HC: Hi Mirela! What drove you to create your business?
M: After starting my career as a lecturer and fashion journalist in Brazil, I began to consult for fashion companies, creating marketing strategies and doing workshops to sales teams and entrepreneurs. I realised that the whole process of developing a brand identity and a positioning statement was a challenge for most of them. So, I went on to research a more meaningful approach to branding and found the concept of archetypes applied to business. As it tackles the emotions that a brand awakes in consumers’ minds, it allows to develop meaningful and engaging companies, that understand how to differentiate themselves in an overcrowded market.
I began applying it in 2011 with my Brazilian clients and when I moved here, in 2014, it became the subject of my MA dissertation, where I applied the theory in case studies of British brands (Burberry, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Paul Smith). After the course, it was clear to me there was a market gap to develop the concept of archetypal branding tailored to the specificities of fashion and beauty industries.
HC: What is Project M London?
M: Project M London is an emotional branding consultancy aimed at startups and middle-size businesses, tailored to find the motivation behind the brand, create its meaning and develop a mindset.
I work with clients to not only help them understand who they are as a brand but also to build a positioning, marketing & communication strategy.
The services also include workshops, training and mentoring sessions.
HC: Why this name? What does it mean to you?
M: Project because my moving to London was a project that I nurtured for many years. I had this dream of getting my Master’s degree at London College of Fashion and starting over in this city that I fell in love with. M because of my name (Mirela) and also because the 3 key words that I use as the foundation of the brand development: Motivation, Meaning and Mindset.
HC: What was your first step to build Project M?
M: Since I didn’t have work experience in the UK, I needed to build my portfolio so I got in touch with some of my friends from the MA course who were starting their brands and offer my services. It was a great experience to follow them through the first stages of a startup, to get feedback and to gain confidence. When you listen how your work made a real difference and helped them understand the core purpose of the business it’s really rewarding!
HC: Give your 3 biggest tips to a freelancer starting out in business?
M: The first one is to dedicate a large amount of time to research the market and think how you can bring new ideas and differentiate yourself.
Talk to as many people in your industry as you can and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback, which leads to the second tip: network. Attend talks and events, collaborate with peers and make an effort to put your name out there. Having a wide range of contacts is really important to find opportunities to grow your business.
Finally, believe in yourself, because if you don’t nobody else will. Don’t be shy about pitching your ideas and what you do. At the end of the day, clients don’t buy your product, they buy your values and beliefs!
HC: What is your next step?
M: Right now, I’m focused on creating workshops to help entrepreneurs in the early stages of brand building and I’d love to do it not only in London but in some other places in Europe and even in the US!