DREAM PLAN DO. Interview with The Design Trust

Find out how to make your business dreams come true!

Last week I was excited to announce a collaboration between myself & my wonderful friend Patricia from The Design Trust, as we work together, (with a number of other amazingly talented designers) on her brand new DREAM PLAN DO monthly planner project out in early November.

I've always found Patricia & the work that she does fascinating, so I decided to take a peek into her life with a small interview about her work, business & what she thinks the new DREAM PLAN DO planner can do for creative businesses.



When did you start / join your company?

I took over The Design Trust 5 years ago in 2011, in the same week that I turned 40! But in fact I had been working for the late Peta Levi MBE, who set up The Design Trust, but also Design Nation & the graduate exhibition New Designers, at the end of the 1990s. I worked with her for 3 years as a Membership & Marketing Coordinator & had stayed in touch with her & her team when the organisation moved to London Met University.

They approached me to see if I was interested in taking it over after they had to make some major strategic changes & I knew it was the right step for me.

Although it’s now very much my organisation, I still feel a big legacy from Peta & what she did for designer makers in the UK over the decades & many of the older generation of makers have stayed in touch with me.


What is your favourite part of running / working in your company?

I love it when creative people get inspired by me to work on their business. Very few creatives have learnt basic business skills & they feel often daunted by it. It’s fabulous to give them not just the knowledge & skills, but especially the confidence to have a go & create a unique business that they can be proud of. This what I hope to do with the DREAM PLAN DO planner.

That gives me huge job satisfaction - the twinkle in their eyes; that excited voice that make them want to move mountains (& they often do!)

Describe your company in 5 words.

Creative, social, enterprise. Strategic. Practical. Thought-provoking. Speaking my mind. Independent.

OK that’s more than 5 words! But for me the tripod is around being creative with everything we do, and being social & caring about people & the planet, but we do also need to be enterprising, & pro-active to earn our money, as we do not get any government funding or grants.


What does your workday look like?

Not one day is the same! It really isn’t. I do run a lot of online training programmes from home, but I also often teach workshops in London or at universities or art/business development agencies around the UK, so I travel quiet a bit too.

I have got two young girls so my working day starts after 9.15am when I have done the school run with a quick cup of tea & a look on Twitter. It really depends what I am working on that week - if I am writing & delivering online training, reaching out to clients or doing some online coaching, or indeed running live workshops or training. I try to pick up my girls again at 3.15pm, & then often start work again after 8pm when I often run webinars in the evening or finish some emails (or articles like this!). Very often I work a couple of hours on the weekend, although I try to avoid that because my family time is important.

What do you like about working with designers?

I trained as a Graphic Designer myself in the mid 1980’s & my last year tutor really spotted that I had a talent of working with creative people. Indeed, I never worked as a graphic designer myself (I did end up marrying one though!) but I use the creative & design thinking skills every day in my work as a creative business adviser, coach & trainer.

I especially love it because design (good & bad!) is all around us & therefore I really like it. I work a lot with designer makers & creating beautiful products for a domestic environment by hand is so precious. These objects tell us so much about who we are as people, our history & culture.

I love working with people who have a solution or who see the world differently. I do like the challenge of working with ‘difficult creatives’ who ask a lot of questions & might not conform to the norm. I think that’s a good thing & we all need to ask questions more & stay curious. It makes me feel alive!


What do you think makes a good designer?

Oh this is such a hard question! For me good design is about a good solution for the client’s problems or issues - both a functional & a beautiful solution.

But of course when it comes down to it, it’s about that unique combination of creativity, drive & seeing things differently, but also having the people & negotiation skills to get a design into the market place. Having worked as a Design Studio Manager at Studio Levien in London I know how hard that can be & how much goes on behind the scenes that consumers are not aware of.

Do you have any personal favourite designers? Why do you admire their work?

As I was born & raised in The Netherlands my style is on the minimal side. I still love a lot of the 1980s Dutch graphic designers. The Dutch book designer Irma Boom has made fabulous work & I love the late Dutch paper jewellery designer Nel Linssen. I also still very much love the early work of Jasper Morrison, especially some of his chairs that inspired me when I was a student.

Tell us more about the DREAM PLAN DO monthly planner. How will it help creative businesses?

Well I have been teaching & coaching creative people to help develop their business skills for over 15 years, so I really do know how to make a business successful. All of my experience has all gone into the planner including proven techniques & exercises that I have successfully used in my coaching.

Inside the DREAM PLAN DO planner you’ll find a different topic for each month, helping you tackle areas of your business in a logical& timely way, without feeling overwhelmed. So you’ll know you are doing the right thing at the right time, making full use of the quieter months to get ready for the busy run up to Christmas. Imagine: you’ll never feel ‘behind’ again!

It’s written specifically for people who are running creative businesses & to help them build their dream business in 2017, step by step.



If you'd like to find out more, Patricia's book is now on sale on Kickstarter: http://ozqJWAyE.kckb.st

FYI: As an affiliate & one of the designers involved in this inspiring project I do get paid a small commission for recommending this project to you. However, I am very proud to be involved & that I have the opportunity to share such a valuable resource with you. I will personally find the planner helpful to my own business & I'm thrilled to be taking part in something that will help many other businesses go on to great success.


So why not grab a planner now & start thinking about how amazing 2017 will be?

Rachael xo

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