Purposeful business looking to create social change by being on the money with branding

Miho Aishima is the founder of Aishima; the innovative brand and design studio that works closely with socially-focused enterprises and impact-first entrepreneurs. Miho believes an Entrepreneur ISA or Small Business Savings Allowance would help kick-start potential new businesses.

Start-ups need to learn how to get their message out there and how to engage people in order to create wider social impact with their brilliant business ideas.

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Tell us what Aishima is and what your business offers?

Aishima helps organisations to build brands for purpose and social change. We work with clients from the initial stages, devising strategy and concepts, through to the final design of the visual identity. Projects can range from a complete rebrand for a social enterprise that is scaling-up to reach more people to a branding workshop for a start-up accelerator programme.

What was it that inspired you to set-up your own business?

I started my own company so I could provide small businesses and start-ups with a social focus with a strategy and research-led approach to branding that you would normally only get with larger organisations and charities, but within a budget that would work for them.

There are many agencies servicing the big budget companies, but it is the start-ups and the smaller businesses that are in most need of advice. They need to know how to get their message out there and how to engage people in order to create wider social impact with their brilliant business ideas. If people don’t understand what they are trying to do, these start-ups can become restricted before their idea has been given a chance to take off.

Do you think an Entrepreneur ISA and a Small Business Savings Allowance would have helped aid your company’s growth in the early stages?

My business was entirely self-funded with personal savings. However, I think an Entrepreneur ISA or Small Business Savings Allowance could be helpful for others who have an idea and are hesitating to start-up because they feel they could never afford to get their ideas off the ground. 

What have been the biggest challenges you have faced so far?

The biggest challenges I have faced are possibly not what you would expect. At the start it was hard to find like-minded people I could chat with about work, in the way that you would at a big studio. Still, with a little initiative, you can make a change. I created a monthly meet-up called ‘Rye Here Rye Now’ with another designer friend and through this we have been able to meet many inspiring creatives from across London and beyond. Driving a new business can be a challenge when you are at your busiest with work. Being an entrepreneur and juggling many roles can be a challenge, so having a good support network really helps you to talk through some of those issues.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

When I started out, I would meet hugely inspiring individuals at networking events and listen to them speak about their ventures and about the impact that they were having. I would then go and check out their online presence, like their website or social media. The difference between their vision, mission and how they visualised and communicated it online shocked me a little. The fact that their online presence did not align with their intentions, made you question their attention to detail. Their ideas were great but they really just needed some help to align what they were aiming to achieve and to communicate it in a way people would understand within a short time span.

What is your proudest achievement to date as a company?

There is a moment after going through the entire branding process when I present to clients with the initial designs for the visual identity and I get to see their reactions. They are often quite amazed at how good their brand can look when it’s done properly. I am used to working with people from larger organisations and perhaps the emotional responses in those situations were not that obvious. When it is your own business or your team’s business I think there is a real sense of pride in seeing your brand come to life.

Miho Aishima is the founder of Aishima.

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