Monday, 28 April 2014


PPS (Professional Packaging Service).
PPS offers bespoke designs. Each PPS client has a dedicated account executive to manage the process from development to production and final delivery of their packaging. They establish a strong understanding of each of the client's requirements to ensure continuity and effective communication. They have a skilled team to provide a unique professional packaging service. This is a team I would love to be involved in as I am interested in packaging design especially bespoke packaging.


Established in 1979, they are the market leaders in the retail gift and presentation packaging arena. As the UK's premier packaging solutions provider, they offer clients unique constructional ideas, graphic design, worldwide sourcing and assembly, combined with full service project management. Their continued growth and success is achieved with the support of their loyal clients and commitment to exceed customers' expectations in quality and service.Their business operates in a contemporary open plan working environment which creates a relaxed and friendly platform conducive to dynamic creative thinking and excellent team communication.

PPS are well known for their bespoke packaging design mainly for drink packaging although they also do cosmetics, gifts and fragrances.

PPS is non-manufacturing and has built a strong network of manufacturing partners throughout the UK, Europe, Middle East and Far East, who offer solutions for each and every packaging requirement.

Examples of Drinks Packaging.
PPS focus on the client and the clients need rather than focusing on factory dictated designs. This is somewhere I would love to do some work experience, having no limit to the packaging design, going over and above to make a clients product bespoke and interesting. The designs are so crisp and clean, they have been designed with skill and precision and have a very professional finish.

Example of Gift Packaging.
As well as drinks packaging they also create gift packaging. Simple yet effective packaging.

I will be contacting PPS about trying to get some work experience during the summer, it is something I would love to do especially as I am interested in packaging design, and love their bespoke packaging. There is definitely a reason why major brands such as Grey Goose Vodka contact them to design their packaging, as their design are immaculate. The company is based in Bradford although they do have an office in Hong Kong too, but having a Bradford office means that it would be easily accessible for me. A friend of a friend is close to Simon Bell, the General manager and founder of PPS and hopefully he will get back to me about maybe doing a weeks work experience during the summer.

Sunday, 27 April 2014


Life's a Pitch has been a really interesting and helpful task. Although doing presentations is something I don't look forward to doing, I found this presentation quite exciting. Business studies is something I have always enjoyed doing, I did it at school and did very well in it. When hearing about this brief initially I felt nervous but then finding out the specific requirements for the presentation I realised this is something I have an interest in, therefore I enjoyed it a lot.

My group worked really well together, I think that we all pulled our own weight. It was a good idea for us to set different tasks for each of us to do, this spread the work load evenly amongst the five of us, which meant that there was a fair amount of work to do. When it came to setting each of our roles, we all chose things that we were comfortable with and interested in which made it easier for us to research. Having Danielle and Ant in my group meant that we were able to expand our business further as their are really interested in web design and know a lot about hosting, where as Sarah Mel and I are more interested in print and illustrations which gave us a wide scope of information about the company we wanted to set up. I think it is important to get along with your group as I think that work gets done a lot quicker and more efficiently this way.

I think that our presentation went really well, I think that it included a good balance between detailed information, but not too much that it was boring and didn't relate to the audience. There were a few moments in the presentation where I think I could have said more, and messed up a bit, like some others in my group would agree they did too. Going through the presentation was a good idea as I think that it allowed us to all go through what we would be saying so that we could try and include all the necessary information. There is a lot of information that we didn't include on the presentation but did in fact research as we didn't think that it would be appropriate to put everything on the presentation.

Because there were five people in our group the work was distributed evenly and less overwhelming. There wasn't as much for each of us to research which is why we were able to be quite specific and detail with the research we all did. If we were to do Life's a Pitch again, I would have talked about being Sublime ltd more in the publication, explaining the naming of the business and why we have included ltd. I think that overall our presentation went really well and worked well as a group, I think a few of us would have done a few things differently whilst we were presenting, but other than that I am really happy with Sublime ltd. I would love to start this company after finishing our degree, I was really disappointed that it wasn't actually happening in the end, and that it was just a proposal.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Group Meeting 3

Gathering our research together.
Through the Easter holidays our group have decided to meet up so that we can make all of our decisions for the business and bring our research together. It also allows us to get our presentation done so that we will be prepared.

