Change

Sam Gray, creative director of a multi award-winning luxury skincare company in London and friend of The Table, discusses change: how to embrace it, and take advantage of the opportunities it presents...

If there are two things that demonstrate the power of people and the village it takes to affect change through collaboration, then it’s the UK voting to leave the EU, and Donald Trump being elected to become the 45th president of the United States of America. On a global stage (midway through the decade I like to call the ‘selfies’), 2016 has taught us that anything is possible.

But is change bad, or is it just different?

I believe it’s different; change is change. Whether conscious, subconscious, circumstantial or out of your control, change is inevitable, and in my experience happens with good reason.

I’m the creative director of ARgENTUM apothecary, an international luxury skincare company based in London. But I started in 1999 as a freelance graphic designer, working in the local supermarket coffee shop on a Sunday to make ends meet. In 2010, the design studio I co-founded ran into trouble. We’d invested, expanded, and stretched beyond our means.

Something had to change.

We went from a studio of four to a studio of one, me. I was on my own again, but this time I felt sure that I wanted to do things differently. So I went back to art college and spent a year researching and interviewing to understand the importance of storytelling in branding. And decided that I wanted to create things that mattered. With people - lots and lots of people.

And so it began…

Change became opportunity, design became creation - and that creation became collaborative. My passion for words and the writers who write them grew stronger and stronger, and for the first time the world seemed so much more connected: by people, creative people, people with stories so different to my own. And they inspired me. They challenged me. We challenged each other. We created projects from nothing on a piece of paper in a Bodmin café, designed books that won awards, invited people to embrace the 26 Days of Christmas whilst raising money for Teenage Cancer Trust, and achieved a patent for a skin cream that contains Silver Hydrosol & DNA HP (yes, DNA HP is the helix extracted from salmon milt).

All too often (and I say this with a splash of hindsight and a little experience) it’s not the actual change that matters. It’s how you embrace it.

Author, actress, screenwriter, dancer and poet Maya Angelou once said ‘when you know better, you do better’. I’d like to adapt that a little to say when you think better, you do better. We all do better.

Give it a try. Think better, and then share it with someone. See where it takes you.

I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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