International Women’s Day within the Creative Marketing Industry

International Women’s Day within the Creative Marketing Industry

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Happy International Women’s Day! 

From our founder, Natalie Burkinshaw:

“As one of the 1% of creative agencies founded by women, International Women’s Day is always a day we like to recognise at Crush.

After 21 years in the Design and Marketing business, people are often asking me what the secret is to our success. The truth is, I’ve simply never let being a woman, a single mum (when I started Crush) or a minority in a male-dominated industry get in the way of my ambition. It’s just roll-up-your-sleeves hard work and determination that is the secret to success.

The Crush story is hopefully one that demonstrates to all women that ‘You can do it’, too. ”

Crush’s story

Natalie started Crush in 2003, out of both the desire to be independent, and to offer her clients better work with more care given to the working relationship. It was this idea of a more carefully managed, trust-based creative process that inspired Natalie to strike out on her own as a single mum. 

Graduating with a degree in Visual Communication from the Surrey Institute of Art & Design (SIAD), Natalie’s first design role was at London agency, Clarion. Then, after a move to Nottingham, she worked as a freelance designer working for several different agencies at a time. It was here that she really began to notice the lack of care, dedication and quality given by a lot of design and marketing agencies. To put it simply, Natalie knew she could offer her clients something more.

Crush has now been operating for over two decades and continues to offer expertise in brand, design and digital to both local and global clients. As an independent agency, we’re still standing strong whilst many other agencies are beginning to fold. 

Employee satisfaction is also a key component. The Crush team are an assembly of strengths, compromising of talented male and female designers, developers and marketers – each with a different skill set that compliments the whole. First starting out in the town centre of Chesterfield, the studio now operates from a rural Derbyshire location that places the team within a lush, natural working environment. It is both serene and inspiring. 

Over several different studio moves and team sizes, two things remain just the same as when we began – passion and determination. We’re extremely proud of our work and care for our relationships. 

Could this be the secret to our longevity? We think so. 

What we learned on International Women’s Day

It’s pretty telling that, in today’s world that is fraught with war and polarised views, this year’s International Women’s Day theme is, ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress’. Launched by UN Women as, “the best way to accelerate economic growth and build more prosperous, equitable societies”, we certainly couldn’t agree more with this sentiment. 

International Women’s Day as a whole was created to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. However, it should also celebrate the Everywoman, too. These are the women who go unnoticed, navigating their lives within a society that wasn’t made for them, but for men. It’s for this reason we feel that IWD should’t just be a singular day to celebrate women, but a reflection of how it truly should Never Not Be International Women’s Day

Despite 70% of design students being women, only 12% of creative directors are women and, as we mentioned before, an even smaller percentage of less than 1% of creative agencies are owned by women. But how can that be, when women drive 80% of consumer purchasing? What’s more, 2017 research from the Office of National Statistics concluded that, in the UK, women in graphic design get paid 6% less than men. 

We clearly still have a long way to go, both within the creative sector and society as a whole, but as the Crush story should tell you, we’re not going to let the statistics define us.

“Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with countless inspiring female designers, marketers and business-leaders, in fact, recent research shows 60% of those working in marketing are women. 

So, despite the stats and the ever-changing design & tech landscape, I think the future of the creative industry is bright for young women. I’d encourage anyone with a passion to go for it, because if you don’t, nothing changes.”

– Natalie Burkinshaw, Founder and Creative Director of Crush Design