Me - Legal requirements needed for the business, also what type of business we will be, for example as plc or ltd.
Danielle - In charge of making the powerpoint, what makes our business unique (USP) and looking up how much we should be charging.
Mel - Looking up the costings for the business, start up costs including fixed and variable costs, also looking into the competition.
Sarah - Location, where we would have our business and how much our rent would be. Also looking at external printers, what would work best for us.
Ant - Website hosting and different banks, which would be best for our business account and loan.

Music License.
After doing my research on the legal requirements for our business, I found that we would need a music license if we wanted to listen to any music or the radio in our studio, therefore I looked into how much is would cost to get it for a year.

There are many different costs that haven't been considered in the costings therefore I decided to help Mel get some accurate costs for the business, which will include the music license.

Gas and Electrics.
The gas and electrics haven't been considered when doing the costings therefore I looked into the different companies so that I could find which would work best for our company, also which if the most cost effective for us. I decided that 'First:Utility' would be the best for our business, it offers a low fixed rate and we would be able to pay monthly which is what we were looking for. After finding this me and Mel worked out that it would cost about £80 per month on gas and electricity. This is a fixed cost and if we go under we will receive money back at the end of the year.


To work out how much we would be paying ourselves in our salary, I decided to look into how much a Designer in Leeds would be earning. Because we are a new business I thought that it would be better if we had a lower salary to start with, whilst still having enough to live comfortably. This is the results I found for looking up what a designer would earn, we worked out what we would pay ourselves per year on what a starting designer would earn. Therefore we decided that we would pay ourselves £22,500 a year before tax.

I decided to work out how much tax we would have to pay on our salary if we were all to earn £22,500. This means that we would pay a basic rate of 20% of our salary goes to tax, I did this so that I could find out if we would be able to live off our earnings after tax, which we will as it will be £18,000.

Bank Loan.
Ant was in charge of finding the bank who we will be getting our initial loan from to start the business. He stated that NatWest would be the best for our company although he couldn't get the APR % therefore I found a way of doing this. I think that getting a loan of £25,000 would be enough for our business, it would cover the start up costs and also give us a little bit left over just in case. Using this calculator I was able to find out what our monthly repayments would be,  I did this so that we could work out our monthly outgoings for the cashflow chart. This means that our loan would be paid off over 4 years.

Danielle asked around different branding and website design businesses so that she could find out how much they charged per hour. She found that a lot of them charged about £100 per hour. Although I think that it is subjective towards what kind of work we will be designing. Me and Mel have been working out the costings, and found that the break even point in the business is £129,600, this means that if we are wanting to make a profit in the first year we will need to be making more than £129,600. If we charged £90 per hour we would break even exactly, although this isn't taking into account VAT, or giving any lee way on quieter times.
If we are open from 9am till 5pm, we will not be working 8 hours solid, baring in mind lunch, and breaks, or unplanned events, we decided that we would consider having 6 solid hours a day, 5 days a week. Also considering holidays in the year, and just being generally slower business wise, therefore working 48 weeks a year.
£129,600 divided by 48 weeks a year is £2,700.
£2,700 divided by 5 days a week is £540.
£540 divided by 6 hours a day is £90.
Therefore this is what we would need to charge to break even.
Just breaking even isn't the goal for Sublime, we are looking to make a profit. Therefore because our turnover is over £77,000 per year we will have to be VAT registered. I think that it will be better for our company to charge our VAT straight to the clients, rather than us losing more money. Adding the 20% VAT charge to the clients means that we will be charging £110 per hour, generally.
£90 times 1.2 (20%) is £108, although we decided to round it up to get £110 per hour.
If we do charge £110 per hour, work 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, and 48 weeks a year we would have a turnover of £158,400.

Me and Mel spent most of the day working out all of the costs for the business. Mel came up with all of the start up costs and how much everything would be. Whilst I worked out how much bills would be and licenses that we needed. I also looked into whether or not we would have to be VAT registered, which we do as our turnover is over £77,000.
We worked out how much our start up costs would be and pay with that using our loan, and investing the rest of the loan as capital in the business. We also calculated out monthly costs and added these to our total salary outgoings to find out total outgoings cost. Working out our estimated turnover plus what we would receive from people using our hosting services means out net profit is £160,400.
Our Net profit minus our outgoings gives us our gross profit.
£160,400 minus £129,600 is £30,800 gross profit.
This is capital which will be reinvested back into the business at least for the first year, which will contribute to paying for our resources company benefits, also pitching to potential clients.

