Thinking of starting your own business?

If you are an entrepreneur or are thinking of starting your own business (creative or not) we hope that Wayne’s words will armour you with the inspiration, confidence and motivation to move forward and take that next brave step…


wayne hemmingway

Face for Business interviewed award winning fashion designer turned multi-disciplinary designer, Wayne Hemingway in 2014, but his words are still as relevant as ever.  Wayne was in our region at the end of June 2014, speaking at Creative Lancashire’s annual conference Business Innovation for Growth (BIG) 2014.  The year’s theme was Transformation: Mission & Ambition. The conference was Lancashire’s involvement with the inaugural International Festival of Business 2014.  Wayne has been on the board at Creative Lancashire for a number of years as ‘champion’ and is happy to be able to give something back to the region where he is from. 


Red or Dead

Wayne has had a long and varied career, starting out in the 80’s with his fashion label ‘Red or Dead’.  A decade later, Wayne and his wife, Geraldine, were winning awards for their street designed clothing. Feeling that they had given their all to the fashion industry, the partnership decided it was time for a new direction and sold Red or Dead to focus on their newly developed concept, Hemingway Design.

Hemingway Design

Hemingway Design is a multi-disciplinary award-winning agency that covers social housing design, sculpture, uniform design (clients include UK McDonalds staff and the London Underground), as well as developing concepts for creative start-ups such as ‘Start for Ten’ and ‘KioskiosK’.  (Amongst a number of other initiatives!). 

hemingway design

Creative Lancashire

Wayne is also a member on several creative boards, including Creative Lancashire, Design Council Trustee Board and the Design Council CABE Committee.  2014 saw the launch of more furniture ranges for Hemingway Design, as well as the progression with the design and vision for the ‘world’s first amusement park for thrilling historic rides’, named Dreamland.  All in all, Wayne has a wealth of knowledge, experience, vision and a myriad amount of start-up ventures and enterprises. Face for Business put several questions to him in our quest for information and advice to guide start-ups and entrepreneurs.    When asked about sharing information, Wayne himself said that…

wayne 7

Face for Business interviews Wayne Hemingway

What motivated you to leave fashion design and take the leap into housing and social housing regeneration schemes? 

“Gerardine and I had had enough and wanted a change, and felt we could stretch ourselves a little bit and had the chance to sell the business as well. We had been doing it since we were teenagers, and there was a chance to get reasonably wealthy and have a stab at something else.  Also, Red or Dead always had a conscience, it always had political messages, we always felt that design is about improving things that matter in life, and we could think of a lot more things that mattered in life more than fashion, so it was something we wanted to have a go at.”

What advice would you give to an entrepreneur who is thinking about taking a leap of faith into a new area of business?

“You have got to be brave, and you’ve also got to back yourself to have the knowledge to do it. But, you’ve also got to gain that knowledge– you’ve got to swot up and delve in deep.  The thing is, if you’re good at one thing, you normally can be good at something else, you’ve got to trust that.  You also have to have passion for what you do.”

What challenges do you think hinder creativity, and how have you overcome them?

“The biggest challenge is always to try and get your idea out to the public. You need a good team around you – in terms of good manufacturers, good sales people and good production people. The biggest challenge is probably not the idea itself, but actually getting it out there. It’s all about making sure that you have the right people around you.”

As a small creative business starting out, what advice would you give in relation to managing time, budgets and expectations of the first year?

“You’ve got to do what you can manage, there is no point in overstretching yourself.  You have to be generous with your time, do projects that don’t offer much return, and you often have to “give” a lot before it comes back to you, as that’s the very nature of the arts.”

And what do you think are the main factors a creative business should consider when setting out on their ingenious journey?

“You have got to love what you do, and not just do something because you believe there is a gap in the market, and that you might be able to have a go at it.  You have got to have passion and ensure that you understand the end user. Make sure you’re working within the finances and means that you’ve got – make sure you don’t overstretch yourself. Also, it’s really good if you have some people who can give you advice, whether its mentors, a wife, a husband, a friend , a mum or a dad  It’s good to have people to share the ideas, worries and excitement with – most creative businesses are one man/one woman bands’, and it helps to have someone there to lean on.”

Face for Business says…

We can offer you assistance during this phase, by helping you with your company image.  We can take your calls for you, giving your company a professional image as well as upholding any customer care objectives you may have in place.  Our outsourced service is flexible and will cost you 30% less than employing a full-time receptionist. 

Your project ‘Starter for Ten’ would be a useful catalyst within each town/region. To this end, do you think councils should provide more support in terms of creative hubs for small businesses? 

“Well, councils can always help, they’ve always got some property, they may not have money, but they can offer some form of manpower there must be someone who will have an interest in that sector. There are lots of empty properties, and with a bit of loose thinking and loosening of rules, councils can help get things done. Ultimately though, entrepreneurs have to do it on their own, but the job of a council could be to make sure that there are as few barriers in the way as possible.”

Face for Business says…

Use a telephone answering service as your receptionist – marrying the creative hubs in ‘starter for ten’ with an outsourced phone answering receptionist.

How did your collaboration with Creative Lancashire transpire? 

“It’s because Gerra and I are from Lancashire, and hopefully with my experience we can give a little bit back to the place that we are from.”

Face for Business has a passion for supporting other small businesses in the private sector, what are your views in terms of small businesses signposting information to other small businesses? 

“Sharing information is really important, and obvious we’re in an age were sharing information is a lot easier than it’s ever been before.  I’m a great believer in open source, and the more generous you are the more chance you’ve got of success anyway.  Generosity is a big plus in any business, large or small.”

Finally, we’re asking entrepreneurs what their ultimate top tip would be for others considering making the move into setting up their own business – what would yours be?

Just get good people around you to help you deliver it.  It’s all about your contacts and who you can go to for help with something.  It’s hard on your own.  The best thing you can be is a human being that gets on well with other human beings, you need friends, and people who like you, and want to help because they know you are a good person.

Face for Business says: 

Getting good people around you to help you deliver can mean outsourcing and using other small businesses to help you grow.  Whilst you’re busy meeting with clients, designing products or out on the road, Face for Business can act on your behalf and work with you to help you grow.  Let us take your calls saving you time and capturing you those new clients, giving you the peace of mind to progress with your work.  Answering calls can be a distraction you may not need, and we are here to help.


wayne portrait

In conclusion, Face for Business believe that you can start your own business if you put your mind to it. Use your contacts and resources, speak to people who have done it already, gain quotes, have meetings, research your product/service and really get to know what you want to offer.  Tap into organisations and networks that can help you get your feet off the ground.  If entrepreneurs and start-ups can take something away from Wayne’s wise words, it would be to ensure you have the right people around you and have a passion for what you want to do.

Wayne Hemingway started out with a single market stall in Blackburn in the 80’s – look at where he is now.

Face for Business would like to thank Wayne Hemingway for his time in talking to us and providing insightful and inspiring comments for entrepreneurs and people considering starting up a business.

If you would like more information about how our phone answering service can help your business, please visit our website or call us on 0333 323 1007 for an informal chat.  We look forward to hearing about your venture!

Questions and Face for Business Comments: Sara Parker, Marketing Officer, Face for Business.
Responses: 100% Wayne Hemingway
July 2014.
[Updated 6th July 2017]
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