White Line Projects

Business Name: White Line Projects

Support received: Start Up Loan

Location: London

Website:  http://www.whitelineprojects.com/

With support from LSBC, Fiona McKay and Xenia Capacete launched their fashion business, White Line Projects.

White Line Projects is a curatorial and creative studio based in London, specialising in innovative, digital and multidisciplinary methods of curation and content creation.

They curate, design and produce a diverse range of outcomes from exhibitions to installations and digital experiences to websites for a wide range of clients in the fashion and cultural sectors.

Fiona and Xenia also provide consultancy on interpretation, narratives and display techniques within fashion exhibitions and installations, as well as lending their experience to archives on both the digitisation process and museum practices.

We spoke to them about how they have gone from fashion students to entrepreneurs.

Why did you start the business? What motivated you?

The traditional path for a fashion curator is to work within public institutions such as academia or museums. It was really a mixture of not having the desire to work within these institutions, as they are often quite restrictive, but also the current economic climate meaning a lack of secure full time positions. We saw more opportunities to work independently and freedom to work for all kinds of clients and on a variety of projects.

It was overall an organic process. We started working as a collective after studying an MA in Fashion Curation at London College of Fashion for about a year on various projects to build up our own portfolios. It was only after being commissioned to curate an exhibition in Beijing at the end of that first year, that we established ourselves as a curatorial studio.

Where did you get your business idea from?

The key reason why we started working together was a shared interest in utilising digital technologies within fashion curation, archives and communication. During our MA, there was a lack of knowledge research in the area and museums were only just starting to realise its full potential. It was clear to us that this would be something that would set us apart from the rest.

However, it was through the process of refining the business plan for LSBC that we came up with a sustainable business model.

What have been the advantages of running your business in your particular location?

Apart from living close to our studio in Dalston, East London is such a hotbed for creativity and potential collaborators, particularly in our building of studios. It is a cliché but it’s definitely one of the best places to run a creative business.

What are you key successes/milestones you reached so far?

This year has been really good for us. Our exhibition Mode In Flux at Roca London Gallery was really well received and seems to be opening up lots of doors for us. It was also pretty cool to have some good press come from it including the Evening Standard and Aesthetica Magazine.

We are also working with a producer at BBC Radio 4 on a radio documentary which will air next year. It will focus on the Pit Brow Lasses, women in 19th Century Wigan who re-appropriated mens’ workwear and trace the legacy within the 20th Century and also within contemporary fashion. The subject area has an ongoing project of ours for the last couple years and it’s just great to see it manifest into something.

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“This year has been really good for us. Our exhibition Mode In Flux at Roca London Gallery was really well received and seems to be opening up lots of doors for us. It was also pretty cool to have some good press come from it including the Evening Standard and Aesthetica Magazine.”

Have you faces and any specific problems/issues starting up/growing your business, and how did you overcome them?

Our field is still very new which can be good in terms of creating a niche for ourselves but difficult in terms of selling it to businesses as a valuable proposition. Having in place a good business model and a business plan is helping towards getting projects in on a more regular basis.

We learnt the hard way not to give too much away in terms of ideas and knowledge in a pitch for a new project without getting anything in return. It’s a tricky balance between showing your worth and potential but not selling yourself too short.

If you have accessed loan finance – what have you used the loan for?

A large portion of the loan is being used for the rebrand and development of our website. As a business with a focus on digital, we felt it was important to invest in this type of showcase for our work.

How useful/important is the business advice?

It was really critical for us in terms of developing a business model and refining the existing business plan. It has also helped in terms of getting focused and seeing the bigger picture. But more importantly, our mentor has been very supportive and motivational throughout our journey.

Just as crucial has been the advice on certain business technicalities such as taxes or VAT etc.

What are your future plans?

Once we make our business sustainable, we might look into different opportunities for further commercialisation for our area of expertise. We’d also love to have a physical space to showcase our work by opening a fashion gallery as well as publishing our research in the form of a periodic journal.

Once our business is sustainable, we hope to expand.  We can achieve this with a good marketing strategy in order to obtain projects and clients on a regular basis.

What is your advice to someone who would like to start their own business?

Running a business isn’t for everyone. Really question why you want to run your own business, and take into consideration the pros and cons. If you love what you do, you need to keep going, work hard and have lots of patience. It’s good to aim high but start with what’s right in front of you.

Lastly, try to find a business mentor from the start and learn about business as much as you can.

Images copyright White Line Projects

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