As a private limited company we will need to have a directer and secretary therefore we decided that Danielle would be our director, and I would be the secretary, which means Danielle would be in charge of the time management in the company so we would have structure, and I would be in charge of looking after the money and going to different meetings. Although we have a directer and secretary, everyone at Sublime would have their own responsibilities, and would all have equal shares in the business of 20%, which means we would all get the same salary.

Mel found a really useful publication that helps to explain more about businesses and how they work and if you are setting up the things you need to do. After doing the costings me and Mel went through this publication and summerised each section so that we could create some of the content for our presentation. I then decided to write short bullet points about why we are a public limited company, this will show people some of the reasons why we chose this, whilst in the presentation I will be more specific about it, as I think that it is important that people know why we are a private limited company rather than partnership, sole trader, public limited company ect.

Launching our studio.
Draw up a detailed and honest business plan that identifies gaps in the market and how we would fill them.
Look for complimentary skills in our team and protect ourselves with legal binding articles of association, for the agreed rules of how to run the company.
Funding options for our company will be…..
Before starting we will need to register our studio, obtain the necessary licenses, alert the local and national tax offices, and get the right insurance.
Begin looking for studio, check the tenant’s obligations carefully.

Money Matters.
Consider project specification, usage and rights, turn around time, overhead costs, your expertise and how much you want a job before calculating the fee.
We will initially quote on an hourly rate, with all additional time and expenses build in the final fee.
In our payment terms we will include cancellation fees rejection fees and termination clauses.
We will not underestimate the importance of cash flow; we will ask for staged payments and invoices to be agreed.
Booking keeping is a legal requirement to get to grips of what’s coming in and out; we will file all paperwork and receipts in an organised system.
We will employ Toby the accountant to help us save money and navigate us through the tax mind field.

Being More Efficient.
Time is money, we will work out a plan of how to manage our studio and projects before tackling any of the creative work.
Successful studios demonstrate an excellent project management so we are going to put a system in place that will help us get each job done to brief and to the deadline.
We are going to avoid clashing deadlines, preferably we are going to plan our schedule, so that major deadline will fall about every two weeks, this will ensure work will be completed to a high standard, and keep the work flow manageable.
Create Gantt charts to prioritise tasks, cost of the project and the estimated time it will take.
We will keep regular communication with our clients, suppliers and each other to lessen the chances of bad surprises.

Winning Work.
The key to winning new work is being able to spot design opportunities and successfully communicate our vision to perspective clients.
We will arrange regular studio promotions to keep up moral and word of the business, which will be more chances of finding new clients.
We will all have a responsibility of finding new work and clients, which will be beneficial us financially & as a studio as a whole.
We are going to contact people who we already know, so we are going to contact possible clients and let them know what we are doing and our contact details.

Dealing with clients.
We are going to make sure we try and retain our clients when we develop at database as these will be a long-term relationship that we will try to arrange regular meetings with to keep up to date with their business & ideas.
No two clients are the same. We are going to listen to what they want and gain a sense of what they are all about to make our studio irreplaceable.
We are going to set up events quarterly, and invite our clients for refreshments to get to know them on a personal level so therefore we can secure repeat business.
We will always be looking to exceed our clients expectations as we can’t rely on repeat business.

Build a Perfect Team.
We will only employ people that better than us and have different skill sets than our team present.
We are going to have many employee benefits in place from, krispy crème in Monday morning briefings, to monthly bowling tournaments. But also we will have clear detailed policies in place, such as sick leave and maternity leave to make sure all our staff are disciplined.

Studio Life.
The colour scheme of our studio is going to be lime green as this is known as a calming colour and boosts creativity.
We are going to create a comfortable office atmosphere that is affordable so employees can concentrate.
We will foster a team spirit by doing regular employee activities stated in our employee benefits. This will create a good working environment and atmosphere.

Advantages of Private Limited Company.

Offers a financial security as the company’s shareholders are only liable for any debt the company accrues according to the levels of their own investment and no more.

