MA Fashion Journalism students Ke Zhang, Shuoshuo Xu and Xiang Li have won the Global Award at the Creative Enterprise Awards 2019. The students worked in collaboration with the Student Enterprise Team, known as SET. The team supports students and alumni interested in enterprise and entrepreneurship. The MA students developed a business plan for Archipelago, a communication agency aiming to help British small and medium fashion brands to enter the Chinese market successfully.
We caught up with Ke, Shuoshuo and Xiang and asked them about the future of their project and their time at LCF.
Congratulations on winning the Social Enterprise Prize! You created Archipelago Studio, can you tell us more about the project?
‘Archipelago’ is a group of islands, and small and medium brands (SME) are like many islands and we hope we can bring them together to settle down onto China, the mainland. Archipelago Studio is a PR communication agency dedicated to helping SME British fashion brands enter China.
We had the idea for this communication agency when we saw established brands’ campaigns in China that demonstrated a lack of knowledge of Chinese culture and market.
We know young Chinese customers are looking for originality and individuality rather than luxury brands. SME brands required more help to enter a new unknown market and we have the skills and resources to help.
You have worked in collaboration with SET, the Student Enterprise Team, how was this experience?
SET was very helpful! It was an unforgettable experience and we are grateful for the help we received from SET. We learned so much about business creation and management. We never thought we could turn a university project into reality and get our Start-up Visa and win the Global Creative Award.
How has SET helped you in your project?
We had two tutors who helped us with our project. They helped us develop our business plan and they were very patient with us, offering advice and guidance. The tutors really encouraged us to think our idea further and from a simple e-commerce platform for western fashion brands, we created a communication agency.
What are you plans with Archipelago Studio for the next few years?
We hope to build a good reputation and be known by British SME fashion brands and the Chinese market. We hope that someday we will be the first choice of agency for brands in the U.K, thinking further than fashion but all creative industries.
What have you learned the most during your time at LCF?
We learned the importance of market research, which was key in our project. Research is the solid foundation of every business idea. In LCF, we had the chance to have so many useful workshops, such as InDesign and binding so that was a great way to learn how to make a magazine or a website! Those skills are very useful and it helped broaden our horizons. We also learned a lot about cooperation and team work. It’s a great way to learn from people with different skills and exchange.
What advice would you give new students?
Make the most of your time here. Go out and meet people from other courses, network, go to guest speaker events and competitions. Put everything you have in each project, because you’ll never know where you’ll find your passion! And finally, stay true to yourself and express your inner self in your work.