I offer even further.
How does being a member of Enterprise Nation help you grow as a business?
I attended the PR Workshop as a non-member, but it was clear that becoming a member was extremely beneficial to opening up a wealth of business support, specifically catering for start-ups and small businesses.
I'm always looking at which workshops could benefit me and the business, and the free 1-2-1 sessions for PR and marketing is an added bonus! I'm actually having mine with Lizzie Slee today!
Visit Kate's website at: looklikelove.co.uk
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