We’re sure there are many of you out there who dream of starting your own business, whether you aspire to be your own boss, or be a trailblazer in your field, we know that making the jump can sometimes be the hardest part about realising our dreams. With this in mind, we wanted to introduce you to the women behind Buttercrumble. Not only are they one another’s cheerleader, but they are also big supporters of female collaboration and empowerment, who want to inspire strong women so that they too can run their own teams and partnerships.
Buttercrumble is a creative studio based in Leeds. The studio was formed by twin sisters, Abigail Baldwin and Chloe Baldwin, from Scarborough, North Yorkshire. Through their shared passion and life experiences, they combined forces to produce illustration and design with an ethos of making others smile.
The twins completed identical degrees in Graphics and Communication Design at The University of Leeds in 2016 before making the city their home. After organically growing the business, the sisters took the leap into full-time self-employment in January 2017 and haven’t looked back. Since then they’ve made a real difference in their local area and beyond.
They have had the pleasure of partnering with local businesses and organisations including Leeds Dock, The Royal Armouries, Myroo Skincare and The Little Bookshop. They have also collaborated with household names including John Lewis. Their mission is to empower more young-at-heart businesses to express themselves through exciting visuals.
As the only twin-founded creative studio in Yorkshire – and potentially the world, we wanted to find out more about these all-star twins. We’re sure that their message of collaboration and partnership is one that will resonate with our readers, and our interview with Abigail and Chloe realistically documents the highs and lows of running your own business, not to mention what it’s like working alongside a sibling!
NRTH LASS: What inspired you to create Buttercrumble?
Buttercrumble: As twins, we’ve always loved drawing together. It was our hobby and opportunity to express ourselves! As we grew older, we discovered the wonders of the World Wide Web which was a game-changer for us. We began sharing our designs on a creative social network. At first, we shared our work on individual accounts as a way to receive feedback. However, as we progressed and we began receiving small commissions, we decided two heads were better than one. There was no need to compete with each other when our styles were so similar. We teamed up to form Buttercrumble and we’ve been working under that name ever since. Our pastime has grown organically into a business and we couldn’t be more delighted.
NRTH LASS: Can you tell us more about what makes your business unique?
Buttercrumble: Our creative studio blends graphic design and illustration seamlessly to create friendly visuals for young-at-heart brands. When we first started in the industry, there were a lack of vacancies for graphic designers who specialise in illustration. For us, this was an opportunity. We could offer both and there was a demand for our unique illustrative style. Another novel fact is that we’re twins. We definitely try and use this chemistry we have together to our advantage.
NRTH LASS: What is the best part of working with your sister?
Buttercrumble: We think the closeness and longevity of our relationship has meant we weren’t afraid to give honest feedback to each other or speak our minds. This competitive, yet supportive bond means we’ve always been pushing each other to do the best we can. We believe our super-synced relationship has given us the confidence and focus to create. Although, we always love to work with others as they often bring a fresh perspective and an original energy.
NRTH LASS: What is your proudest achievement so far?
Buttercrumble: We knew from the beginning that turning our dream into a reality would be no easy feat. We were naïve (and still are to some extent) and the first in our family to seek an entrepreneurial career path. We had no one to turn to for business advice. Although, where we lacked in knowledge, we made up for in enthusiasm. In January 2017, we made the bold decision to leave our day jobs to focus on our business. Launching Buttercrumble has been a steep learning curve but there are no regrets! Sustaining the business as a full-time venture has to be our proudest achievement.
NRTH LASS: If you could pass on any advice to aspiring entrepreneurs what would it be?
Buttercrumble: Any business needs to have a vision and purpose which is driving it forward. If you’re an entrepreneur, ask yourself “why am I doing this?” The reason we nurture Buttercrumble is so we can introduce fun and happiness into everyday life for everybody. We do this through design. When we remember that we’re introducing positivity into our audience’s everyday lives, it drives us to continue creating.
NRTH LASS: What does it take to run a successful business?
Buttercrumble: Patience and determination. There’s no such thing as an overnight success. As an outsider, it can seem like the success of many businesses was almost instant because they already have it all under control. Yet, the journey to get there was challenging and gruelling. We collect rejections every week. However, for every “no thanks” received, we know we’re one step closer to a “yes please”. You have to be consistently persistent over time. We celebrate the successes and not the failures, so these hardships never receive publicity.
NRTH LASS: Name one peak and one pit of running your own business?
Buttercrumble: One peak of running a business is the fast pace at which you learn. Not many people start with a ready and raring team. You have to be your own team and wear many different hats, all at once. You embrace the responsibility and steer your own ship. There’s no bigger incentive to learn when your own livelihood is at risk.
Responsibility is a double-edged sword. It gives the opportunity to learn, but at the risk of overwhelming pressure. If your client has a negative experience, they’re going to hold you accountable. You can no longer pass the buck. The buck stops with you and you have to deal with the consequences. Nonetheless, failure is an important part of success and another occasion to gain valuable experience.
NRTH LASS: Do you think Buttercrumble has the platform to inspire and empower other women?
Buttercrumble: As two young women in business, we want to empower others to do the same. At school, no one ever told us “you can run your own business”, so for a long time we didn’t even consider it. We thought it wasn’t feasible! Now we know you can do it and there’s no reason why other women can’t follow their dreams either.
For those already in business, Buttercrumble empowers others through the use of design. After all, design is a serious form of self-expression! If you have professional visuals, you’ll have the confidence to communicate your message. There’s no need to feel embarrassed about appearance when you can make positive steps to change it.
NRTH LASS: Can you tell us about any upcoming projects?
Buttercrumble: Most projects we work on are confidential until completion which means our lips are sealed. However, we can reveal we’re working with a number of young-at-heart businesses on their new branding.
Over the next few years, we’re hoping to grow our team. Collaboration is key and we want to provide a supportive and supportive environment for our team and design partners to grow. However, a personal approach will always be fundamental. We’ll continue to cultivate relationships rooted in authenticity, trust and care.
NRTH LASS: Sum up Buttercumble in three words?
Buttercrumble: Happiness by design!
NRTH LASS: What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Buttercrumble: Good manners cost nothing and can get you far. It certainly opens more doors than ignorance does. If you smile and remember your Ps and Qs, you’re displaying respect which is contagious. Let’s spread the positive vibes!
Although originally from the seaside town of Scarborough, Abigail and Chloe are now based in the creative city of Leeds. They moved to Leeds in 2013 to attend university and have stayed ever since. After both graduating with identical degrees (in Graphic and Communication Design), they joined the workforce full-time. Luckily, they were already working part-time at different marketing agencies whilst studying, so the transition to “industry” wasn’t too challenging. Not only this, but they were building our client-base for Buttercrumble until it became a viable business.
On gaining a large animation project which would support them for a few months, they knew it was time. In January 2017, Abigail took the leap of faith and began working solely on Buttercrumble and it wasn’t long before Chloe joined her. It’s been full-steam ahead ever since. Since then, they’ve had the honour of partnering with the Royal Armouries, John Lewis and Myroo Skincare.
Their mission is to empower other young-at-heart businesses with the power of design. Through their illustrations, graphic design and branding they are gaining some very happy customers and spreading the positive vibes every day!
To find out more about Buttercrumble or to collaborate, you can find them here: