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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, Artemis Doupa shares what inspired her to write her new book, Design & Grow, and how she helps her readers.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed Artemis Doupa about her life and career, what inspired her to write her new book, Design & Grow, and how she hopes to inspire and help her readers.
Can you tell me a bit about who you are?
I grew up in Greece and received my early education in Switzerland. From a young age, I was very fortunate to be able to travel a lot. The experiences I had as a child formed and shaped my decision to complete a Master’s Degree in Architecture, which I did in London. Then I had a few professional experiences, working in different positions, before finding what gives me the ultimate satisfaction and fulfilment.
I am now CEO and Co-Founder of maake (formerly Fashion Formula) and its associated brands. Maake is one of the leading on-demand digital textile printers in the UK, and we work with many big-name brands, from small e-commerce and high-street shops to some of the world’s most established fashion design houses. I am also a best-selling author of the recently released book, Design & Grow.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
For me the initial spark to write a book wasn’t driven by a simple desire; it was significantly deeper. One day, I woke up with a powerful urge to share my thoughts. I had been collecting a wealth of ideas, experiences, case studies, and methods over the years and sharing them verbally with clients who seemed to be restrained. It reached a point where I felt overwhelmed holding onto them. This urge to externalise, arrange, and polish these thoughts was the driving force behind me starting my book.
When did you take a step to start writing?
I began the concrete writing process around the beginning of 2022. During the first six months, my main goal was to gather and organise my thoughts, to equip myself with all the information needed to effectively communicate my viewpoints. I kept a sharp eye out for anything that might stir my curiosity or inspire me, constantly assessing its potential to enrich the content of my book.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
Pinpointing the exact timeline of completing my first book from the initial idea to the release isn’t straightforward, because the idea had been brewing in my mind for quite some time. However, once I decided to invest a substantial amount of time and set a structured writing plan, I can confidently say that it took me about a year to complete the process.
What made you want to write Design & Grow?
I have been part of the design world all my life. The idea really formed when I started working in the digital fabric printing industry and had the opportunity to collaborate with talented designers, big and small names in fashion, everyday craftspeople, famous singers and the like.
I realised that the thousands of designers and talented individuals I worked with, who were full of visions and passion and in their element, were taking a leap of faith and following their dreams. However, I identified a common thread through the years that held them back, and that was their business savvy. I often gave them ad-hoc advice, but then one day I took a step back and considered what I really wanted from my career.
Many brand owners had what it took to become successful but seemed to struggle as their brands grew. As the business aspects began to dominate, their creative pursuits, schedules, and personal lives were all hugely affected. This often resulted in a very stressed business owner and a brand with great potential that was falling behind.
I had walked that path and I wanted to help other designers achieve their goals. I wanted to do this whilst pursuing a career that filled me with happiness and excitement every day, and this is how my book was born.
What were your biggest challenges with writing Design & Grow?
The primary obstacle I faced during the writing process was managing the word count. I initially aimed for a 30,000-word manuscript, but my draft significantly exceeded that, even after substantial reduction efforts. Trimming the content while retaining the original tone and narrative proved to be a formidable challenge. Once an idea took shape, altering it or condensing it while preserving its essence seemed like a tough task.
What was your research process for Design & Grow?
The foundation of my book was rooted in my business experiences and the challenges I observed creative entrepreneurs grappling with on a daily basis. Consequently, my research was primarily centred on these real-life experiences, struggles faced by clients, and the solutions that helped them surmount these hurdles. Moreover, I revisited works by some of my favourite entrepreneurial authors for inspiration and insights.
How did you plan the structure of Design & Grow?
To plan the structure of my book, I use a sticky note system in software my publisher provided me with. This encompassed the entire framework of my book on a comprehensive layout. I meticulously categorised my chapters, headings, themes, case studies, and even the quotes I intended to use. This was, arguably, the most crucial and challenging stage of the process, and where the creativity truly unfolded.
After this step, the writing part felt almost automatic, as I was simply filling in the details under the predetermined themes, chapters, or stories. This approach not only simplified the process but also ensured an organised and systematic progression.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Design & Grow need?
Indeed, I did receive valuable support in the editing phase. Upon reaching a stage where I considered my book to be complete, it was handed over to an assigned editor. Their task was to ensure the book’s readability, coherence, and appropriateness in terms of examples, genre, and phrasing, as well as to correct any grammatical and spelling errors.
As English isn’t my first language, this editorial process was incredibly beneficial and boosted my confidence significantly as I approached publication. While there were sections that required editing for clarity and grammar, these were minimal and only required a professional touch. Most of the book remained true to its original draft, with alterations only made to enhance the reader’s experience.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?
My first piece of advice to anyone who is inspired to write a book is this: it’s a gratifying journey and a significant accomplishment, but effective planning before you start writing is paramount. This initial phase of structuring your book might be the lengthiest and most crucial part of the process. Gaining a clear understanding of the content of each chapter and your objectives for each one will make a significant difference. Moreover, pay special attention to the introduction. Don’t begin writing in earnest until you’ve had a few individuals review it and provide feedback on the clarity of your subject. This serves as an authentic test of how well your readers will understand your book.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
Based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback I’ve received from readers across diverse professions who found value in my book, I am considering broadening my scope in my next work. While my previous book was targeted specifically towards creative entrepreneurs, the forthcoming one, if there is one, will aim to cater to a larger audience of entrepreneurs across various industries, thus moving away from the niche focus of my debut book.
And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
Without a doubt, I am incredibly proud of what I have accomplished. The remarkable response I’ve received has left me humbled. I firmly believe that any effort to help others is always worthwhile. First and foremost, the process of writing the book has facilitated my personal growth.
Delving into, analysing, and explicating concepts in a clear, methodical manner for the book has given me invaluable new perspectives, which alone makes all the effort worthwhile. Additionally, having the opportunity to share my insights, experiences, and narratives with a wider audience, and potentially aiding or inspiring even a single entrepreneur towards success, makes the endeavour absolutely worth it.
Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you.
Artemis Doupa is CEO & Founder at maake.com and maakeAcademy. A creative entrepreneur, bestselling author, profit guide and adventurous marketer based in London, Artemis specialises in one-to-one coaching of visionary fashion and interior designers who want to grow their business and have an impact in their market while still doing what they love. Her aim is to help creatives learn to balance the responsibilities of a thriving business whilst still making time for designing.
Design & Grow is all about how creative entrepreneurs can reach their business potential, grow profits and get their design time back at the same time.
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