In june 2010, deciding that I needed some experience in a real business environment I went along to my first job interview since graduating almost a year before. I didn’t know much about the company I had applied to, other that the fact that they made eco friendly clothing and were offering a six month online marketing placement under the now sadly defunct Future Jobs Fund. Shortly before the interview I realised that my interviewers were to appear on an episode of The Naked Office later that same evening. Let’s be honest, I was scared.
It turned out that, behind all that environmentally friendly attire and nude frolicking, were two brothers who had built the business up from scratch and were expanding to make jobs for unemployed young people on the Isle of Wight. To cut a long story short; I moved from Online Marketing to Operations Management after a few months, stayed on for a little while beyond my initial contract and probably learned more that year than I did during three years at university – without racking up an enormous student debt!
I say this not to devalue my degree, but to emphasize the value of working at the core of a real-life, rapidly-growing business with supportive and knowledgeable mentors at the helm. I didn’t realise how little I knew until I joined Rapanui, and I will always be thankful for the experience and the knowledge I took away from it.
Aware of my interest in design, Rapanui’s creative director gave me the opportunity to collaborate on a number of creative projects alongside my marketing and operations work. I had a great time working with him on all sorts of things from packaging and product design to animation, including the examples below.
I’m happy to report that Rapanui are bigger, better and more sustainable than ever, and will be opening their first high street retail store in Sandown this year so if you’re interested in fashion or passionate about the environment I recommend paying them a visit. If you’re more of a virtual shopper, check out their website instead and stay up to date with all the latest news on Facebook or Twitter.
I didn’t have a lot of time to work on freelance projects that year, but I did help a friend with some branding for his new business, Overhaul Security. Plus, I couldn’t turn down an invite to take part in Illustration Rally’s European countries themed rally, in which the participants were randomly allocated a country and asked to create an illustration based on it. I got France, which is a galling prospect for any Englishman, but I did my best and came up with an illustration inspired by the French flag. I also wrote a short artist feature for the Rally, which can be found here if you need to read a bit more twaddle.
And with that, we arrive in early summer 2011, a freelancer again with a website to redesign. More about that in part three, thanks for reading!