RS Digital and Creative
31st August 2016
RS Digital and Creative is a digital marketing and creative consultancy that specialises in the fashion, retail and leisure markets. We provide services such as websites and app development, PPC (including Google Shopping and YouTube Advertising) Video Marketing, social media advertising and content strategy, email marketing and SEO strategy. We also provide creative consultancy for brand visuals. I coordinate seasonal ad campaigns on behalf of my clients; this includes managing all areas of production of the ad visuals from creative direction, to sourcing the creative team to retouching image retouching.
Where are you based and why is it a good location for your business?
I am based in my office at home most of the time but I also now operate from a co working space in the centre of Leeds called Duke Studios a few days a week. It is a shared space where other creatives, developers and startup companies work from and grow a complimentary network. It also has meeting rooms and a photographic studio which is perfect for my fashion and retail clients and also for pitching to new potential clients. Working from home and on the go is great because it means that i can pick up any online work immediately and respond quickly which is very important in the digital world.
How did you come up with the idea?
I have been working in digital marketing for almost 8 years now and i have a good understanding of both sides of the coin having worked both client and agency side throughout those years. I know how retail clients think and what they need from their agencies in terms of work, response times and costs. With that in mind i often found that agencies were not flexible, responsive or price realistic enough for retailers. With the nature of retail and marketing today, there needs to be a lot more willingness from digital specialists to work quickly at a more productive cost which i can offer. I also feel very strongly that the best marketing campaigns are born from passion and I know that my passion lies with fashion, retail and leisure and this is where my consultancy shines.
What’s the business model?
I currently work with a number of clients on both a monthly retainer fee basis and also on ad hoc projects which are charged as a one of fee. This provides both consistency and the potential for growth.
Who are your competitors?
Other digital marketing agencies and freelancers across the UK.
What’s unique about your business?
My consultancy offers services that are within a saturated market, however what makes my services unique is that I specialise in a very specific industry and those skills are few and far between outside of London. In fact I am yet to find a specialist fashion and retail digital marketing agency in Leeds other than myself and the advantage of a Northern based specialist is that pricing is much more affordable.
What stage was your business at when you applied for the Start Up Loan?
I hadn’t started my business yet, the idea and intention was there however I was still in full time employment with a Leeds based marketing agency therefore due to conflict of interest and respect for my employer I decided to wait until a later stage to officially begin working with my own clientele.
How have you used it to grow your business?
I purchased some essential equipment such as a macbook air so that I am able to work on the go. I also used it to purchase essential design and web software so that I can undertake certain types of projects for my clients. Lastly I used a chunk of the budget for initial social media advertising.
Who is your mentor and how have they helped you?
Tom Leavsey is my mentor. He has helped me to focus on networking more and to get out and talk to people and potential clients instead of relying on my marketing techniques. Tom has helped me to develop my interpersonal skills and that face to face interaction is much more impactful than an email or phone call.
Who is your regional delivery partner and how did they help you get a Virgin Start Up Loan?
Airedale Enterprise Services provided full support for my loan application process, and my Business Adviser David Gagen guided me through the Business Plan and Financial Forecast development; making sure that they were comprehensive, consistent and compelling. David also worked with me on putting together the pack of vital supporting documents which meant that the loan was swiftly approved.
Biggest achievement so far?
Working with a major well known leisure brand in the UK to develop their first HR orientated social media strategy. I manage their content and advertising strategy on social media enabling them to portray a positive employer perception to a relevant audience and to reduce resourcing time spent at their various UK sites.
What’s next for your business?
I would like to grow the business and gain another high profile client before taking on a small office at Duke Studios where I can hire a student developer/designer to work with me a few days a week. This would be the start of my team growth.
Founder(s) name: Rachel Smith
Loan funds received: £6,000
Based in: Leeds