People of the North: Sarah Senior, Director of White Rabbit Creative

People of the North: Sarah Senior, Director of White Rabbit Creative

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Sarah Senior, Director of White Rabbit Creative

Launched in 2016 by husband and wife team Sarah and Michael Senior, White Rabbit Creative has carved a reputation for delivering truly intelligent branding and design. With nearly 30 years’ FMCG experience between them, working for global agencies both at home and in the US, the Seniors decided to set up on their own, bringing their unique skills and service to the UK market. White Rabbit Creative is celebrating its second anniversary with a clutch of eight new clients, an exciting rebrand and web launch, and growth that sees the agency surpass its five-year business plan three years early.

This rapid growth has resulted in the creation of three new jobs for the agency and plans to grow by a further two members of staff at its Manchester HQ later in 2018.

Sarah’s career began in London, working as a designer in a PR firm on accounts such as Ben and Jerry’s, Red Stripe and McCoy’s Crisps. Just a year or two down the line, Sarah realised that she definitely preferred giving direction rather than being a designer so she moved to the other side of the fence and worked in various Marketing roles, picking up skills in Brand Management, Product Management, Retail and Manufacturing along the way. In 2008 Sarah found herself back on agency side as an Account Director which she loved as she was able to pool her skills together and add real value to her clients. Following a stint working in the USA alongside her husband (Creative Director and Partner) Michael, the Seniors decided that they wanted to go it alone and they haven’t looked back since.

We’d always aspired to have our own agency – having worked in both small and large businesses we had a lot of experiences that shaped our vision for what we felt an agency should be like.  When the opportunity arose, we grabbed it and worked solidly to turn our ideas into reality. I would say that the inspiration was really just to be in control of our own destiny and also to prove to ourselves that we could do it.

What is the one bit of advice you wish you’d been given before you started your business?

I wish someone had told us to take it easy on ourselves sometimes.  We’re our own worst critics and our expectations of ourselves are huge.  Sometimes you just need to step back, look at what you’ve achieved and celebrate the small successes along the way.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned during the experience of running your own business?

Nothing can replace resilience and hard work.  I’m so proud of the growth we’ve achieved with White Rabbit over such a short space of time: we literally started from scratch, without a single client and through sheer hard work and determination have managed to build a credible design business with a seriously talented team and client partners that we love working with.

What do you see as your future business challenges?

I think the key challenges are really centred around managing our growth without compromising quality. We made a point of recruiting an experienced team so Michael and I could be a little less hands-on, enabling us to focus on the bigger picture.

We are constantly looking at ways to add greater value to our clients through future-proofing our offer.  We see partnering with experts in different areas as a way of keeping up with the latest technologies and seeing how we can integrate those into our thinking without pretending to be something we’re not.

What would you like to leave as your business legacy?

The UK packaging design market had a gaping hole; no one was offering a considered approach that put customer experience front and centre – so as far as our business legacy is concerned we’d like to think that White Rabbit could plug that gap and make this sector our own.

I’d like to look back and know that we’ve helped exciting established and emerging brands to fulfil their true potential.

What would you say is your biggest business achievement/success so far?

Although we’ve only been in business ourselves for two years, my greatest achievement has got to be the growth we’ve achieved with White Rabbit over such a short space of time and I know there is so much more to come. Exceeding our year 5 targets by the end of year 2 –three years ahead of schedule–and moving into a buzzy building in Manchester’s vibrant Ancoats area have been the high points so far!

I’m also thrilled that we’ve attracted such high calibre talent and won their confidence as they’ve left bigger, long- established companies to share in our vision for White Rabbit.

When you are not running your business, what do you do to relax?

It’s not by chance that we work with a lot of food and drink brands – it’s our passion.  We’re both dedicated foodies, counteracted by a healthy dose of yoga and gym sessions – though I suspect this is all due to change very soon as we have our first child well on its way!

Your biggest achievement outside of business?

When I was younger I used to be a keen athlete, competing for Chelmsford AC and my county. I once held a club record for 3000m which stood for nearly 20 years which I was particularly proud of, especially as it took a world-class athlete – Jessica Judd – to finally beat it

What would you be doing if you weren’t running your business?

When I was little I wanted to be either an artist or working with wild animals when I grew up.  I still have aspirations of the latter one day!

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