Beccy Owen

Creative Director, Middlesbrough

Sector: Graphic Design

As well as working as a creative director full time, Beccy Owen runs a not-for-profit organisation aimed at female creatives in Middlesbrough.

Where do you call home?

I’ve always lived in the northeast; it’s where my parents decided to settle and bring up a family and they’ve never left. They still live in the house that me and my sister grew up in. 

After doing my GCSEs I lived in Leeds for three years when I went to university to study graphic design, but my ‘home bird’ instincts brought me back to Teesside.

I now live in Redcar with my partner, Stephen, and my sister is round the corner in Yarm.

Tell us about your role? 

My full-time role is creative director at The Creative Alchemist and I’ve been doing this for the last six years. Our work helps businesses and organisations achieve their potential through great branding and communications. I really love my job as it allows me to flex my creative muscles and design fresh work from scratch every week.

Before I landed this job, I worked my way up from junior graphic designer to lead designer & studio manager at Cynergy, in Stokesley, over the course of nearly nine years. Working here was a fab introduction to the world of graphic design and branding and I got to work with some great clients such as the NHS, Health Foundation and Cleveland Fire Brigade.

Last year I was really chuffed to be asked to be a Visiting Fellow at The Northern School of Art too, something I’m really proud of.

I’m also the founder of Ladies, Wine & Design Boro – a not-for-profit initiative aimed at specifically inspiring female creatives working in and around Middlesbrough. It’s a bit like POW but with a focus on the creative sector. We host events with inspirational speakers from the region as well as women originally from the northeast who have gone on to achieve great things. They’re informal, creative events that are a hybrid between socialising and networking. It’s a lot of fun!

How did you get to where you are today?

I guess perseverance really. I knew I always wanted to be a Creative Director one day, so I worked my way towards that. I think it helps to have a goal, because then you can work backwards from that and figure out how to make it a reality.

Hard work has come into it too as well as a hunger to progress. It’s important to never stand still and invest time into learning new skills to help with this.  

I also think being open about what you want with a prospective new employer helps make sure you get a position that fits in with where you want to be.

To help me get my foot in the door in the design industry, and land that first job, I went in search of work experience opportunities straight after finishing my university degree. I think this showed prospective employers that I was serious about getting into design.

What struggles or obstacles did you face along the way?

I think when I was really young, self-belief was a major obstacle for me. I struggled a bit with my confidence, but as they say, practice makes perfect as I got more and more experienced at work I flourished into a competent designer. I turned into someone who was up for a challenge and didn’t shy away from challenging projects and briefs.

‘Imposter syndrome’ definitely sneaks in from time to time, but it’s perfectly natural. We all have moments when we wonder if we’re good enough, but the trick is to just carry on and show those doubts who’s boss.

Describe the moment you first got a feel for success?

I think I’ve always had a hunger to succeed and do well – I have my parents to thank for that. They always wanted me and my sister to do well and were advocates of hard work and graft growing up. You just have to remember to play hard too though!

I’ve also only ever worked for small, independent creative agencies. This means you’re in constant contact with the CEO of that company so their enthusiasm, ambition and drive easily rubs off onto you. Not many people can say that they get to chat to their CEO every single day at their job, but luckily for me, it’s been like for the entirety of my career.

Do you have any advice for aspiring young females?

Just stick at it because if you really want it, you’ll get there one day.

What advice would you give to your younger self? 

I would say just go for it. What’s the worst that could happen? We learn just as much from the things that don’t work out as the ones that do so it’s important to remember that everyone need to face ‘failures’, ‘mistakes’ and ‘problems’.

What three words inspire you and encourage a positive path? 

In the words of Nike, just do it.

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