Cheddar Creative celebrates its second birthday in November, which has given directors Cassie Bendall, Yasmin Willis and Richard Wood a chance to reflect on what it takes to run a successful full-service agency, and more importantly, how they’ve punched above their weight to survive the all-important first two years.
The directors, who worked together previously before making the decision to “set up their own shop and do things differently”, were recently invited to join the creative hub at Unicorn Studios on Orwell Place in Ipswich. While remote working has suited the team well for the past two years, the time was right to take advantage of the co-working opportunity Unicorn Studios presents.
“Having seen other small businesses over-extend too soon, we were keen to scale our team gradually and in the most efficient way possible,” said founder and campaign director Cassie Bendall. “East Anglia is home to some brilliant companies doing really interesting, innovative things in the tech and creative sectors, so we’ve built an amazing network of trusted partners. Having a permanent place in Unicorn Studios means we’ve been able to add further depth to our talent pool. Depending on the project, we can work individually or bolster our team with a wide range of skill sets as necessary – like creative Power Rangers!”
Cheddar prides itself on offering creative design and marketing solutions, which centre around big ideas loaded with impact. As the website says, the team “hate templates and paint-by-numbers” and instead use the principles of ‘design thinking’ to craft original, people-focused campaigns that excite and inspire rather than trying to make a hard-sell.
“People tune that kind of message out these days,” said creative director Yasmin Willis. “There’s just too much competing for their attention, so if your brand doesn’t grab and engage people by offering some kind of value or enrichment to their lives, you simply won’t get noticed. Our mantra is ‘good design is good business’ and the results we’re seeing back that up.”
Brand strategist Richard Wood added: “We like to think of ourselves as creative problem-solvers, so our brand-building expertise often merges with business consultancy. Our number one goal is to keep our clients focused on the bigger picture – where they want to go as a business and what’s going to help them get there – making sure they have fun along the way.”
Cheddar received a business boost from retail entrepreneur Theo Paphitis by winning ‘Small Business Sunday’ earlier in the year. Theo tweeted about Cheddar to his 500,000 Twitter followers and has invited Cassie, Yasmin and Rich to an exclusive SBS winners’ event taking place in London early next year.
The former Dragon’s Den star and Ryman Stationery, Robert Dyas and Boux Avenue Chairman said: “We are thrilled to welcome new #SBS winners Cheddar Creative and offer our support to them and other small businesses here in the UK. I admire people who have this kind of passion and energy, and wish the team every success.”
Cassie said: “Although we’ve worked in the agency space for some time, we’re all first-time business owners so it’s been a steep learning curve. Winning some big pitches against more established agencies, receiving many word-of-mouth referrals, being invited into Unicorn Studios’ collaborative eco-system and having our hard work recognised by small business champion Theo Paphitis hopefully demonstrates that we’re getting it right for the most part. It’s a great feeling to have someone like Theo in our corner, spreading the word about what we do.”
Cheddar Creative is currently offering free 1-hour brand consultancy sessions to local startups and SMEs looking to create or improve their brand strategy and unlock their full potential. Get in touch via www.cheddarcreative.co.uk to find out more.