Tell us about your business
Natalka Design is there to ‘redraw’ ones business. What I mean by that is we help people to communicate easily by the use of visually stimulating tools such as mind maps, vision boards and cartoons that tell a story and take the audience on a journey. ND also illustrates for magazines, books, entrepreneurs, SMEs and more. What is unique about my business is that I basically help people to communicate better and make their lives easier through the use of pictures. Complicated ideas are being turned into easy to remember visuals. I have been in the business for over 10 years now, but to truly start the business I needed that extra ‘kick’ of confidence. A lot of credit goes to Darren Robson, leader in coaching and businessman I collaborate with on creative projects such as children book for Ministry of Entrepreneurship Foundation.
What are the main challenges maintaining your business and how are you overcoming them?
I guess the main challenge is ‘getting yourself out there’ and making sure you stand out as the market is very competitive. There are many amazing talents in design so making sure you have enough people interested in working with you is the first step. However, if you’ve got something different to offer there’s enough space and work for everyone. It’s up to you how much you want this and how proactive you become. There’s loads of different ways to help your business grow: social media, meetings, networking, advertising. I’d say, see what works for you best and focus on that.
What would you say has been your most memorable experience while developing your business?
There have been many memorable experiences as this work is always different and you never know what will be the next project or the next person you’ll meet. Working with companies like Network Rail, Rio Tinto or TalkTalk is definitely a success, however the most memorable project so far would be illustrating parts of book Ackroyd’s Ark – Two by Two for charity Tusk Trust under HRH Prince William of Wales Patronage. It was published for a great cause – saving lives of animals in Africa, therefore it was an honour to be a part of something that special and unique.
What were the funniest moments that happened while setting up/running your business?
Setting up the business has had definitely a lot of funny moments that at that time I’d call ‘dramatic’, ‘what to do now?’ kind of moments. Doing everything for the first time meant making mistakes. My advice: don’t try to do everything on your own! It’s ok to ask for help.
Tell us about DO’s and DON’Ts when running the company?
DO’s: make sure you plan ahead, follow up when you’re supposed to, stay focused, think positive – it does help.
DON’T’s: don’t get discouraged just because the business is not doing well now, don’t force anything – pull don’t push, don’t forget about the people that have helped you along the way to be where you are now.
Why do you choose Shoreditch to run your business?
Shoreditch is the hub for creativity and diversity when it comes to running a business. Being a part of lively and always busy ‘Silicon Roundabout’ gives you a great opportunity to meet new people, start interesting collaborations and ‘be in the know’.
What/who should help for the development of Shoreditch entrepreneurial community?
I think the city should invest in educational programs for young entrepreneurs who have brilliant ideas but need help to understand how to set up a business and run it. The need is there but as long as nothing happens many smart young people won’t get the opportunity to be heard.
This issue is very important to me, therefore ND is involved in working with e.g. Enfuse Youth or MOE Foundation. ND will also be introducing workshops where businesses and individuals will be able to learn how to use visuals to their advantage and communicate better their message. Moreover me and my business partner will be launching Open Portfolio, a new simple way for creatives to showcase their best work and for recruiters to hire them. This way we want to help the creative industry to be able to present their best work, send recruiters straight to their websites and skip the time-consuming world of recruitment pages.
Who/what are your favorite CEOs/Businesses in Shoreditch?
I’m a big fan of all that’s creative in Shoreditch maybe because of the place where my business came from. I’m a big tech and innovation enthusiast so Mind Candy and Tech City are people who I think are an interesting part of the Shoreditch business scene.
What are your favorite places in Shoreditch?
There’s too many! You’ll probably find me in places like Hoxton Square, Strongroom or Book Club. Rough Trade East is an amazing place to listen to good music and switch off for a moment (wish my office was just next to that store!) Breakfast Club is always a good idea for a great meal and atmosphere. When it comes to perfect coffee break, Shoreditch Grind is the place to be.
What does the future has in store for Shoreditch?
More innovative and quality businesses as long as the creatives are still there. Looking at what’s been happening in the past few years the future should be pretty interesting.
Natalia Talkowska www.natalkadesign.com
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