Marketing Makeovers: Re-designing an industry

Having overcome a series of challenges including health issues, young entrepreneur Hannah Caswell has continued to grow her Marketing Makeovers firm and break into the web design industry. She told BQ how she did it.

Birmingham-based Marketing Makeovers was founded by young entrepreneur Hannah Caswell in 2012 and was the first design agency in the Midlands to specialise in redesign and brand transformation.

The company works mainly with SMEs who are finding that their website and branding is starting to look outdated or is not generating the level of business they anticipated.

The agencies services include website and graphic redesign, as well as ongoing content marketing and social media management services.

Speaking to BQ, Hannah said: “I wanted to be self-employed for several years while working in full-time employment.

“I believe my main drive has been wanting to provide a better life for my two girls and having the flexibility to be able to just be around for them a bit more.

“Also my own personal ambition has driven me. I have always been very ambitious and can honestly say that business just makes me tick.”

When initially setting up the business, Hannah looked for support to help her get started, which led her to the Prince’s Trust initiative.

She said: “I enrolled on the Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme, which was fantastic. Following the Enterprise Programme and the completion of my business plan, I received a £700 grant from the Trust, which I used to buy some equipment and insurance.

“During the first two years of trading, I received the ongoing support of a Prince’s Trust Business Mentor. The support I received from her was incredible and I enjoyed every minute of working with her.

“I am also incredibly fortunate to have a fantastic network of people around me, who have some great business knowledge to share.

“I am lucky to be able to ask many people for advice and guidance, and likewise, I am always more than happy to return the favour. I also love to read and have always got some sort of business book on the go.”

After launching the business, Hannah suffered a series of challenges along the way, mainly due to a rare medical condition she was born with.

She continued: “Having been born with Spina Bifida, I now suffer from a rare spinal condition, called Tethered Cord Syndrome, which leaves me in pretty extreme pain every day.

“Throughout the two and half years of running Marketing Makeovers, I have had to go into hospital for three major back operations – one of which resulted in me contracting bacterial meningitis.

“My health has impacted my business considerably. However, I am determined to not let my health condition stop me from running my business – I have just had to learn to adapt. I think my stubbornness helps!”

After continuing to battle her illness and remarkably grow her business at the same time, she now has greater ambitions to see the company prosper.

Hannah said: “At present, my focus has been on perfecting my business model when working with small business owners. I am a major perfectionist, so always strive to make the service I provide as perfect as possible.

“My next big target is to start applying for commercial tenders with the aim of being able to provide design services to a small number of big-name brands.

“I also currently provide a popular support package to my clients, which I plan to roll-out as a separate company by the end of this tax year. I will then market my WordPress support packages to business owners I haven’t worked with previously.”

Hannah is enjoying her life as an entrepreneur so far and finds the experience rewarding, as she stated “the best thing of being a start-up is definitely the feeling of reward you receive from knowing that you have made things happen and reaching high targets you have set for yourself.”

She continued: “It can be one of the best feelings. The worst thing about being a start-up is definitely issues with cash flow. Whether it’s quiet periods or struggling to get payments in from clients, cash-flow issues are definitely for me, the most un-enjoyable aspect of running a new business.”

As web design and digital marketing agencies are fighting for work across the globe, Hannah had to use her entrepreneurial instinct to make her idea stand out from the crowd. In doing this, she found a niche in the concept that she offered.

Hannah added: “I am the only designer in the Midlands to specialise in redesign and brand transformation.

“My initial market research highlighted that there was a huge sector of the market that already have a website and branding strategy in place but unfortunately, a design won’t last forever and there wasn’t anyone previously working with this sector of clients.

“By choosing to specialise, I know that although my services aren’t targeted towards every business owner out there, I can manage the process of redesign as effectively as possible.”

To finish off the interview, we asked Hannah who her dream customer would be, to which she told BQ: “My dream customer really is anybody who is committed to achieving a high level of business growth and is open to a touch of creativity.

“I love working with clients who embrace creativity and are prepared to step away from what’s the norm.

“I would definitely also love to work with one of the UK’s well-known entrepreneurs.  I have taken so much inspiration from both Hilary Devey CBE and Karen Brady CBE. Having the opportunity to work with either of these ladies would be a dream come true.”

BQ will continue to follow the journey of Marketing Makeover and the successes it has in the future.


In partnership with: Startup Britain