WHAT DO YOU DO?
Each package is sold once so the brands are unique. We also provide free tips, useful tools, resources and inspiration to help small businesses grow their brands.
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
Originally from Canada, I studied graphic design in New York and then moved to Landan (cue Paul Rudd British accent) in 2012. Having no clue wtf to do, I freelanced on-site for various studios and brands for a few years, got the lay of the land and built up my skillsets.
Things started to snowball in the fashion industry direction and after a few terrible experiences (obvi) I became totally disillusioned with my job. I felt like my entire existence became about creating pretty things to convince people to buy shit they don’t need. Then I met my partner who saves babies for a living, literally, and realised I needed to do something to give back.
I saw a job ad looking for experienced graphic designers to teach for a private graphic design college called Shillington. No teaching degree needed, they just hire industry professionals. I took a chance and the teaching not only fulfilled my little soul to help inspiring creatives find their groove, but it also completely reinvigorated me as a designer and my process.
Fast-forward to now. I teach the part-time course now and have become so passionate about educating that I knew I needed to use those new skills to help small businesses build their brands. The hustlers who have smaller budgets but bigger dreams.
How do you stand out in your field?
I stand out in my field because I’m creating an opportunity where there hasn’t been before. I believe that the world needs good design and that effective branding shouldn’t just be limited to big businesses with big budgets. But beyond the Creative Markets and Etsys of the world where you can download a logo for a tenner, resulting in a million brands looking the exactfuckingsame, there are no options for small businesses who cannot afford ground up, bespoke branding services. I want to slide into that middle ground and make real branding accessible, sold once and unique to them.
But the dream doesn’t stop there. I’d like The Merchant Assembly to grow to an online platform for both businesses to buy and designers to sell brands. Designers should be valued for their skills and not expected to sell off their ideas for peanuts. Again, that middle ground for everyone.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
The Merchant Assembly is my current baby. I have just released my first 10 branding packages, and planning to release 10 packages a month - designed by various creatives with various skills and styles.
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?
I suppose my tastes fall to the more minimal or typographic side of graphic design rather than illustrative or overly trendy. However, I don’t really think I have a style. Branding is not about the designer and the designer’s opinion. The role of branding is to communicate a particular message to a particular audience. If that message is successfully received - then the brand is successful. And Hilary is a happy hippo.
WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?
I’d like to work predominately with lifestyle brands with badass female founders.
WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?
Gaining exposure is the hardest thing and building a loyal audience in a very saturated market. Right now I am focusing on finding my groove and connect with my audience.
IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?
Literally just someone to bounce ideas around with me. Working alone can be pretty isolating and there’s nothing better than teaming up and brainstorming with another creative. That synergy just blows ideas up bigger and better than they could ever be.
LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?
Overall, just to follow my own instincts and take that leap of faith earlier on. Appreciating the differences between me (the millennial) and my parents’ generation - that we no longer spend 20 years with one company and that having a fluid career that grows and develops the way I choose it to isn’t a lack of commitment - it’s a pretty great thing.
IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
Oh man, too many things - probably some tech trend forecaster to give me a heads up on what the next big tech trend is so I can get ahead of the game and learn to design for it ASAP rocky.
WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
Small businesses to work with on branding projects, either bespoke brand creation or selling a Merchant Assembly package. Also collaborations with designers to create brand packages or any other cool shit we can think up!
DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.
I’d love to produce branding for a restaurant or bar, or work on all the graphics for a film a la Annie Atkins.
WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE?
My branding packages cost between £850-950 GBP and bespoke branding services start at £1500.
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
An outline of their business and what they hope to achieve through branding, their budget and the scope of work. If they also include a GIF I ain't mad at it.
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?
Collage is the new therapy
This member profile was originally published in October 2019.