THEY are whizzkids at all aspects of design.
But the ambitious team at a new consultancy – named THAT Creative – are quick to admit that they needed business advice and know-how to make sure that their venture hits the ground running.
The good news was that as the partners were recent graduates of Huddersfield University, they could call on its business support team which offers free mentoring to new ventures.
Grants are available too, although THAT Creative has yet to explore that option.
“So far it is advice and support that we have sought,” said James Whitfield, one of the partners at THAT Creative.
“We are designers and we know that area quite well, but we didn’t know that much about business!”
The partners, who graduated in design courses at the university through both BA and BSc pathways, bring a wide range of individual skills to the business and as a team they aim to fulfil any design need.
Their talents encompass mechanical design engineering, technical detailing, advanced CAD (computer-aided design), photography, high-quality product and technical drawings.
James Whitfield studied product design – he graduated in 2011 – and his skill set includes packaging, project management and devising concepts. One of his most interesting recent projects was to design a home gym on behalf of an American company.
The team is now working with several clients – including one in Turkey – and has designed items as diverse as kitchen chopping boards, plant pots and babies’ dummies to devices for decorating drinks cans and cleaning out microwave ovens. THAT Creative, which was formed last October, is running as a “virtual business” at present, but is set to take space at the university’s Business Mine until it can find permanent premises.
Explaining the decision to set up a business, James Whitfield said: “The idea really came about when we were working on a project as second-year students. We thought ‘wouldn’t it be good to carry on working together’?”
The new business made such an impression that the partners were invited to attend the New Designers 2012 exhibition in London last month. The event is described as the UK’s most important graduate exhibition and the team from THAT Creative showcased in the One Year On category for recent graduates.
James added: “We have got some interesting contracts and we spoke to some big companies while we were in London. Like all start-ups, the business has had its ups and downs, but the future is looking good.”