We featured our very first Business Girl Spotlight of the Month at the October meet up. Sian Martin took to the floor and shared with us a bit more about her very new business printing.com.
Sian is an experienced business owner adding another string to her bow to compliment her established business MDM Creative.
Over to Sian……….
Tell us about your business and when and why you set it up?
MDM Creative was originally setup back in the year 2000. It was late 1999 when some ex-colleagues and I were chatting over some drinks in a Maidenhead pub about our future. We were all working at Electronic Arts, and it was decided that the design team was soon to be outsourced. We had this ‘light-bulb moment’ of setting up our own agency and hopefully scooping up some of the work. Our plan went very well, as that’s exactly what happened. We were still in touch with the EA marketing team, who also helped us contact other marketing professionals in the games industry. So back then, we worked for EA, Fox Interactive and Virgin Media in the main.
Even today, we keep our hand in the video games industry, however, have broadened into other sectors, including a nationwide car hire company, and local SMEs and charities.
Around 2007 we entered the digital market, creating small brochure websites for sole-traders and very small businesses. As our skills broadened, and we brought a programmer on board we had the ability to produce much larger websites with far more functionality.
Only 2 months ago, we have partnered with printing.com and can now offer high quality print at very reasonable prices.
What words of wisdom can you give to another Business Girl that is just starting out?
Don’t be frightened of failure, as often success starts in this way. We at MDM are always looking at new ideas. Fortunately, most have worked, but occasionally we have made mistakes, some big ones too. We use this experience as a learning opportunity to evolve the idea into something that will work. I would also add, don’t be scared to ditch the idea altogether if it’s not working at all.
Importantly, don’t be afraid to charge properly for your time. And be on the ball when it comes to chasing late payments. These two things can cripple a business.
How do you achieve work/life balance?
That one I am still learning! Juggling a family and a business isn’t easy. One thing I found liberating was to remove my work email from my phone, so I am not tempted to answer enquiries at all times, (as I found myself doing). If anything urgent is going on I will inform customers of alternative means of contact. Otherwise, they’re happy to accept responses within normal working hours.
What has been the most memorable moment in your business journey so far?
There have been a few, but one that I am really proud of was getting a poster (that covered an entire building) installed in Times Square, New York for the game ‘Alien’. The US team canned their campaign and used our creative instead. The funny thing, the whole project was all created from a nastily decorated, spare bedroom in a rented house.
On a day-to-day level, getting good feedback from a client always gives me a buzz. It is a good feeling knowing what you are doing is also making a difference to their business.
What are your plans for your business in the future?
I have made quite a few changes this year, so for the time being I shall be concentrating on getting the printing.com side of my business out there. Who knows what’s next? There will be something, as I love challenges, particularly when you just ‘feel’ something is right!
Tell us one fact about you that we might not know about? (could be something silly like your favourite food, a silly thing you like to do!)
I can juggle!
Who inspires you the most?
I don’t have a single individual as an inspiration. As an artist first, my inspiration can come from almost anything/anyone really, and changes frequently, often within hours.
If we were talking about industry individuals who inspire me, I would have to mention Milton Glaser, David Carson, Saul Bass and Neville Brody. A lady who should get a special mention for her Apple Mac Icons, including the smiley face is Susan Kare.
To find out more about Sian’s two businesses check out below: