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A new service today for the breakthrough businesses of tomorrow

A new service today for the breakthrough businesses of tomorrow…

Until now, big ideas for new businesses have been stifled by a lack of access to big design agency thinking. Entrepreneurs have had to chose between two extremes: either they beg, steal and borrow to afford a large agency; or they make do with a cheap solo freelancer. Ultimately it’s been a choice between high price or low quality. Neither of which help breakthroughs to flourish.

The UK-based design and innovation practice Guild of Sage & Smith saw this as a noose around the neck of exciting start-ups, and a contributor to the unfortunate statistic that one in three new enterprises fail within the first three years. So they’ve been busy over the last 12 months working on a solution: taking all the branding exercises that have proven essential for successful start-up ventures, and squeezing them down into a simple, quick and affordable package. They’ve called it The Guild Distilled, and it launches this week.

Neil Tinson, Creative Director of Guild of Sage & Smith and personally involved in all Guild Distilled projects, explains: “The last few years have seen a huge explosion of people who aren’t just consumers, but producers and sellers themselves. ‘Supply and demand’ is now one big melting pot. Off the back of huge advances in technology and funding, it’s easier than ever to have a great business idea and bring it to life. In fact, a lot of today’s most successful brands still act like nimble start-ups. What’s needed is affordable, effective design support that has adapted to keep up.”

The whole Guild Distilled process comprises three steps – thinking, doing and making – and can be completed in just a few weeks. Working alongside Tinson on Guild Distilled projects are five other specialists, bringing diverse expertise in strategy, design, psychology, copywriting and technology around the same table.

“Any savvy entrepreneur knows a great brand relies on much more than just a logo and a pretty colour palette. Customers connect with businesses in a number of ways, not just the visual. By bundling together a range of experts into one package, we think about how a new venture can use all the senses to rise above the clutter and win customers” Tinson adds.

In 2013 Guild of Sage & Smith trialled the initiative through a pilot project, to fine tune the package. Working with furniture maker Henry Swanzy, The Guild Distilled helped Swanzy launch a luxury furniture business into a fiercely competitive global market. Within just three months of the Henry Swanzy brand launching, national retailer Heal’s snapped up the rights to exclusively sell three of Swanzy’s five pieces, whilst Swanzy himself has already moved to bigger premises, taken on new staff, and exhibited alongside long-established, international furniture brands. On the back of this success, The Guild Distilled decided to go public.

Interested entrepreneurs can find out more and get started immediately at

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