Meet the IPSE Aspire Freelancer of the Year finalists

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IPSE is delighted to announce the five finalists for the Aspire Freelancer of the Year Award 2017. The award is for the UK's best freelancers aged 23 and under.

Abigail and Chloe Baldwin. Creative Design. 

Abigail and her twin sister Chloe form the design duo Buttercrumble, which they founded in 2012 while still at school. Both are passionate about collaborating with other creatives to produce fun and friendly visuals for design enthusiasts. Their mission is to use beautiful designs to make other people smile, and their approach is inspired by Henry James, who once wrote: “It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance… and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process.”

Having graduated from the University of Leeds with degrees in Graphic & Communication Design, Abigail and Chloe combined their experience in PR, marketing, blogging, illustration and design to create a versatile, eye-catching portfolio. Now they are a super-synced, harmonious duo, who have joined forces to make their clients’ visions a reality. 

Buttercrumble’s work has a range of influences, including mid-century styles, folk illustrations, Scandinavian design, stories and everyday life.

They have already worked on a wide range of projects, including acting as Creative Editors for Independent Leeds, a free magazine celebrating business and creativity. They not only contributed editorial illustrations, but also managed the magazine’s design layout and even produced creative writing for the publication.

They have also helped host creative workshops in Leeds Libraries, worked on a line of mid-century-inspired silk scarves, performed live portrait drawings in Fred Aldous (a shop in Manchester), and even worked with the video production company Capture Lab on an animation about Type 1 diabetes.

They would use the support and advice from winning the Aspire award to develop their business skills and learn about financing and accounting. They are launching their first collection of scarves in April, and would also use the prize money to help drive and support this project. This would include taking photography classes and hiring a professional model to properly market their scarves.

Charlotte Haldane. Hair and Makeup Artist.

Charlotte is currently in the final year of her BA(hons) Hair and Makeup for Fashion programme at London College of Fashion. She is a professional artist who specialises in makeup for fashion across many platforms such as editorial, catwalk, commercial and weddings. 

Her work has already been spotted by a leading creative agency, which has led to invitations to do support work at the London and Paris Fashion Weeks. She has worked on fashion shows with makeup artists like Margaret Howell, Celine, Molly Goddard and Roksanda.

She has assisted many artists too, including Lucia Pica, Thomas De Kluyver, Lauren Parsons and Siobhan Furlong. Her work has also been featured in editorials and magazines like Red Milk Magazine, Sicky Magazine and Vogue Italia – all while pressing on with her studies.

Charlotte’s portfolio is already burgeoning, but her proudest career achievement so far has been joining the team at Art Partner, one of the world’s leading creative content and artist management agencies. Since joining them, she has been involved in numerous high-profile catwalk projects. Being involved with Art Partner, who rarely – if ever – engage with students, gave Charlotte the confidence to properly showcase her abilities and portfolio.

Their continuing engagement with her is an indication not only of the quality of her work, but also of her excellent career prospects in an otherwise notoriously competitive and saturated industry. Although her business is still in its infancy, it has already developed substantially in terms of coverage and exposure – particularly compared to other young hair and makeup artists’ businesses.

Should she be crowned the Aspire Young Freelancer of the Year, she would put the prize money towards developing her website and marketing her brand. She would also like to undertake business management training to improve her overall business skillset, while also expanding her portfolio and reaching her creative potential.

Nisha Haq. Photographer.

Hailing from Southampton, Nisha is a photographer specialising in weddings, special occasions, engagement shoots, headshots, portrait and lifestyle sessions, as well as a range of other commercial functions.

Nisha’s passion lies in photographing people and showcasing who they are through her natural, colourful and relaxed style. She tailors her work to individuals to offer a personal service, including handmade packages containing a wedding welcome pack and a USB gift box.

Nisha studied BA (Hons) Photography at Southampton Solent University, and soon recognised that freelancing might be way of working for the career she had chosen. She therefore studied additional business courses and applied for business start-up grants for young entrepreneurs.

