2016 might have universally sucked for everyone. But there was one glimmer of hope: Shabi was formed from the pairing of Shannon and Abi. Here’s their story.
Way back in December 2015, we expanded the Crocstar team to include three interns. Shannon and Abi have stayed with us as content producers while the wonderful Anaaf completed her internship and is now working in marketing.
During the past year they’ve managed clients and written different types of creative content for some of the biggest brands we work with. For most of the content we produce, two heads are better than one for coming up with creative concepts and this is where Shabi comes in. Shabi is one half Abi and one half Shannon and this is is their Crocstar journey:
What were you doing before you got the call from Christine? How have your past experiences helped you?
I’d just left my full time job as a Visual Merchandiser at ZARA (I still miss that sweet, sweet discount) to study law at university. I had the idea that a degree would lead to a ‘better’ job, and chose law because it hit that rare sweet spot of combining commercial awareness with creative thinking.
It was harder than I thought to go from a fast-paced job where I had lots of responsibility, to staring at powerpoint presentations in lectures. An internship seemed like the perfect solution to keep me on track.
Apart from when I wanted to be editor of Vogue when I was 12, I didn’t have a ‘dream job’ in mind, but from my first day at Crocstar I knew I’d found it. Because of Crocstar, I’m now able to articulate what my strengths are. Before I would have said:
“Erm, I’m good at knowing how something should look. I think”
Now I know that creative direction is my bag. I’ve also developed a knack for editing I never knew I had.
The biggest revelation for me was that I actually learn better ‘on the job’. I left university and literally walked out of a part time retail job – the first rebellious thing I’ve ever done – to focus on Crocstar and it’s opened up my eyes to new ways of learning. I’m able to put into practise the marketing skills I learnt at ZARA everyday, as opposed to procrastinating in the uni library.
I’d recommend internships or apprenticeships to anyone thinking of making a career change – they’re amazing!
Before Crocstar I worked at ASDA. I’d worked there for six years, throughout college and university and I was so, so ready to leave. Unsurprisingly bagging bananas and re hanging clothes – for the millionth time – wasn’t that inspiring.
I responded to an intern role and started by doing a few hours a week at Crocstar. Although I instantly enjoyed working in the office, I was conscious that this was just an internship. But luckily for me Christine was kind enough to give me a contract (thanks Christine!) and the rest as they say, is history.
I think my experiences at college and university have prepared me for the frequent deadlines we face, as well as receiving feedback – a crucial part of our working process – from team members and clients alike.
Working for a huge company like ASDA taught me how to do as little work as possible without being caught. Kidding! Kinda. Being in a retail role developed my customer service skills which helped me become more confident, skills which I use often when talking to new and existing clients.
What’s changed in the last year?
Basically everything, in a completely fabulous way. Crocstar is growing, which means our roles have too. I’ve gone from creating social posts for two clients to working on campaigns, blog posts and website content for lots of different clients.
I think all of Team Crocstar can agree that Instagram is my ‘thing’. I love growing accounts by styling photos to reflect a brand’s personality, and finding the right hashtags to use. Shannon and I have also been able to develop relationships with bloggers and influencers.
Throughout the year, we’ve all formed a real friendship that I think brings a uniqueness to what we can offer clients, and enhances the work we produce. Although the mood can dip slightly when we run out of milk.
Most importantly, I know that Shannon and I feel valued by Christine and Lucie. We’ve led meetings, built our own relationships with clients and been allowed creative control over what we write. It’s definitely been a fulfilling and exciting year.
The biggest change is that Abi and me no longer have retail jobs! I think we both knew that it was time, and we’ve never looked back. I stopped working there in July, but it feels even longer. It’s hard to think back to how I worked there for so many years.
In just a year lots of things have changed at Crocstar. At first I focused on lots of bits and bobs: a blog post here, a few social posts there, all for different clients.
Now, although each day is different I have more of a routine. Instead of being told about tasks or what to start on first, I already know. Our daily stand ups – we literally stand up every morning for a few minutes and listen to what each of us have planned for that day – are really useful for things like this.
Around the same time I started at Crocstar we took on a new client East Midlands Trains. As it was new – and so were we – Christine and Lucie handled matters at first, while Abi and me learnt the ropes. But over the last few months we’ve worked on nearly every campaign (digital and print).
Describe a typical day at the office.
Our daily tasks can be different each day. One day I might be meeting with EMT to discuss their new campaign or photographing new products for GB Labels. The majority of my day is spent writing blog posts and social posts for our clients.
We add structure to our week with daily stand-ups, fortnightly retros (a look back at what went well, what we could improve and actions we need to take) and the all-important Trello board. This may sound super-nerdy, but I really do learn something new every day, whether I’m watching how Lucie keeps a meeting on track or how Christine handles a phone call.
Pair writing with Shannon has allowed us both to absorb each other’s strengths. I’m good at coming up with the initial concept and Shannon can execute my ideas brilliantly using her writing know-how. Talk about dream team. The most important part of the day is obviously lunch.
I’d like to take this opportunity to declare my love for Rosie from Portobello Derby, who keeps us in constant supply of brownies.
Copious amounts of tea.
After we’ve all got a mug we usually check the Trello board – a really easy way to see how we’re progressing day-to-day, and perfect for keeping our workload manageable and clear. Giving the Trello board a quick glance over in the morning helps us to identify what needs to be done, and when for (it lets you set due dates too.)
After this we tend to do our stand up at around 10am. If one of us has a hectic day, we delegate and take the load off. All for one and one for all, and all that jazz.
We rarely work without some form of music playing, this is usually Lucie’s responsibility. We’re pretty sure it’s in her job description. Recently Abi and me have been doing a lot of paired work, we find it easier with bigger projects to bounce creative ideas off of each other. This means desk hopping and stocking up on snacks – it’s hard work being creative all day you know.
#MondayMotivation in the form of sweet treats from @portobelloderby 😍 A photo posted by Team Crocstar (@teamcrocstar) on
What’s next for Shabi?
This year is already shaping up to be an important one. We’ve taken on new clients and a Business Analyst intern to keep us all in check. As Crocstar grows, Shabi’s skillset will grow. We’ve started proofreading training and photography training is next. Our goal is to be able to provide clients with a full spectrum of content such as videos and creative direction of photography, although words will always be our first love.
On a personal level, Shabi will continue to bond over a mutual love of all things ‘80s and ‘90s, weird books and ever weirder films. And ASOS.
World domination? Who knows…
We’re really looking forward to working at Crocstar full time. It’s creeping up each week with the increasing workload and over the Christmas period we were pretty much full time. We just can’t bear to be apart *sob*.
We’ve got a proofreading course on as we both want to get better at editing each other’s work. The team have also got a few new clients coming up (yay), so we’re looking forward to being involved with these from the beginning.
Watch this space.