What does it take to launch a successful creative content business?

Emily Chow
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Article by: Gaynor Orvis

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Emily Chow is a first-class BA (Hons) Digital Film Production graduate who graduated in 2021. 

Emily Chow Digital Film Production graduate

She has recently moved into Ravensbourne’s Incubation space inside the new Institute for Design and Creativity, in the Design District. From her new base, she has big plans to build her current photography business, Emztography, and has recently launched a second creative content business called That Social with fellow Ravensbourne course mate, Miles Capp.

We caught up with her to talk about her university experience and how she manages her time between two businesses.

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Can you tell us a little bit about what you've been doing since you graduated? Where are you working and what does your typical day look like? 

I am self-employed, and I have my own business – I’ve been growing my business for the last three years. I am a photographer and videographer and work with a mixture of business-to-business and consumer clients. 

I’ve also just launched a new business with my fellow course mate, Miles Capp. We worked together on several projects while at Ravensbourne, so we decided to go into business together. 

Our new business is called That Social, and we create social media content for businesses, in the form of photography and video.  

In terms of my day-to-day, every day looks very different. If I’m not on a shoot, I’m usually in my office in the Institute for Creativity and Technology, in the Design District.  

When I’m in the office, I could be editing a photo or planning a treatment for a project I’m working on. 

What initially appealed to you about Ravensbourne and your chosen degree? 

I liked that it was a really specialist university and that it was in London. I’m from London originally, and I didn’t really see the point of going away for university when the industry I wanted to work in was based right here. 

So the location was a big selling point and I liked that it was so industry focused. When I was looking around at other universities, there really wasn’t anything that was offering that industry focus straight from the start. Ravensbourne really stood out for that. 

What do you think you gained at Ravensbourne that you wouldn't have got studying somewhere else?  

I think it is about the people that I’ve been able to meet here and the opportunities I’ve had access to.  

The tutors here are incredibly supportive. I’m still in touch with some of my tutors today and they’ve helped me enormously to realise my own potential. 

I think everyone is really driven here. I don’t think it was a normal university experience, as everyone is very focused on building their career; even from day one. 

The lecturers were really encouraging when it came to finding work, too. A lot of the students were completing work placements while they were studying. 

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That Social Emily Chow and Miles Capp

Emily Chow and Miles Capp – two BA (Hons) Digital Film Production graduates and the founders of content agency, That Social.

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What are some of your highlights from your time at Ravensbourne, both personally and professionally? 

I think winning the Incubation Award was definitely a highlight for me. Incubation is a collective of businesses working within Ravensbourne’s new Institute for Creativity and Technology. It provides commercial support to graduates and businesses in the form of accelerator programmes, business mentoring as well as lots of opportunities for commercial partnerships. It has been amazing for me to have my own space within the Design District. 

In my final year, having the opportunity to pitch for a commission with Amazon and the children’s charity, Barnardo’s, was a really significant moment too. 

For this project, I worked with Miles, my now business partner, and that’s when we realised how well we gelled as a team. 

The last part of my university experience was all done on Zoom because of the pandemic, so obviously, that was a massive change. I think everyone on my course tried to make the most of it though, despite it being a very difficult time. 

How do you think Ravensbourne has helped you achieve your professional goals?  

I would have to say a special thanks to Sunita Bhuwanee, the Business Support Manger at Incubation. She helped me so much to get set up here in the Institute.  

My lecturers were also really encouraging, they always pushed me to follow my dreams. The course provided a really important support network. 

I think coming from a secondary school that was really focused on grades, it was really refreshing to realise that at Ravensbourne, this wasn’t the primary focus. The primary focus was all about getting you out into the creative world and pushing you to realise your own potential. 

What was student life like in general? 

During the third year, most of my university experience was on Zoom. Obviously, that was really hard, but everyone on the course really rallied together at this time. 

I think Ravensbourne students in general are so switched on. University experience is less about partying for three years and more about working towards your future career.  

It was such a great time, and I met some really incredible people. I think because it's quite a small institution too, it feels really tight knit. 

The way that the building is laid out helps with making connections because you keep passing the same people on the stairs or in the café. There is very much a culture of just going up to people and saying hi. 

Everyone within my course, and in the university, tries to champion each other too - that’s something that I really like. 

What were your favourite classes within the course? 

It was definitely the corporate specialism module with Mark Londsdale, one of the lecturers on the BA (Hons) Digital Film Production course at Ravensbourne. 

I think it was during this module that I realised that I didn’t want to go into the film world. It made me realise that I’d much prefer to work on campaigns and commercials and to work closely with brands. 

Mark was great at championing students that were particularly passionate about moving into the commercial space, as this was where his own experience was. We are still in touch now actually and he’s helped me secure quite a lot of work. 

There are so many areas that you can move into within film; from documentaries to music videos and from commercials to feature films. I think the way the course was structured, and the different specialisms helped you to hone in on what area you wanted to pursue. 

Finally, do you have any advice for prospective students? 

I think just get yourself out there and meet new people. Don’t be afraid to go up and talk to people, your lecturers included. A lot of them are working in industry, or if not, they will have previously worked in industry, so they really are a wealth of knowledge. 

There won’t be many times in your life when you get the opportunity to just create and to discover what it is that you want to do, so use the time wisely. 

Don’t wait till you graduate to start building your career. In my first year, I was already building my freelance business. 

Find out more about the BA (Hons) Digital Film Production course.