My New Agency: Natalie Still, The Fabulous Collective

Event grills the managers of 2014's new agencies on the highs and lows through their first year of trading. Our latest instalment features Natalie Still, director of The Fabulous Collective.

Natalie Still, director of The Fabulous Collective
Natalie Still, director of The Fabulous Collective

When did you launch your agency and what were your reasons for going it alone?

I set up The Fabulous Collective in late 2013 and we officially launched in the early part of 2014. Following a successful career in lifestyle events, PR and brand development, I've been incredibly fortunate to work with some great brands, including Firmdale Hotels, Dior, MAC and L'Oréal. 

I wanted to create an event agency that not only blended my knowledge and experience of fashion, beauty and lifestyle events, but also had it's own brand personality. I set about building a team of creative event professionals who had, like me, strong experience in PR and brand development. 

Which campaigns have been your favourites to work on this year and why? 

For me, The Scottish Fashion Awards was one of the greatest highlights of the year. We helped Hartmann Media bring the awards to London for the first time in 2013 and we continue to work with them. 

We have worked with one of our long-standing clients, Bareminerals, on countless PR-led and corporate projects since we launched. Last year we helped them launch their first liquid foundation, Bareskin. It involved the bespoke design and production of a unique launch space in London, teamed with innovative food and cocktail designs by Urban Caprice. 

Other notable highlights included the design of an experiential VIP lounge at BSAVA Congress in Birmingham for Merial. We completely transformed an otherwise drab section of the ICC/NIA into a luxury cinema room and Ibiza-inspired club lounge, which acted as a base for Merial to entertain guests and introduce them to a new range of products. 

We also produced a fairytale princess press launch for Disney on Ice at the Tower of London, a high-profile wedding in the Cotswolds and a series of corporate and private events for a large hedge fund company.  

How successfully did your agency trade in the first year?

It was really important to me that The Fabulous Collective was, and remains, self-funded. I believe "bootstrapping" really helps small businesses keep a strong self-sufficient culture. 

However, it has meant that the first year in business has been one where every penny made goes straight back in the pot. That said, we've had a really positive response from clients in our first year and I'm happy to say we closed with a profit.

What were the biggest challenges of the year?

A great friend of mine once said: "When running your own business, you are essentially doing everything you were before - it's just the furniture isn't around you anymore to act as a safety net." Like any small business, you have up days and down days. You are catapulted into a new way of thinking when the business is your own, which can sometimes feel daunting. 

However, the plus side is that it's an incredibly liberating experience to be the master of a company you've created. Keeping the faith and believing in your service and offering is also hugely important. This can sometimes take a knock in your first year of business, but in my experience you learn to adapt very quickly and power through it. 

What have you got coming up this year?

We had an extremely busy start to 2015, having worked on a series of beauty launches. This included a huge launch for Bareminerals, who introduced their latest offering, Complexion Rescue, to the market. 

I've also hired a small team of creatives who specialise in set-design and creative event management. I also have a number of private consultancy projects coming up that I still do outside the business.

Do you have any long term goals, targets and strategies for your agency?

We are launching a dedicated wedding division in Spring 2015 called 'Wedding Doll', which will also house a bespoke 'swan' party service for the more sophisticated hen. 

Want to be featured in My New Agency? Email reporter Katie Deighton for more details.

Comment below to let us know what you think.

For more in-depth and print-only features, showcases and interviews with world-leading brands, don't miss the next issue of Event magazine by subscribing here.

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