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By JPC |

Back2Business 2016 Graduate Showcase

A behind-the-scenes look at some of Brixton's freshest startup brands and recent graduates of our latest Brand Amplifier Edition: Back2Business 2016

In our latest edition, Lambeth Council supported our mission to help local residents get off benefits and start new businesses with our Back2Business programme, designed and delivered in partnership with Tree Shepherd. Nearly 50 entrepreneurs from 2 distinct groups – Rising50s (45+) and Breadwinners (household sole earners) – were selected from applicants in Brixton and across the borough to receive thousands’ of pounds worth of professional training from industry experts.


With 8 workshops running from January – March 2016, Back2Business delivered high-energy workshops across business, finance, legal, marketing and digital and individual brand clinics to set these new entrepreneurs up for success and to help their start-ups take flight. Now a strong Back2Business collective of Lambeth SMEs, these business owners have grown together in confidence, giving and learning more about how to effectively communicate their offerings and having a fantastic time and meeting amazing people and mentors along the way. We spoke with a few of them based in or around Brixton to see how they have benefitted from the programme.

Case Study 1 

“A finely crafted brand story.” 

After falling in love with a Belgian chocolate during countless business trips to Brussels, Emma Pattenden decided to put her own budding chocolatier skills to the test and launched her own Streatham-based business ‘Chocolates by Eloise’ ( She creates decadent traditional Belgian chocolates and pralines with ‘an English twist’ of unexpected infusions and fillings. Chocolates pair with raspberry and fennel, lemongrass and elderflower, for an authentic Anglo takeover of luxurious Belgian chocolate. She is always inventing new ways to celebrate chocolate, and most recently created a Valentine’s and engagement sensation of sparkling sugar ‘diamonds’ at the centre of chocolates, for an ultimate surprise.

Emma says she loves the creative process of making the chocolate, yet has not felt confident in all the tricky business matters like finance, and has been at a complete loss on how to begin to tell her story to new customers. After a few introductory Back2Business workshops, she has gained and applied business and marketing skills and now can ‘sell’ her brand story. She can now easily explain her brand name (a conflation of her and her sister) and clearly express what makes her product covetable, across marketing channels and in networking opportunities. “I am gaining the confidence and the skills I need to create and run the business I have dreamed of having, but didn’t have the courage to until now. I know what to say, ideas on how to make my brand stand out and an incredible network of peers to sample out new flavours, knowing I’ll get honest and constructive advice from my colleagues. I also have a firm understanding of trademark and profit and loss, an elegant and succinct brand story, an understanding of (and desire to) use Twitter to reach new customers, and the motivation and enthusiasm to remain focused on her goals, without getting sidetracked.”


Case Study 2

“Designing a New Career Journey”

Herne Hill-based web designer Belinda Brissett decided to transform occasional freelance design into a standalone business Trema As many creatives do, she found it daunting to market a creative service offering in a saturated design market, and how to apply her design thinking to her own brand voice. She sees huge opportunity ahead with local businesses who need to modernise their image while retaining and celebrating their authentic Brixton edge through standout brand and web design. Belinda signed up to Back2Business to help increase her visibility and confidence in her own brand, the ultimate billboard to attract new clients. During the course, she has designed a suite of brand communications tools thanks to one-to-one Business Clinics with Brand Amplifier and Tree Shepherd, giving her confidence in getting out there, finding new clients and designing a new career as the owner of a creative agency. “I now have the confidence and knowledge I need to jump into and just go for it,” says Belinda. Enough said.

Case Study 3

“Tops in CoPop”

A former music industry and advertising art director, Nick Slim has some wonderful stories to tell. His journey from the glamorous world of music to launching his own printed apparel brand Slim of London has been one filled with learning. He joined an innovative trade collective CoPop at POP Brixton to grow his rock & roll themed fashion brand, but was missing out on digital marketing that would drive footfall to CoPop, tell his intriguing story and ultimately sell more of his funky bags and original tees.

Back2Business came at the right time as he needed to become financially viable enough to earn a living from his passion and focus on future collections. Nick says Back2Business sessions have set out clear instructions on running is business and getting it known further afield. “It finally dawned on me that people can do some of the selling for me through social media by sharing how much they like my designs.”  Look out for his new designs at CoPop and who’s wearing his designs best on Twitter and Instagram.

Case Study 4

“How ‘self’ish have we become?” —

Unimpressed and uneasy with the pouting, inauthentic nature of selfies and the insecure and competitive effect on young people (her daughters included), a fashion and lifestyle photographer beneficiary launched a campaigner brand to promote authentic self-images with  Beyond the social aims of boosting self-esteem, she wants to celebrate the quirky, real, gorgeous personalities of people through photography, and create a gallery of images and conversations that empower youth, women and society overall.  She dedicated her Teen Spirit project to the Back2Business course, to examine how to create a commercial element to a social campaign, and how to communicate her message far and wide. She needed to pare down focus on how Teen Spirit would increase her profile and drive new business opportunities, leveraging her hugely creative campaign mind and appealing to a young audience and their parents.

The course has focused her thinking, and resulted in her development of a launch strategy over the coming months. “I cannot tell you how valuable Back2Business has been for me. I have the momentum now,” she says.” I am no longer intimidated by Twitter or grant applications, and cannot wait to share Teen Spirit with the world in 2016 and make this a newsworthy brand.”

Watch this space for more of our Back2Business graduates’ stories and follow us on @BrandAmplifier.

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