Case Studies

Dundee studio has designs on further expansion

Wendy Maltman launched The Malting House Design Studio, a graphic design studio in Dundee, in 2003.

21st May 2019

In 2017 she moved into a purpose-built studio in Tay Street Lane. Here, she shares with us the story behind her business.

Q. How and why did you start in business?

I worked with several of Scotland’s leading design agencies before quitting full time work in 2002 to start a family. A couple of years before I had invested in an iMac and was able to respond to a friend’s request to produce a marketing brochure for his business. This was the start of my journey into business and since then The Malting House Design Studio has grown considerably specialising in branding, printed marketing materials, exhibitions and website development. My aim is to grow the business so that it will not only impact the local business community but be sought after throughout Scotland and beyond.

Q. How did you get to where you are today?

Hard work, lots of late nights and a desire to produce work of a high standard helped grow our reputation in the North East of Scotland. In the early days, the business grew through word of mouth referrals and led to some interesting work with eco-entrepreneur Tanya Ewing and her business Ewgeco, shortbread manufacturer Dean’s of Huntly, and Perth-based marketing company Volpa. I joined local networking and business support group Women Ahead where I became Chair in 2012-13 and also attended networking events in Perth and Dundee. I added Fairways Recruitment, The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum and Cambus O’May Creamery to my growing list of clients.

Q. Who has helped you along the way?

I have a very supportive network of female businesswomen that I have met through Women Ahead and the Association of Scottish Businesswomen. Meeting inspirational business women from all over Scotland has encouraged me to have a greater vision for my business and to keep taking steps towards my goals. The Elevator Creative Accelerator course helped bring focus and gave me access to mentors and Business Gateway advisors who could support my ambitions. I am now signed up to the Business Gateway Growth Programme and was given invaluable HR advice on what is required to become an employer. I have also signed up to the Digital Boost programme and will be looking at making improvements to our website and digital marketing.

Q. What was your biggest mistake?

Probably more of a regret but having accessed the support from Business Gateway very recently, I wish I had done it earlier in my business journey.

Q. What is your greatest achievement to date?

Two years ago I had the opportunity to be the lead exhibition designer for the development of a new railway museum in Northern Ireland. It is a piece of work that I am incredibly proud of and has led to other work in the heritage and cultural sector.

Q. What do you hope to achieve in the future?

My goal is to establish a supportive team of female designers and marketing professionals that are sought after for our creative talents.

Q. Do you want to recruit in the future?

We are a small team of four women; myself, Senior Designer Julie Barclay, Debbie Hutchison, our new Marketing Director, and talented design graduate Bryony Ogilvie. I’m passionate about supporting young women in the design sector and this summer we provided an internship for Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design 3rd year student Iona Sorbie.

Q. What is the hardest thing about running your own business?

I’m a bit of a perfectionist and want to make sure that every output from the studio is completed to the best of our abilities. I feel personally responsible for everything we do and I’d be absolutely gutted if we did anything that didn’t meet the high expectations of our clients.

Q. Any advice to wannabe entrepreneurs?

Being a designer I would always stress the importance of getting your branding and marketing materials right from the outset. Investing at this stage of your business will help you engage with your target audience and give you credibility. It’s also important that you speak to Business Gateway right at the beginning of your business journey.

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