Keeping on top of ever-changing trends is no easy feat, that’s why it’s important to nurture creativity in your business which will in turn help you stay ahead of the curve.
Having built their multi-million pound eCommerce website business from the ground up, Matthew and Chris from Custom Plugs are all about creativity. Their company is one of the leading international websites specialising in ear gauges and plugs, body jewelry, accessories, and alternative clothing.
Here they discuss, in their own words, how nurturing creativity in their business has helped them achieve their levels of success.
A creative audience
Our business falls naturally into a very creative space – we essentially work in fashion, but also fall into a bracket of counter-culture. Our audience is very creative and demands creativity and individuality from the brands they choose to engage with. Trends move very quickly, and we as a business need to be as close to this as we can.
We are passionate about nurturing a culture of creativity and innovation in our business. We also encourage our team members to not only influence the products we sell but also the way we work, the way we engage with our customers, the way we market, our brand – every aspect of the business is a living, breathing organism that feeds on the creativity of the people who work within it.
One of our USPs is that we offer something unique, that we are edgy and original – having a creative team is essential to that. I believe a large part of our success is the creativity of our team in its entirety, and we embrace creativity as pivotal to our business.
Creating a company culture
Empowering our staff gives them a greater feeling of belonging and makes them feel valued. Our staff turnover is very low; the majority of our team have been with us for a long time and I believe, with the right culture, will remain with us for many more years to come. This culture gives our staff trust in their own abilities.
I believe very strongly that it is our culture of fresh-thinking and innovation that gives us a competitive edge in our marketplace.
Every single one of us aims to live and breathe our values every day:
- Help plug wearers find the perfect pair of plugs
- Deliver happiness through customer service
- Embrace and drive change
- Be creative and have fun doing it
- Build a positive team through communication
We rely on our staff to be passionate about our products, to know and understand the market and respond to trends. It’s important we have input from across the business, not only from those who speak to customers every day but also from those who sit behind a screen and can see trends from a data-led perspective.
Allowing everyone to contribute ideas
We regularly get together to brainstorm ideas across all areas of the business. We believe there is no such thing as a bad idea, only a work in progress. We take a concept and then encourage others to help us develop it. Sometimes we shelve ideas for a period of time, but often, we dig them back out to see if that can solve an issue further down the line.
We are very aware that within our business, we don’t have all the answers and our audience evolves rapidly, but we have a strong team of individuals to help us follow these trends and curves. They also help to give us new ideas and ways to engage with our audiences, whether that’s on a new platform or a design or marketing idea, sometimes even internal systems and processes can be something innovative and new.
We are always looking for ways to improve, and it’s important in our business to always be open to that.
Hiring the right talent from the start
When I’m employing a new individual, I look for creativity in the application and interview process. Someone who can stand out from the crowd is more likely to get an interview.
Equally, if I’m interviewing, I am looking for someone who can wow me with an idea or show me something new and creative that really stands out. That’s the kind of person I want in my business – they are the ones who will help us retain our edge. I want to employ individuals who aren’t afraid to be different, to speak up and have an opinion, and to put forward great ideas and suggestions.
Ultimately in a business like ours, having a creative team (or not!) can make or break a business. Nurturing this creativity and allowing everyone to have a voice, is the main reason our staff, and also our customers, stick around.