Crème Creative is a Manchester based creative content and branding agency, specialising in fashion and footwear, founded in January 2016 by Emma and Katie Nattrass-Daniels. It has 10 employees who service national and international clients such as New Balance, Foot Asylum, Lacoste, Mallet Footwear, isawitfirst.com and Koi Footwear.
The business recently received a 6 figure investment from former Boohoo founder Jamal Kamani and will use it to fund its ambitious plans to quadruple in size over the next five years.
Co-Founder & Creative Director, Emma, studied for an International Fashion Marketing honours degree at Manchester Metropolitan University before getting her first job in content creation at JD Williams where she worked freelance for six months. She then went on to edit Boohoo’s magazine, Stylefix, for three years before leaving to go freelance again and then a little later, launched Crème Creative with her wife Katie.
How long have you been running Crème Creative business and what does Crème Creative do?
My wife Katie and I have been running Crème Creative, a creative content and branding agency, for a year and a half now.
We started it at the dining room table in January 2016 and now have 10 members of staff including ourselves.
We both manage the business and our roles are very fluid. As creative director, I keep the work flowing when it comes into Crème Creative and am at every touch point, from beginning to end, to ensure our high standards are met to the deadlines our clients set.
While Katie is fantastic at overview and strategy, my strength lies in the day-to-day detail and that includes understanding the client, the brand and its needs to ensure we deliver great content.
What or who was the inspiration for the business current path you are on?
There was no particular inspiration, but we were influenced by a few things. First of all, we saw a gap in the industry, especially in Manchester, for a creative content agency that specialised in fashion and footwear.
At the same time, Katie and I were craving some autonomy and wanted to find out how that could help us develop creatively. We always felt we could do a lot more and then one day we just decided to make it happen. It’s been fantastic, as we feel there are too few women running agencies – we’re delighted to be bucking the trend.
What is the one bit of advice you wish you’d been given before you set up Crème Creative?
I wish somebody had told us to enjoy ourselves more. The experience of going it alone, winning work with brands like New Balance – which was always an ambition – getting together a team of talented creatives and seeing the business flourish, has been amazing and we wish we had taken a step back to enjoy it more.
Don’t get me wrong, we did get a high from all of this, but quite often we just kept our heads down and moved on to the next goal or project. I think we look up a lot more often nowand take time to appreciate the brilliant things that are happening.
The one most important thing you’ve learned during the experience of running Crème Creative?
It’s really important to take some time out, especially if you work in the creative industry where you constantly need to be inspired and have fresh ideas.
When you first start out, it’s quite easy to get consumed by your business, especially when you take on employees for the first time and they need to be paid monthly.
It’s probably easier said than done when you’re starting a new business, but balance is important. We take regular holidays and have time for the two of us, even if that means leaving a day early when we’re working abroad so we can spend some time together chilling or exploring.
What do you see as your future business challenges?
After launching and growing quickly, our biggest challenges are to keep the momentum going and ensure the quality of work gets better and better.
We have lots of ambition and, in five years or so, we hope to grow Crème Creative to around four times the size we are now and be the agency brands come to for their campaigns. In addition, we aspire to work for big high street brands like Top Shop, ASOS, Adidas and Nike and are putting the wheels into motion for all of this to happen.
Another challenge will be to find the right talent to help us do this. We currently employ creatives with the skills and expertise gained from working inhouse at major footwear and fashion brands and are training them in all areas of the business,so they too can work fluidly and meet our needs and expectations.
Finally, one of our long-term goals is to bring more creative work into Manchester and one of the biggest challenges will be to encourage big names to look outside of London for their campaigns. It’s something we feel extremely passionate about as we know we can offer the same talent and expertise, but at a fraction of the cost.
What would you like to leave as your business legacy?
It would be fantastic if our name could by synonymous with some of the best and most creative campaigns out there!
We want our clients to say that our work has been effective in terms of making the right impact and sending the right messages, but also that we always understood the brief and created the perfect campaign for the brand.
What is your biggest business achievement success so far?
Without a doubt it would be building a fantastic team in such a short amount of time – and by that I mean a team of talented people who are creative, hard-working, fun and who share our values.
Winning work such as Foot Asylum, New Balance and Lacoste has been fantastic and even better is that, in some cases, clients have approached us because of our reputation,rather than the other way around. Having big brands like this in our portfolio has then helped attract investment, which will help us grow further and fulfil our ambitions.
When you are not running Crème Creative, what do you do to relax?
We love travelling and while Katie has a tendency to work, work, work, I balance that out by pushing for more down time.
We’ve been lucky enough to visit some amazing places of late such as Bali, Tulum, Palm Springs, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Toronto, which is where my in-laws live. We’ve set our sights on a second visit to Tokyo this year and in October we’re going back to LA (our future home) to see Ozzy Osbourne in concert and NOT do any shoots!
Aside from this, we also love to go to the gym, cinema (we do a yearly ‘movie club’ around Oscar season!) and concerts.
What is your biggest achievement outside of business?
It would be my marriage to my wife Katie. We met four years ago when we both worked at Boohoo and have been married for three. A lot of people ask how we work together and live together, but we’re really good at it, as our personalities are complementary, and we balance each other out. If things go wrong at work or get heated – as they can do because we are both very passionate people – then we are good at apologising straight away and leaving it at work where it belongs.
We make time for ourselves and when Friday comes we switch off for the weekend and make it ours – work won’t be mentioned, or very little anyway. I make sure that laptops are left shut and we get some quality time together.
What would you be doing if you weren’t running your business?
I think I’d be writing in some capacity. Before I started Crème Creative I was a journalist and a copywriter so I’d go back to that. My perfect job would combine my two passions, so I’d be a travel writer.