We caught up with Victoria Lawrence from Art Kitten, a fantastic graphic design business based in Redcar, working to bring businesses to life! Find out about her brilliant business below!
Can you tell me about your organisation?
Yes, I have been doing graphic design and websites for over 20 years, but Art Kitten started as a side hustle back in 2012 while I was also working as the creative director for a leading e-gaming studio based in Sofia, Bulgaria, that provides online casino games for bookmakers such as Paddy Power.
Having previously worked for several large companies including a Dutch television company in Amsterdam, a major dot.com company in London, a Government Regional Development Centre in Newcastle, as well as other eGaming companies in the Isle of Man and Malta, I had acquired an enormous wealth of skills and global experience that I started to use to help people I knew, on the side, with their small business ventures.
The enjoyment and satisfaction of seeing my creativity help to grow my friends and acquaintances own side hustles into full-time businesses led me to run Art Kitten as my main job and I haven’t looked back!
Living in so many different places was a lot of fun, but as a proud smoggy the North East will always be where my soul feels at home. So, in 2021 I moved back and now run Art Kitten full time from my house in Redcar. I love being creative for my various clients, many of whom started out as fledgling businesses or merely ideas on paper that have now become very successful and come back to me again and again for more creative designs as their business grows.
My ethos is to provide professional, high-quality design to businesses and charities, but without the prohibitive price tag. I understand how difficult it is to be a in business for yourself, and particularly now with the cost-of-living crisis affecting sales, but I’m also passionate about the importance of good branding and marketing yourself correctly, so I aim to make this accessible to even the smallest of home-ran businesses. My tagline is “A Creative Mind Can Help Your Business Grow” and I truly believe this.
What is the best thing about your organisation?
I’d say the best thing about my business is that I can work remotely so I have clients around the world, which makes things interesting. I love being able to help local businesses and charities but also some of the varied graphic design projects I have done through Art Kitten include the election campaign of the Minister of Immigration and National Insurance in the Bahamas, branding a motorbike road racing team that have competed in the Isle of Man TT and Macau Grand Prix, and creating the logo and promotional videos for a philanthropic foundation that builds schools and hospitals in Africa. I am very proud to have been involved in all projects that I take on, but seeing my work on TV and used around the world is a huge honour.
Being an online-based business also means I don’t have many overheads that need to be reflected in my pricing, which is why I can offer my expertise within the budget of a small local business. I’m not looking to get rich, in fact I really don’t like greed in any way, I just want to pay my bills and enjoy a decent holiday every year whilst helping others do the same.
What is the proudest achievement in your career?
Last year I was named ‘Logo Design Agency of the Year WINNER 2022/23’’ in the North England Prestige Awards, which recognises small and medium-sized businesses that have proven to be the best in their market over the past 12 months. I’ve lost count of the number of logos I have designed over the years, but I put 100% effort into every single one, so it was a huge honour to be recognised for that.
However, my proudest achievement is that one of my logo designs, for 12BET, is shown on television around the world quite often due to their sponsorship of various football clubs. I still get a little giddy and point it out to everyone if it comes on TV on the players’ shirts and on the sponsorship board behind the post-match interviewees. Hopefully they will sponsor Middlesbrough one day!
What are you looking forward to in the next 12 months?
Firstly, I am looking forward to working with more local businesses in the Redcar and Cleveland area. Even though I can work remotely, I also love meeting new people face-to-face and have a deep love of the area in which I live and so I would really like to be involved in helping more businesses thrive in this area.
I have also just launched my new online shop selling graphic design prints and mugs, which I am going to continue to add designs to over the next few months. I have always loved pop art and those vintage art deco style railway poster illustrations, so my own style of illustration is very much a result of those influences. In the next few months, I am planning on concentrating on a series of art prints in that style, of local landmarks that are close to my heart.
Finally, having created a fair few wedding invitations over the years for friends, I’ve had an idea to start a side hustle doing wedding branding; from creating a unique wedding logo for a couple, to branding their whole wedding with a theme that can run through all their save the dates, invitations, favours, name cards and even a wedding website. I’d be really interested to hear from any local companies that create products that could be used as wedding favours to work on collaboration ideas and for details on local wedding fairs/events.
What would you say is the best thing about Redcar and Cleveland?
Definitely the people! I’ve lived in various places in the UK and abroad but in terms of how friendly people are compared to other places I have lived, it’s second to none.
There is certainly a ‘we’re all in this together’ vibe here and a will to lift each other up instead of bringing each other down or stepping on others to get ahead, which is another thing I don’t like. The local community is very proud of their roots and outsiders I’ve spoken to all rave about the area and how much they want to help make the local economy thrive too.
I also love living by the sea, it’s very calming and therapeutic and Redcar has a wonderful beach. I was born in Middlesbrough and lived in Guisborough growing up so have many happy childhood memories of regular visits to places in the area. Redcar and Cleveland has so much to offer for the people, local business and tourists. It’s good to be home!
Be sure to check Art Kitten out, on their social media channels, below:
Website: Art Kitten
Instagram: Art Kitten
Facebook: Art Kitten
LinkedIn: Art Kitten
Pinterest: Art Kitten