Q&A with Rachel Ducker founder of Apparition Marketing and Design LtdLast Updated: August 1, 2020
“Never hold back or worry what others think.” Rachel Ducker founder of Apparition Marketing and Design Ltd talks to AGENT about what inspired her to set up her own business and the challenges she has faced in her career to date.
After working for several large firms, Rachel Ducker decided to go out on her own to set up a creative design and marketing company. In 2009 she founded Apparition Marketing & Design Ltd at the age of 23 from her childhood bedroom in her parents house. After working hard for seven months on her business she was crowned East of England’s Young Business Woman of the Year.
Since then she has gone from strength to strength and has won several more prestigious awards and set up two further businesses including her lifestyle publication ‘Bounce Magazine’, and ‘The Suffolk Hamper’ with her partner Samuel Hunt. Rachel has taken time out of her schedule to talk to AGENT about what inspired her to set up her own business and the challenges she has faced in her career to date.
1. Briefly tell us how you first got into business, and describe your business goals.
I decided against going to university as I really wanted to start a career, I was hungry to learn something new, so I joined a local publishing company. Within five months I was managing the department at the age of 18 years old.
After spending time in several creative industries, I encountered some employers who were not entirely supportive of my skills.
At the age of 23 years old (and after a bad experience with my last male boss releasing me as I wouldn’t date him!) I decided if they could do it, so could I. So I did it!
From my childhood bedroom at my parents house I learnt how to build websites via a home learning course and after a few months my first business Apparition Marketing and Design Ltd was born. I put all of the profits into renting an office near by and after seven months I was awarded the title of “East of England Young Businesswoman of the Year”.
2. What age were you when you realised you wanted to run your own business?
From an early age I watched my parents run a successful business together, so I guess I always knew I wanted to aspire to this myself, however, sadly, it was the downfall of previous employers that really pushed me to drive myself forward and start my first business.
3. Who are your business icons and inspirations?
I was brought up with a very positive mindset. My dad used to play Wayne Dyer, Antony Robbins and Earl Nightingale tapes in the car. At a young age your mind is like a sponge and whether I knew it at the time or not I believe this had a huge effect on my mental wellbeing.
Later on in life I was privileged to be personally invited to an Anthony Robbins seminar and it was fantastic. He is definitely an icon!
My dad is my main inspiration, as he has always achieved his goals and taught me how to achieve mine. From the age of two years old he has also been my Martial Arts coach.
Last year I became the youngest female Master in my art in Europe, as well as winning numerous UK, European and World titles and performing at the Beckham’s World Cup Party. My childhood has been very different, you might even say strict, but I believe without the focus, determination and self-confidence Martial Arts has given me, I wouldn’t have been so successful within my businesses.
4. What has been your biggest challenge in business, and how did you surmount it?
My biggest challenge has always been starting my businesses. Especially as I was so young (and I am sad to say) sometimes being a woman didn’t help. It wasn’t always your business people wanted, I was always shocked when male clients would ask me out for dinner!
Along side running my business since 17 years old I have been a professional model, which is something I have always aspired to do. The hard task is balancing this with my businesses, so someone advised me to make myself more of a brand which has worked very well.
You have to create something that people will put their trust in, you have to compete with other businesses and you have to work hard. I always manifest in my head the things I want to happen and I visualise it happening. When I had days that didn’t feel as successful as others, I imagined the next day being better. That always got me through.
5. Work-Life balance: is it possible? How do you achieve it?
I love my work, so I guess it makes the life-work balance slightly easier for
me, I just have to make sure the lines don’t blur too much! My businesses are very creative so it is easy to get carried away. My best ideas come before I fall asleep at night, but if I get too excited I can’t switch off and I don’t sleep so I have to be careful.
6. What is the first thing you do every day?
I check my emails! I can’t wait to get up and on it and it saves me a job when I get to my desk.
7. What screen saver picture is currently on your phone?
A recent image of me and my partner from our engagement party. I now ha
ve to decide whether to keep my maiden name for business or to change it to my new family name?
8. What is the most important app on your mobile phone, and why?
As a lot of my business is social I would have to say Facebook. It has worked wonders for my profile and I even managed to pick up a regular client in New York!
9. What is the last thing you googled?
The last thing I googled was the food menu at The Northgate Hotel in Bury St Edmunds, a venue i’ve just had to review for my lifestyle publication Bounce Magazine.
10. What item do you never leave the house without, and why?
My iPhone, I have several businesses and ‘extra curricular’ activities such a
s business radio appearances to keep an eye on. So it is my communication system. My second item would of course be my lipstick!
11. What advice would you give to your younger self starting out in business?
Never hold back or worry what others think – I like the expression “A lion doesn’t concern itself with the opinions of sheep”. I have always been very sensitive as a person and I have had to learn how to have a thick skin in business to survive.
Image source: Rachel Ducker