This is a follow up story for Driftime® Media. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published over 1 year ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hey there, a pleasure to be here again! I’m Abb-d Choudhury, co-founder of Driftime® Media (formerly known as Curate Labs). We’re an impact-driven design practice for maverick brands at the intersection of culture and purpose – a creative practice evermore for ethics and opportunity, driven to push social, economic, and environmental standards through ethical design.
We provide design and digital services for purpose-driven partners and have an app that advocates local travel, independent businesses, and giving back to the community through interactive editorial content.
We measure success through the objectives, results, and impact we create with our client partners. From long-term implications like ocean conservation and supporting local indigenous communities, to the application of humane design principles and encouraging better online behaviors. These people and planet-focused outcomes are also aligned with profit, as we couldn't continue the work without ensuring our own sustainability. Currently, we have an average monthly turnover of £14K - £20K.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
Since our last interview, we have gone through the process of changing our name and refining our positioning. It’s allowed us to take stock of everything we’re doing and organize things so that our day-to-day is more manageable. We’ve grown our team to 5 internal members, and extended project teams ranging from 3 to 15+ people. We’re looking to hire two new positions this summer.
Having ambitious and diverse perspectives does the opposite. It improves standards and allows you to constantly push the threshold of what you do.
One leap of faith we took is completely leaving social media and all channels. This has given us a significant amount of time back and allowed us to focus more on valuable content and thought-leadership – which feels like a much better use of time. Some of our thinking can be found here, and why we chose to abandon social media.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
This year we learned to pick and choose our battles. It’s extremely hard to do many things well, but having a focus on a select few means you can invest the right amount of time and energy into making it a success.
We’ve also learned a lot about ourselves and the impact of our business. Over the last year, we have undertaken a huge task of internal change, allowing us to better manage, understand and apply impact. This includes carbon offsetting, donating 1% of turnover to people and planet-focused initiatives every year, as well as providing opportunities and mentorship to underserved communities.
One lesson we’re continually learning is the art form of delegation. As designers by trade, we find it ever so hard to let go of things and relinquish ownership. It gets easier as time passes, as we’re realising that our insight and skill sets are put to better use with/for our partners and for our business itself.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
Our immediate goal is to continue growing the service side of the business and continually work towards long-term impact and sustainability. Alongside this, we’re aiming to finish the beta build of the Driftime® App and have an invite-only soft launch to test and iterate – leading to a public launch around late summer/early autumn. Financially, we’re aiming to double our turnover but keep our offering focused and specialized.
In the coming year, we’re building a diverse board of advisors to help with decision-making and keep us evermore accountable towards impact, responsibility, and growing the business.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
Yes! Our current book list is pretty intense. We’re currently trying to read one book every 2 months. I’m currently in the middle of numerous books, as I dip in and out based on my mood. These are:
The Business of Expertise - By David C. Baker
Let My People Go Surfing - By Yvon Chouinard
Seveneves - By Neal Stephenson
Letters from a Stoic - By Seneca
Sapiens (Audio Book) - By Yuval Noah Harari
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
One word, delegation! No one person ever built an empire alone. The sooner you can bring talented people in to do the things you don’t want to do, the better. When you free up your time you can focus on what matters, running your business. It’s taken us the better part of five years to realize this, as we struggled to relinquish ownership with the excuse of standards being compromised. Having ambitious and diverse perspectives does the opposite. It improves standards and allows you to constantly push the threshold of what you do.
In some ways, we’re slowly working ourselves out of a job, but getting paid nonetheless and enjoying the culture and vision we’re continuing to build.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Yes, we’re currently aiming to hire a mid-weight digital designer and project manager/partner relations person. We’re seeking to create opportunities for ambitious people from ethnic backgrounds and part of a couple of schemes to source the right kind of talent, however open to external applications. We have no time for recruiters, so any that come our way won't be given the time.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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