Meet Our Tribe: Grace Abell

At Tribe, we often get asked about our members: who they are, what they do, and how their skills can help you grow your business. So, in this blog series, we’ll be interviewing our Premium Members so you can learn a little more about them and what they offer.

First up, Grace Abell from Abell Design.

Tell us a little about your business.

I've been a designer for seven years. Since 2015, I've worked independently. While the nature of my trade is to be able to turn my hand to any area of design, the majority of my work is in branding and marketing for medium-sized businesses. As companies need to be seen online as well as in print, branding is more than just a logo. I offer brand strategy to ensure that the company's branding is working hard and having a tangible effect on how an organisation is perceived. Branding should always be bolstering the bottom line.

What were you doing before you started your business?
Prior to going freelance, I worked for Singletrack, the UK's only independent mountain biking magazine and website. I headed up the digital publishing side of the business, when iPads and Kindles were novelties. It was as fun as it sounded. On Wednesday afternoons, we left our desks and rode bikes. Drink Beer at Your Desk Friday was a great way to end the week. You could say it was a relaxed approach to work. It demonstrated how it was possible to run a successful business without chaining staff to their desks.

What does a typical business day look like?
I tend to arrive at Tribe for 10am, warm up the coffee machine and start work. My job is incredibly varied. But whatever I'm working on, initial sketches are a non-negotiable for quality design. So I invest a lot of time with my pen on paper before taking it to the screen. At lunchtime, I usually either go to a pilates class or run around the city centre. Once I'm changed out of my lycra, I'll resume work and wrap up at 5pm.

What is your favourite thing about running your own business?
I love the freedom of being self-employed. I can do anything I like with my time. So I'm not a designer 100% of the time. Sometimes, I will give a lecture at the university, or I'll write a column for a magazine. Or I'll go out for a coffee with another entrepreneur. Studying is really important to me, so I'll make time for that. None of the above is guaranteed in traditional employment, but it all helps me learn and grow into a better designer.

What’s the biggest challenge?
Having confidence in my abilities. I'm always worrying about what other people think of my work. It prevents me from approaching the brands I want to work with. I need to strike a balance between a healthy dose of self-criticism and a fair amount of bravado.

What made you decide to join our Tribe?
I had already tried most of the hotdesking places in York and wasn't satisfied with my experience. But when I met Andy at Tribe, he was so relaxed and happy to answer questions. I knew that I had found my people.

Do you have any advice for individuals who may be thinking of starting their own business?
Running a business isn't as close to rocket science as some people would have you believe. Approach your business through the eyes of a potential customer. Don't worry if you get something wrong, nobody will remember. Just fix it and move on.


Find out more about Grace and view her portfolio on the Abell Design website: