done & dusted design

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Dani McFerran is the founder of Done and Dusted Design. She believes in being honest and personal; creating a strong relationship with each client and following that through with solid design and marketing skills that best demonstrate how their business can truly prosper. "We have a saying in the studio - we don't pull punches. We may challenge you because we care as much as you do about your results. That's what real team work means and is guaranteed for success. When it feels like our own business, we care for the success as much as you do."

We chatted to Dani about relocating her business and advice that she can offer to people who are just starting their own business.

What made you decide to set up your business?

After working for many years in the design industry in the UK and in the USA, I wanted to start something new, something different in comparison to what was out there at the time. I had been working in a leading design studio for many years and loved the thrill of completing branding alongside some of the most talented designers in NI. I’d then departed for a design management job working between London and Belfast and after two years, I felt motivated to go out on my own. I wanted to really stay true to what I believed was the best way to work with clients - building a team that wasn’t just based in the same studio, or even in the same country.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve faced since setting up, and how did you overcome it?

I think initially it was time management to get everything working smoothly - working with global clients means working 24/7 depending on timezones and deadlines. After getting into a good rhythm and building good relationships with our clients, I was able to plan better and schedule meeting times that suited the whole team. As I took on more people, it was easier to delegate 1:1’s with clients to a member of the team who was in that time zone and have them report back to everyone. It gave each member a sense of really being a part of the whole turn around of the job at hand.

What are you most proud of so far in your career, any highlights you’d like to share?

I think opening the office in Manhattan, NYC. That was such an amazing journey. To be able to do that and make it successful, it was truly life changing. I was living in Hoboken, New Jersey with 3 girls who were also high flyers in their companies and we really bounced off each other so well - learning from each other and sharing our experiences of being female in the corporate world. My daily commute by train to the previous site of the World Trade Centre (twin towers) was daunting, at first. I got out on the street and made my way to Fulton Centre where I had taken office space. The view was spectacular. The office building itself was featured in the classic 80’s film Wall Street -  Michael Douglas’ office was the very floor I was working from and that view… well, every day I felt truly grateful for the entire experience.

How have you found dealing with a new regime and having to separate work-life/home-life, do you have any tips or advice you’d like to share?

Plan, plan and plan some more. This has been the best decision for my health, happiness and life balance. I would happily encourage anyone thinking of going out on their own to really just go for it - you won’t look back. You move in different circles and what is really surprising is that the more people you engage with, the more help you receive. Other entrepreneurs know how tough it can be and people genuinely want to reach out and help. For me, it’s meant more time for travel and seeing my family and friends all over the globe. It’s helped with my celiac and lactose intolerance in that previously, I was in a very stressful job and it played havoc with my energy levels. Thankfully I don’t have that at all now.

Do you have any advice for those who are just starting up their new business?

Check your IPO! When I was in Manhattan, another team who were in an adjoining office were about to launch their business online. They had paid a small fortune for their logo, uniforms, website, signage, you name it. At the very last minute, a day before they were scheduled to go live, a colleague in a neighbouring office noticed their brand. He pointed out there was a very big company with the same name and using a similar brand colour who had been operating for many years but in a totally different industry. They hadn’t trademarked their name, or even searched the Intellectual Property Office - which is free to do online - so they had to change absolutely everything they had done to date. The money they spent on that change was a lot, but nothing compared to legal costs they would have incurred being sued…

You've relocated with your business a few times to cities including Manhattan, Dubai and Copenhagen. How did this affect your business/clientele?

I have thoroughly enjoyed the relocations - you meet so many different type of people, different ways of working, different aspects and influences on your designs and the design process, it’s been incredible. As you learn, you are able to advise clients with a greater understanding of how the world really works - how to get in front of the right people at the right time and place, how to sell globally, how to set up distribution networks and how to write best-selling ebooks - every day is so different at Done and Dusted.