Alex: Hi Eleanor, can you tell me a bit about your business?
Eleanor: About QUAY Media?
Alex: Yeah, go for it.
Eleanor: Well I’m a graphic designer by trade, I’ve been doing it for the last twenty-odd years; after three redundancies I decided to go self-employed.
Alex: What year was that, do you think?
Eleanor: About 8 years ago, so in 2012.
I started up a small studio in Torre in Torquay, where a colleague of mine, Maggie, who was also a graphic designer with her own business, joined me, and we ran our businesses side by side, helping small businesses with their promotional material – so doing anything from branding, right down to leaflets, posters, pop-ups, and websites.
Alex: What kind of support did you have in the early days to help you get set up?
Eleanor: The biggest support I had at the time was from an organisation called Outset. Outset were around to help you start up as a self-employed business, and they were great. They had loads of resources and courses, and I know Maggie was also on that course, as well as Will Reddaway, who I work with now as well, so yeah, I met a lot of really great people back then.
Alex: Some of them, obviously, who you still work with and still know!
Eleanor: Yes. Kim Thornton too, she still works for Torbay Development Agency, and she played a big part in helping me succeed in my business. She’s a great resource to go to for support, and for any questions that I’ve got about pushing my business further.
Alex: Awesome. So how did you go from QUAY Media to QUAY Magazine?
Eleanor: So, I actually started out as Designed by Eleanor (DBE design) and then two years ago, I decided I wanted to rebrand my business, and I set up QUAY Media as a limited company.
I just felt that Designed by Eleanor was no longer the market that I wanted to be approaching – it was fine for business start-ups, but I wanted to be approaching the bigger businesses, and get bigger clients.
Then, after rebranding as QUAY Media, I came up with the idea of publishing my own magazine.
I’ve designed magazines for other businesses over the years; I have a background in publishing as well, designing books.
Now that I’ve got such a great network of people around me, especially through Your Partnerships and BBX, I felt the time was right to make my own magazine.
I wanted to do a business magazine, to publicise positive business and to help others that were in the same position as me in the early days of starting a business, with not knowing where to go or what to do. And the same with businesses that are already operating – they might want to expand, but again, they don’t know what to do or how to do it.
Alex: That does seem to be a theme actually; the sense of giving people a platform where they can learn where to go next, and how to get there. Do you think that’s another principle behind the magazine?
Eleanor: Yeah, absolutely. All the information that we include in the magazine can be found anywhere on the internet, but what we can guarantee is really good quality content, all in one place. So rather than people having to search the internet to find that quality, it’s all here in one place for them.
Alex: People have lots of different questions when they start up, or try to grow. It can be the technical things, or the marketing side of things, and we hear from a range of experts in all these different sectors, so I think the value is also in having this big selection of useful information easily available.
Eleanor: Yeah, definitely. So that’s where the ‘Promoting Business’ positivity comes in, and working together as well, which is key in business – the more you work with people and collaborate, the stronger you can become. And then you can grow together, which is what I’ve done with my business.
Alex: That’s another theme, actually, the idea of ‘growing together’ collaboratively.
Eleanor: Yes, definitely. So collaboration is huge.
Alex: Cool. I know that you’ve done a lot of networking – and still do a lot of networking – so how do you feel that has helped you?
Eleanor: With networking, it’s about meeting people. Quite often you’ll go networking, but it’s not about gaining business on the day, it’s about talking to people, and getting ideas from them. You might go along to a meeting and somebody might say something brilliant for your business that you’ve never thought of before.
I also find networking very inspirational, hearing other people’s stories about why they’ve started a business, and how they’ve overcome certain obstacles, and with networking it’s the perfect source for getting those stories into a magazine.
Alex: And do you think networking’s helped you put a team together as well?
Eleanor: Definitely, I’ve met nearly the whole of my team that work with me now in QUAY Media and QUAY Magazine through networking. I couldn’t have put that team together without networking. So yeah, I can’t rate networking highly enough.
Alex: We have a bit of time left, is there anything else you would like to say?
Eleanor: Just remain positive in business, I think positivity helps growth. If you can remain positive and have a positive outlook and surround yourself with the right people, who are also positive and want to see you succeed, then you will succeed.