Charley Cramer and Davide Russo, met while studying Creative Advertising BA (Hons) at London College of Communication. Here, Charley tells us how a chance phone call from a stressed-out parent gave them the idea for Glow Away, a two piece set designed to help kids get rid of their fear of the dark, which they have just launched on Kickstarter…
Why did you chose to study BA Creative Advertising at London College of Communication?
I have always been interested in the creative industries, as well as the more academic discipline of psychology. I wanted to study something that encompassed both of these, and I felt the BA at LCC could offer me that.
How did the course prepare you for the world of work?
The course at LCC ultimately taught us how to solve problems using creativity. It also highlighted the importance of working in a creative environment, and the values of being surrounded by like-minded people. I loved that when I was studying at LCC I could go to lazer cutting and screen printing workshops one day, and speak with an interior architect student the next.
During the course we were encouraged to enter advertising competitions. Davide and I entered one of our projects in to the One Show, (a US non-profit organization devoted to elevating creative work in the industry) which we subsequently won. The BA Creative Advertising at the LCC was the only course outside the US to win any awards that year and continues to have a great relationship with the organisation.
What are you doing now?
I am working for Protein, a creative agency. I am also launching a new business,Glow Away, with my fellow classmate Davide Russo.
Tell us about Glow Away
Davide and I worked together a lot when we were studying at the LCC, and have remained great friends since. We were always emailing each other about ideas we had, not doing anything about it, and then seeing the ideas being launched by other people six months later. We made a pact that we would launch the next idea we had.
We came up with the idea for Glow Away as the result of a phone call from Davide’s sister. Her child was having trouble sleeping because he was afraid of the dark, but it wasn’t until we realized the extent of the problem that we decided to take action. Fear of the dark is something we can all relate to, either because we were ourselves terrified at night or because our children or siblings were. In fact, for 50% of all 2-7 year olds, and their parents, sleepless nights are a regular event thanks to children’s incredible imaginations. Glow Away is here to change that. We use the power of children’s imaginations to actually help them overcome their fear.
Based on child psychology theories and developed under advice from psychologists and paediatricians, Glow Aways consists of a bedtime story book and a glow-in-the-dark duvet cover. The bedtime story book is about a boy, called Sam, who is scared of the dark. One night a cute little creature pops out of his duvet and tells him a magic spell that will ignite the protecting power of his duvet. Glow Away comes with a duvet cover that looks the same as the one that Sam has in the book. Once you turn off the lights the duvet glows with the magic spell making your child feel protected by magic all night long!
How did you get Glow Away off the ground?
We applied for funding fromVirgin Startup. This was successful, and so we were assigned a business advisor who helped us challenge some of the assumptions we had made in the business plan. After receiving funding we were then matched to another mentor, based on our needs, and their skills. We are currently selling solely through our e-commerce website, but are in the process of negotiating with independent retailers, and then eventually we hope to sell through the larger retailers.
What problems have you faced in setting up the business, and how have you overcome them?
I have never truly appreciated the phrase “People generally overestimate the short term and underestimate the long term” until we started the business. I expected to sell quite a lot quite quickly, but this hasn’t been the case, it is a much slower process than I expected which has been quite humbling.
It has been suggested that millennial parents, our target market, need about 22-24 impressions before they commit to buy a product. This requires significant investment in PR, advertising, as well as time. It is also difficult balancing the full time job with launching the business. I dedicate an hour a day to Glow Away, alternating between morning and evening. I also have a call at 9pm every night with Davide, which helps me stay on track, and not get too carried away with the agency work.
Have you found the contacts you made during the course useful when launching the business?
I am still good friends with a number of my old course mates. We enlisted a number of them to help with the project launch, including the photographer Jevgeni Repponen and Eric Freitas who helped us set up a PR plan. We are also going back to the LCC and setting Glow Away as a live brief for this year’s BA in Creative Advertising strategy cohort – the students will be asked to design an advertising campaign for the project. The winning student will be rewarded with an internship at Protein (the agency I am currently working for).
What is your vision for Glowaway’s future?
We are now at a point where we have a beautiful product that works and people want to buy. However, we need substantial capital in order to go into mass production and really get Glow Away into the hearts and minds of our target audience. For this reason we are launching a Kickstarter campaign in order to raise enough money to enable us to raise awareness of Glow Away and solve the problem of fear of the dark once and for all. We would really appreciate if you could go on our Kickstarter page today and back us. There are a choice of rewards for different levels of backing so we hope that there’s something you’ll like in there.
Find out more about Creative Advertising BA (Hons) at the London College of Communication