I first met Samantha at a BNI networking event and was thoroughly impressed right from the word go. She’s welcoming, quietly confident and you know instantly that she’s an action taker – the girl means business! She’s only in her mid twenties yet has one successful business under her belt and is just about to launch another. This time, however, it’s in a totally different arena and some might say it’s a little “oh la la!” Read on to find out about her full story into entrepreneurship.
[box]Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself! TWEET THIS[/box]
Sam Causon, Founder of Creative Baked
My name is Samantha Causon and I’m the founder of Creative Baked. We design and offer creative solutions for every aspect of marketing, from print design and production, to web design and build. From single items of stationery to product catalogues and e-commerce websites, we dedicate the same care and attention to design projects of all sizes. Studying our clients and their target market is at the heart of our approach, helping us to fulfil their brief and achieve their goals. You can find us online at www.creativebaked.co.uk.
What made you decide to start your business?
After graduating, I applied for jobs and was fortunate to have several offers. Instead of choosing to work for a larger company in Canary Wharf, London, I picked a local company, nearer to home, in Reigate. Being completely honest, I really didn’t fancy the commute! The company was small and niche and taught me so much. However, when the company made me redundant I knew it was the right time to go it alone. I wasn’t really phased as I’d come from a very entrepreneurial family so I had their full support. That was 18 months ago and I’m so glad I did it.
How did you initially find your customers?
Initially I approached my friends and family on Facebook. I kept my prices low to ensure I’d get work and I got out there approaching clients and asking for the business! I also joined the BNI chapter in Reigate, which has provided an incredible return on investment. It’s also helped me grow my business by learning new skills through the combined pool of knowledge.
As a branding and design agency, what has it been like designing your brand?
That’s been tough! I say that for several reasons. Firstly it’s on account of the time you need to devote to your brand, and secondly it’s getting it right as I’m the client! I came up with the name Creative Baked, and The Recipe for Success as a strap line when I started. I liked the idea of Creative Baked – having all the right ingredients to add flavour to our clients’ marketing and I wanted it to be a vital ingredient in their success.
What have been your biggest challenges as an entrepreneur?
My biggest challenge has been keeping up with technology as it’s constantly changing. Responsive design is an area that excites me but consumes so much time. We take pride in crafting high quality code and the latest responsive layout techniques so staying on top of this is vital. After the challenge of technology, comes delivery. With so much work coming in regularly, it’s been hard work fulfilling it at times. I’ve not wanted to use contract staff or outsource so I’ve been working long hours. My future business partner is returning to the area shortly so that will really help things. We’ve known each other since we were at school, and I trust her implicitly. With complimentary capabilities it’s a great union.
What types of clients do you work for?
We haven’t chosen a specific sector to niche in so our clients are really diverse, which I like. Our clients know that we want the same as them – the best, most effective designs online and off, which stand up to the most rigorous scrutiny. We go out of our way to make sure that happens. We feel it’s this approach to their work that ensures we don’t just delight but inspire. It’s something we and our clients can be proud of and it creates an incredibly strong relationship.
If you could outsource one bit of your business what would it be?
That’s easy… the paperwork! When you take on your own company doing something you love, you also have to take on some of the bits that you don’t! Luckily there are companies out there for this. I am doing it this year to gain the experience, it teaches you the best way to approach it in the future, any hurdles along the way I can learn from.
Do you think university prepares designers, artists and those in creative mediums for work?
In my personal opinion, no. I learnt more from doing work experience alongside university. The real world was completely different; Modules should have been more like Live briefs. When you come out of university, each design student has the grade, but the biggest selling point for them will be their portfolio. If the employee can not relate to their portfolio it makes it harder for them to see how they will execute a project.
What one piece of advice would you give other creative entrepreneurs who are starting out?
Really get yourself out there and make people know you’re there. Work hard to give your clients more than what they want because word of mouth is the best and most valuable way to advertise. Make sure you and your design work leaves a lasting impression, in this industry – you don’t want to be forgotten!
What does success look like to you with Creative Baked?
Success to me is enjoying what you do and being paid for it! You live once, make the most of it, be who you want to be and do what you want to do. If you’re happy the rest will fall into place.
You have some great offers on for start-ups, can you tell me more?
There’s the Welcome Pack folder with inserts. It’s currently half price and for £400 we’ll design a folder with inserts that you can use as a portfolio, a case study or as datasheets. They give your company an edge over your competitors. You can hand them out to potential clients and help them see what your business is all about.
We also have a Website design package for those starting a business or in need of a brand update. It’s also half price right now, so for £780 we offer a static 10page website with 1 month’s free hosting and a free domain name for 2 years. You get the option for a gallery and a contact page with a from. Additionally, you’ll get a free favicon, Google analytics and basic SEO.
Tell me about your next project?
My next project is completely different to this as I’m creating Pole Fitness Classes! We’re launching on the 1st November in Reigate, Surrey. I started pole dancing as a way to keep fit and was stunned at the results. The strength you gain from pole is like no other, you physically look better and feel better! If you can see past the sex industry then you’ll see what incredible athletes pole dancers are, and the skill and dedication it takes to perform some of the stunts they do. In my opinion it really should become an Olympic sport! Some pole dancers put gymnasts to shame with their abilities! If anyone wants more information on this just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The moral of the story
When I think about Samantha’s story for far, I can’t help but think of that quote: “I think we complicate things when it’s really quite simple; find what it is that makes you happy and who it is that makes you happy and you’re set. Promise.” So for me, the moral of this story is that life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself. Success comes when you set yourself free and get yourself out there! Without a doubt, Samantha has done a great job of this so far and I believe this young entrepreneur’s success story has only just begun. She’s found a way to combine her love of fitness with her passion and ability for art and design. AND, importantly make money from them!
So my question to you is, are you setting yourself free and doing what makes you happy? If you’re not, what’s holding you back? I made a promise to myself earlier this year that I would find the courage to do this, and I’m now on my way. Let me know how you’re getting on as I’d love to hear.
Thank you, as always for reading and contributing here. If you found this useful, please share it with your friends!
With love and gratitude – as always,
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