The company has a separate entity to the owners which means if anything happens to them for example retire or die, the company will still continue to exist and operate. This offers security for the employees and other shareholders.

The Directors are also usually the main shareholders of the Company. Therefore both the ownership and control of the business remain in their hands. Decisions can be made quickly and easily, with little fuss, allowing for a more successful business management platform.

Productive Day.
Whilst I was doing this, Danielle was preparing and designing the presentation showing where we would be in 1-3-5 years time. Ant was doing the logo and branding for our studio. Mel was helping me with the costing and content for the presentation. And Sarah created the lime characters and wrote our manifesto. This was a very productive day, a lot got done in the day and it was a good idea for us all to come in during Easter to sort out our presentation. After doing this we are ready for our presentation, although we will be running through it so that we can establish what each of us will be saying about Sublime, and running through what we should be saying so that we can convey everything necessary without being too thorough and boring people.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Setting up a Private Limited Company

After deciding that our company is going to be a Private Limited company, I have decided to look further into how to set up a business specifically for a PLC. This will give me more knowledge so that I can be prepared in the presentation for any questions to be asked and I can also get a better understanding of how a Private Limited Company will work.

You can set up a private limited company to run your business. You must appoint people to run the company (called ‘directors’) and register (or ‘incorporate’) it with Companies House.

Once the company is registered you’ll get a ‘Certificate of Incorporation’. This confirms the company legally exists and shows the company number and date of formation.

Sole traders are personally responsible for their business debts, but the liability in a private company is usually limited to the shareholders. The liability depends on the type of company being created.
A private company limited by shares is owned by its members (called shareholders). The liability of each member is limited to the original value of the shares issued to them, but not paid for. 
A private company limited by guarantee means the members of the company financially back it up to an amount agreed previously, if things go wrong. Its members aren’t called shareholders. 

Register your company.
Before you register.
All limited companies must be registered (incorporated) with Companies House. To do this you need:
  • the company’s name and registered address
  • at least one director
  • at least one shareholder
  • details of the company’s shares - known as ‘memorandum of association’
  • rules about how the company is run - known as ‘articles of association’
Fees and how long it takes.

Online takes 48 hours and costs £15 (paid by debit or credit card or Paypal).

Postal applications take 8 to 10 days and cost £40 (paid by cheque made out to ‘Companies House’). You can get a same day service by post. It costs £100 but you must get your application to Companies House by 3pm. 

Company Name and Address.
Company name.

The names of all private limited companies in the UK must end in either ‘Limited’ or ‘Ltd’ and the name can’t:

  • be the same as any other name on the Companies House index of names
  • contain a ‘sensitive’ word or expression unless you get permission
  • suggest a connection with government or local authorities
  • be offensive

Registered Address.
The registered office address is where official communications are sent - eg letters from Companies House and HM Revenue & Customs. The address doesn’t have to be where you operate your business from but it must be:
  • a physical address
  • in the same country that your company is registered in - eg a company registered in Wales must have a registered address in Wales
You can use a PO Box, but you must also include a physical address and postcode eg PO Box 123, 1 High Street, Anytown, SW1A 1AA.
You can use your home address or the address of the person who will manage your Corporation Tax if these addresses meet the rules above.

Directors and Company Secretary.

When you register your company it must have at least 1 director.

A director is legally responsible for running the company. A director must be older than 16 and not be someone disqualified from being a director.

You can make another company a director - but at least 1 of your company’s directors must be an individual.

Directors have responsibilities that include making sure the company is run properly.

Company secretaries.

You don’t need a company secretary for a private limited company. Some companies use them to take on some of the director’s responsibilities.

The company secretary can be a director but can’t be:

  • the company’s auditor
  • an ‘undischarged bankrupt’ - unless they have permission from the court
The restrictions placed on a person when they’re made bankrupt usually end when they’re discharged. You can check if someone has been discharged using the Insolvency Register.

When you register a company you’ll need to make a ‘statement of capital’. This is:
  • the number of shares the company has and their total value - known as the company’s ‘share capital’
  • the names and addresses of all shareholders - known as ‘subscribers’ or ‘members’
Every limited company must have at least one shareholder. There’s no maximum number. Directors can be shareholders.