She has only been running her business for 18 months, but it has already grown exponentially – in terms of both the number of clients and contracts she has secured and the variety of services she offers. Lately, she has been exploring different ways of securing more work from clients. As well as photography, she also creates websites, business marketing assets, logo design branding and videos.

Some major projects Nisha has worked on include a food photography portfolio for an independent chocolatier, the photography, branding, website design and copywriting package for a driving school, and a three-day photography and video shoot for the Gather-ing for Somerset ART Works.

Nisha is also keen to share her knowledge by acting as mentor. She has already not only given work experience to three young female photographers and videographers, but also spoken at her university about photography and branding for businesses. Inspiring others is key to Nisha’s philosophy.

If she was crowned Aspire Freelancer of the Year, Nisha would invest the money in marketing herself, specifically for military work and Asian weddings. She would also use it to help her purchase a professional studio office space.

Carl Lonsdale. Interior Specialist.

Carl, an interior specialist operating through Spruce My, isn’t your typical tradesman. He takes the time to understand the unique challenges and processes involved in fitting out a store to encourage the highest possible standard of work.

Spruce My is a team of creatives who combine digital marketing, design and websites with property development and interior fit-outs. Carl’s processes involve sitting down and understanding the unique needs of every client and using their personality to drive the creative process.

Carl has worked on many million-pound interior fit-outs and prides himself on producing outstanding end results. In December, Carl oversaw a lucrative project for itsu. He organised many different aspects of the project, ensuring they could ultimately deliver a high-quality interior for the client.

His greatest career achievement to date, however, was simply going freelance. Now, having taken the risk, he is reaping the rewards: creative opportunities and business freedom. When he worked as an employee before, Carl didn’t feel his skills were being used correctly by companies who often missed the bigger picture and, as a result, didn’t get the results they could have.

Carl has an innovative mind-set and is constantly coming up with new ways to cut property maintenance costs. He is now helping to develop plans to save restaurants and independents money on callouts, cleaning and interior fit-outs. One of his main proposals is to introduce a fixed-fee monthly package that will cover repairs and replacements and negate the need for potentially lengthy and costly work.

Carl and Spruce My already cater for all property and interior-based needs. And Carl has also incorporated not only performing audits to help clients cut their costs, but also offering a genuinely round-the-clock personal service. But now they hope to broaden their service even further with maintenance plans.

Adam Smith. Video and Photography Production.

Adam runs HSQ Productions, a video and photography production company specialising in quick, high-quality media content for clients across the UK. Their approach can be summed up with the mantra on their website: “Tomorrow is too late and today is yesterday. We produce high-quality, fast turnaround content for those who wanted it yesterday.”

Adam has worked on a wide range of projects, including event video production for the naming ceremony of the Anstruther Lifeboat at the Royal National Lifeboat Institute. Another notable project was an AGM highlights video for the large cleaning franchise, Time For You. His biggest achievement to-date, however, was securing his first video production contract. This also gave him the chance to debut his ‘Done in a Day’ service, where he completes every aspect of the video – including both filming and editing – in a day.

Adam regularly collaborates at freelance events at his local co-working space to increase his exposure to potential new clients and projects. He also places great emphasis on helping other up-and-coming freelancers and sharing his experience of running a successful business. One of Adam’s greatest recent successes was being chosen to lead a group of MBA students from the University of Manchester. It was for a course ranked 30th in the world by the Financial Times, and essentially involved him pitching to investors and helping students with their presentations.

Recently, he has also secured a shoot for a charity at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. He is working with a creative associate too, who will help him pitch innovative ideas and projects to larger clients.

If he won the Aspire award, he would invest the prize money in better script production software and also upgrade his editing suite to improve the quality of his high resolution videos – both of which would help him secure higher-profile and better-paid projects.


Meet the author

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Tristan Grove

Head of Communications and Policy Engagement