Sarah Carlton

Graphic Designer, Bishop Auckland

Sector: Graphic Design

Sarah Carlton decided to start her own graphic design business early on in her career. Today she juggles running the business with family life and is “driven by the joy” design brings her. 

Where do you call home? 

A small village near Bishop Auckland. 

Tell us about your role?  

I am the founder of Kinship, a family-run graphic design studio. 

How did you get to where you are today? 

I studied a foundation degree at Cleveland College of Art and Design, followed by a graphic design degree at Teesside University. Straight out of university, I was lucky enough to get a job at a local printers in their design studio. I’d always had the dream to work for myself so after a couple of years, and while I had no major responsibilities such as a mortgage, I made the leap to self-employment.  

What struggles or obstacles did you face along the way? 

When I set up the business almost nine years ago, I was young and naïve which, in hindsight, was a good thing because the business was built on enthusiasm and great connections. Now with a young family, there is that well-known juggle of parenting and work. I’m not sure anyone has the perfect balance, but I’m trying to be the best I can be at both. 

Describe the moment you first got a feel for success? 

Success to me isn’t financial – I am driven by the joy design brings me. To see a brand out in the wild, or a magazine I designed on shelves, is such a great feeling. Obvious now, but once I realised that happy clients pretty much always return, I started to relax into the business and trust that if I do a good job, this passion of mine can be a great career too. 

Do you have any advice to aspiring young females? 

Don’t be intimidated by those around you. Make friends in your industry. And don’t be too hard on yourself if things take time.  

What advice would you give to your younger self?  

Don’t let the b*****ds grind you down. Just be a nice human, do your best for your clients and it will all work out.  

What three words inspire you and encourage a positive path?  

Gan on lass. 

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