Role of shareholders.
Shareholders are owners of the company and they have certain rights eg, directors must get shareholders to vote and agree on changes to the company.

Articles of Association.
When you register your company you must have articles of association.
These are the rules about running the company that shareholders and ‘officers’ (directors or company secretary) have to agree to. For example, rules about how decisions that affect the company must be made and the role of shareholders in those decisions.
Most companies use standard (‘model’) articles - but you can change these or write your own as long as the company doesn’t break the law.

Set up your Company for Corporation Tax.
Within 3 months of starting up in business, you must give HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) specific information about your company. You can do this once you’ve got your company’s Unique Taxpayer Reference.

HMRC will use this information to work out when your company must pay Corporation Tax.

What you must tell HMRC

You must tell HMRC:

  • the date you started in business
  • your company name and registered number
  • the main address where you do business from
  • what kind of business you do
  • the date you’ll make your annual accounts up to
  • if you’ve taken over a business or you’re part of a group
Any business activity counts as starting up, eg buying, selling, employing someone, advertising or renting a property.

Your company’s Unique Taxpayer Reference.

HMRC will send your company’s Unique Taxpayer Reference to your registered office address, usually within a few days of the company being registered (incorporated).

The letter tells you how to:

  • give HMRC the information they need about your company
  • set up your company’s HMRC online account for Company Tax Returns and Corporation Tax
Sublime ltd.
This research has been very useful for our presentation. I have learnt a lot about the specific requirements for a Public Limited Company. I have found that we will have to include ltd in our name as our company is limited. It is also really useful to know how Corporation Tax works as I was unsure about how it worked before doing any of this research. This is something that I will be including in the presentation, the information I have taken from researching into Private Limited Companies further than the information I already new.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Things Needed to run a Business

I decided to go to my mum as she owns a business and ask her what will be needed to run a business, including all the technical and legally aspects. Things that I might not be able to find online whilst researching. Although she is a Sole Trader, therefore she said that some things won't apply for me as our business will be a Private Limited Company. I decided to take notes on the things needed, and will do more research after to find out more specifically for a PLC.

Register with inland revenue as self employed company.
Set up a rti (real time information) for pay as you earn.
- Calculate tax and national insurance for employees, pay monthly.
Register with inland revenue for VAT.
- Depending on projected turnover (net profit).
- If you turnover more than £77,000 a year you need to register fr VAT.
Business plan.
- All about money - so that you can show banks
PRS (performing right society) even if its just background music.
Limited Company needs.
- Name and adress.
- Register with companies house.
- Have at least one directer.
- Have at least one Shareholder.
- Articles of association - agreed rules about running the company.
- set up for corporation tax.
Set up bank account.
May need to pay National Insurance contribution. (rti)
Employing people, set up contracts for employees.
Check out employees are legal.
Get a solicitor - preferably someone who knows the business.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Logo Development.

Logo Designs.
As a group we decided on the name 'Sublime" Design Studios. After our first meeting we made a facebook group so that we could all keep in touch with each other and exchange ideas. We all went away with our own tasks and topics to research, as well as this we all tried some logo designs, so that we could find the one that would work best.
I started by thinking about submarines as we are called Sublime. Using different opacities of a lime colour I created a submarine.
I think that the submarine looks really inappropriate for our business therefore I started to just work with the colour lime and the words 'Sublime' 'Design' 'Studio'. Although I think that I should include a lime in the logo design. This is because our company includes illustration as me Mel and Sarah like illustration, therefore the logo should include some sort of illustration.

I illustrated a lime and used it in the 'I' or I thought about using it as a full stop, although I have recently done a group brief using the icon as a full stop.

I also thought about putting the word 'Sublime' in a lime, although I think that it looks like a refreshing drink.

I think that this logo works better, as it is including the right colours, and illustration and showing that it is a design studio rather than just a drink. Although I think that the group might find this colour a bit too bright, and if any of my logos are used, the colour might need to be toned down. I will put all of my logos onto our facebook group for the rest of my group to see.

After putting them on the group.
We all put all of our different logo designs on the facebook pages to get comments and see which one we are going to chose for our brand. We all agreed that because of the colours and the lime illustrations, a lot of the logos look like drinks. After doing this we decided that we are going to meet up in the Easter holidays so that we can all exchange ideas and decide in person.