Sometimes people have an enthusiasm so infectious that you can’t help but ask…”what’s your secret?!” Ruby Lee is that person, and her success with her business Studio 77 is turning heads even in its early days. We were lucky enough to catch up with Ruby to find out more about Studio 77, how she manages her time and what she has in store for the future. Here’s her Startup Story…
Hi Ruby! What’s your business all about?
Studio 77 specialises in helping start-ups and feel-good brands build and develop their brand identity through branding workshops, as well as creating bespoke digital assets and easy-to-manage Squarespace websites for them.
Tell us about your background before you began the business. What motivated you to change direction?
I started my design company, Studio 77, back in May 2017 sat on the floor, eating pizza with two of my close pals (now business partners) after feeling, well, quite frankly fed-up. I knew that design was what I wanted to do, but the projects I was working on weren’t feeding my creative soul. So what did I do? I QUIT. Quitting my comfortable full-time job to delve into the unknown and previously unexplored world of freelance was the most terrifying and exhilarating thing I’d ever done.
When I handed my notice in, I had no work lined up. All I had was a portfolio, a positive mental attitude and a weird (good weird) feeling that everything was going to be A-OK. And it was. Over the last 18 months, I have had the pleasure of working with over 50 different clients. I’ve designed websites, dashboards, emails, developed brands, created identities, and pretty much everything else in between. It’s been a truly amazing experience. But it’s time to step up.
You know how earlier I said that “quitting my full-time job to delve into the unknown world of freelance was the most terrifying and exhilarating thing I’d done.” I should have added “so far” onto the end of that sentence. When we created Studio 77 back in May 2017, we had a vision – we wanted to create an agency, not just freelance for others. We wanted to run an agency that had a purpose, an agency that was a bit different from others, an agency that gave back to the world, all whilst creating the slickest, unique designs. So after 18 lovely months of freelancing, the time has come to TRULY do the “most terrifying and exhilarating thing” of my life, and re-focus all of my time and energy into Studio 77. Which brings me here! I’m looking to get involved with a community full of like-minded designers, creatives and businesses!
Amazing! What has been your proudest moment in business so far?
Probably when I landed my first client! It’s encouraging to know that people see your designs and think ‘I like your work, I’d like to pay you to do something like that for me.’
And what’s the biggest lesson you have learned since starting Studio 77?
Talk to everyone you know about what you do. Seriously. I’ve been astounded by the amount of work that Studio 77 has secured through blabbering about what we do.
And I don’t just mean networking events, I mean everyone; your hairdresser, your neighbour, your barista at the coffee shop, you’d be surprised what you can create from a simple ‘hello’.
How do you stay organised? Any tips or tools?
My life is organised on Asana. I’m pretty sure without it I would fall apart.
Would you say you have a healthy work life balance? If not, what would you change?
At the moment it’s a solid no, because I’m freelancing for companies AND running my own company, but come January when I focus all my time and energy into Studio 77, I feel like balance will be restored!
What do you have planned for your business and what are the next steps toward your goal?
We’re moving into a lovely office space in East London at the beginning of 2019, so that’s a really exciting and significant business achievement for us! The next step is filling up our studio calendar with some lovely new clients.
Our ‘niche’ is start-ups and “feel good” brands – think social enterprises, community-based, eco-conscious companies, you know, the kind that cares about the world.
How are we going to get these clients? By spreading the Studio 77 word through networking, investing some time (and money) in social media campaigns, the law of attraction (Oprah Winfrey anyone?), and most importantly, our creative charm!