A dozen Eggs
Jo, Fran & Chris
Branding and advertising design partnership a dozen eggs was co-founded by Graphic Communication graduates Jo Lloyd and Fran Collins.
If you’re serious about starting a business the Studio is a great incubator. We’ve always had each other to bounce ideas off, but working alongside other startups really helps.
When they graduated in 2010, Jo and Fran decided that they wanted to provide design solutions to other graduate start-ups while helping existing companies refresh their branding and take on a new lease of life.
During their two-year tenancy they have successfully grown their business. Among their clients are several Loughborough student and graduate companies – Asap, Amy Allwright Homeware, Emma Britton, Greenheart Wash, and The Student Wordsmith – as well as local and national organisations including The Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Shoe Zone, Stead and Simpson and the University.
To support their business growth and expansion into web development, they were joined in October 2013 by web developer Chris Pymm who brought skills in user experience, web design and back-end programming to the mix.
As well as delivering branding, graphic design and web solutions the team also have a thriving online outlet – We Tie the Knot – which provides attractive pre-designed and bespoke wedding stationery.
With their tenancy at the Studio drawing to an end, the trio recently moved to new premises on Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Parks.
Why did you originally apply to join The Studio?
We had collaborated very successfully during our degree and graduated knowing that the idea of working together – and setting up our own design agency – really appealed.
We developed our business plan and entered Think BIG! – the University's business plan competition – to test it. We were delighted to win enough seed funding to get started.
Taking part in Think BIG! also introduced us to Megan, the Studio’s manager. She told us about the opportunities on offer to tenants. It sounded too good to refuse – and the perfect next step to turning our plan into reality.
How has being a tenant helped you to progress your business?
Right from the start having a professional, creative workspace gave us a huge boost. It helped us focus in on the job; feel confident in what we were doing; put us well ahead of the bedroom workers; and meant we had a wonderfully impressive environment to bring clients.
The facilities simply enhanced all this – access to high-quality printers; storage space for all our business clobber; separate meeting rooms; conference call telephones – the list goes on…
Within this wonderful workspace, and amongst the superb facilities, was Megan – Studio manager and fount of all knowledge – helping and mentoring us every step of the way.
Two years on, where is your business now?
It's very exciting times for a dozen eggs. Our biggest change is that we are now a team of three – web developer Chris joined us last autumn. This means that we secure far more web projects than we did when we started out and can now offer a full package of design, brand and website design.
We moved into our own office in January. Having spent two enjoyable years with the Studio, we felt ready to move into our own space – with a bit more room to expand when we need to.
2014 will also see a dozen eggs moving from a partnership to a VAT registered company – with all there is to learn along with it!
What are your planned next steps?
We always try and make time for planning and forecasting our next steps. As a team it's always valuable to check in and make sure we have the same vision for the future. In the short term, we have a brand new website just around the corner and some targeted marketing to go with it. We also have several plans to develop our web service and SEO potential.
Our side project – We Tie the Knot – currently a wedding stationery service is soon going to provide brides-to-be with an online portal to share all their wedding details with guests.
What advice would you give to anyone considering a Studio residency?
If you are serious about starting your own business then the Studio really is a great incubator. As a partnership we have always had each other to bounce ideas off, but to have a group of people – both mentors and peers – really helps, particularly for those starting out as sole-traders. Setting up on your own is not for the faint hearted – you need a robust plan and a strong drive. But if you do – the Studio is the perfect spring board.