Business in Shoreditch: Interview with Bettina Szabo-Shaw from Trésor

G: Tell us about your business(-es): What do you do? Why do you do it/ what did inspire you to start? Why is your business unique?

Trésor is a graphic- and digital design agency. We started the studio in 2008 and our main aim was to do creative work for clients that will help their businesses grow. The field of Graphic Design is changing rapidly, people are able to create professional looking work without the use of designers and I feel that it is vital for us to also be business experts. Our new role is not just to put a ‘beautiful wrapper’ around an already developed idea or format, but rather to get involved with creating content and strategies that use the principles of design to innovate and build value. We make clients aware of emerging
opportunities and how they can communicate to their consumers in more exciting and interesting ways. We try to advise them responsibly on how best to spend their money to achieve the highest possible return on their investment and therefore create added value. This is why I do it – because I believe that good design has a lot to offer, not just in
transforming businesses, but as part of our wider culture.

G: What are the main challenges maintaining your business and how are you overcoming them?

Most projects are multi-faceted and require many different professionals from varying
fields. So rather than having full time staff, we find that a modular studio structure is more
appropriate for us, as well as for our clients. We are able to put a powerful team together
tailored exactly to the brief by drawing from our established network of contacts from the
relevant disciplines. This collaborative way of working also allows us to create solutions
that go beyond and dramatically improve on existing alternatives.

G: What would you say has been your most memorable experience while developing your

I enjoy every aspect of what I do, but some of the most memorable experiences were some of the business training sessions and tips that I actively sought out when I started Trésor. I worked in the field architecture previously, which was a highly demanding and deadline driven environment, then worked for several advertising and creative agencies, but you can only truly identify with the clients you work for when you’re running your own business. It is essential for designers to imagine the world from multiple perspectives – those of colleagues, clients, end users and customers (current and prospective).

G: Tell us about DO’s and DON’Ts when running the company?

I have had to learn to love the unknown: once you learn to embrace uncertainty in life
countless options open up to you. I’d also say that you can never invest too much time in
Research and Development, this may sometimes seem as not an efficient way to spend your
time, but it will always pay off in the long run by informing better and more innovative
solutions. As for what not to do I would say don’t just sit at your desk trying to get inspiration,
because then you will only see what everyone else sees. Get off your chair and get inspiration
from the real world to get new perspectives. And in business – don’t get comfortable by
relying on any one client too much.

G: Why do you choose Shoreditch to run your business?
Because it’s the coolest place in the coolest city in Europe.

G: What/who should help for the development of Shoreditch entrepreneurial community? What this community is still missing?

I believe that we live in a world where a new attitude towards work is emerging. People are raised on the idea that if they pay their taxes and do what they are told, there’s some kind of safety net, or pension plan that’s waiting for them. This is the era when people are realising that they have to take their career into their own hands and pursue their own interests. Entrepreneurs embody this notion, because they are by nature ambitious – banks and the government need to advance this new spirit with lending, investment and opportunities for small business and start-ups. But businesses in return need to investigate exactly what resources are available to them.

G: Who/what are your favorite CEOs/Businesses in Shoreditch?

I’m a fan of ‘Present’ – a shop on Shoreditch High Street, I got chatting to the owner
recently, he is very enthusiastic and seems to really believe in what he does.

G: What are your favorite places in Shoreditch? (Where do you hang-out/ dining/ going out?)

I have to say my favourite place is The Book Club, as our studio is just above it, so we are
regulars there. I also drop in to the Hoxton Art Gallery on Charlotte Road frequently to
check out the latest talented artists that they are exhibiting.

G: What does the future has in store for Shoreditch?

2012 is a culturally exciting year for London and no doubt that Shoreditch will continue to
lead the way in London’s creative evolution beyond 2012.