Thursday, 16 September 2021
MARK WÓJCICKI owns Studio Stanley, a Henley graphic design business. He and his wife Jane have lived in Henley since 1984 and have a daughter, Rachel. He enjoys football and still plays five-a-side regularly. He also loves sketching, especially when on holiday.
Describe your business
I am a graphic designer specialising in company branding, logos and websites. I also produce sales and promotional materials including newsletters, brochures and leaflets.
How many people does it employ?
I am a one-man band but I have talented individuals who work with me on projects, particularly websites.
What did you do before you started this business?
After graduating in graphic design from Leicester Polytechnic, I decided to be an (unemployed) artist and spent a year painting and drawing, while living with my parents. At the end of the year I held an exhibition together with my brother and a friend. It was a very pleasant lifestyle but didn’t produce much in the way of an income! My first job came courtesy of the Manpower Services Commission, a government body set up to alleviate high levels of unemployment in the Eighties. I was part of a team creating exhibitions promoting the idea of a new museum in Bridgnorth, Shropshire. I fell in love with the county and still have friends there. My next job brought me to Henley to work for McCoy Planning Associates designing reports for the conservation areas of the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. I then worked in various design studios before coming back to Henley in 1999 to work for Folio Creative Communication, a design studio with clients including government departments and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. In 2010, with a gentle prod from redundancy, I decided to set up my own business.
What was your objective in starting your business?
I wanted to have a go at being my own boss.
What or who influenced you?
Growing up, I always wanted to be an artist but at 18 realised I didn’t have the self-motivation or willingness to do other jobs while I developed my career. Graphic design seemed a good alternative.
Do you have a mentor or role model?
There are many designers whose work I admire, in particular Lance Wyman, who did such a great job designing the 1968 Mexico Olympics identity. I have a business mentor, Mark Harris, who I first met at a Henley Business Partnership 3FM breakfast meeting. He’s great at encouraging me and keeping me focused on what’s important.
How is your business doing compared with last year?
Quite a lot better, especially since I took on Mark and made changes to increase my productivity.
What would you do differently if you could start again?
I would market Studio Stanley more consistently.
How do you market your business?
I attend networking meetings and I always carry business cards. I recently picked up a new client at Mo’s Kebab van in Greys Road car park!
What’s the best thing about running your business?
I love the freedom of being my own boss. My work is all about helping clients’ businesses look good and do well, so when that happens it’s very satisfying.
What’s the most challenging aspect?
Marketing and promoting myself. As a creative person, it should come easily but marketing your own company is somehow harder.
Where is your business heading?
My intention is for it to grow. I want to take on more challenging projects and become a better designer.
How important is online?
Most of my clients come through networking but increasingly I am selling my services online, specifically though social media.
How has the business changed?
Massively! In 1984 the very first Apple MacIntosh computer had only just been launched. Just look at what can be done on computers today. Having said that, you still need talented individuals to create the actual work.
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?
Like working on a painting, keep going and don’t give up.
What advice would you give someone starting a business?
Think about what you are about to get into but don’t overthink it or you’ll never get started.
What three qualities are most important?
Ability, perseverance and willingness to enjoy the ride.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made?
Thankfully, no big one, just lots of little ones.
What’s the secret of your success?
My Christian faith has played a major part and keeps me enthused and ready for any eventuality.
How organised are you?
My friends don’t think I am but I make the effort when I need to. Spending hours looking for a previous design job that hasn’t been archived properly is no fun.
How do you dress for work?
Very casually and comfortably. If you are a creative person you can get away with murder.
What can’t you be without at work each day?
My Apple Macintosh computer.
Desktop or mobile/iPad?
Lunch at your desk or going out?
What do you read?
I always have lots of books on the go. C S Lewis is one of my favourite authors. In addition to his famous children’s books, The Chronicles of Narnia, he is also known for his Christian apologetics books, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles and The Problem of Pain.
How are you planning for retirement?
I don’t ever want to retire! I love what I do too much.
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