Hi, I'm Manish.

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From beginnings as a graphic designer to ops director and now a consultant.

How exactly does someone become an ops specialist in the creative field? After all, the words ‘creative’ and ‘operations’ don’t often mix. Here’s my story…

I struggled in school. Art was the only subject I was good at, and I was always happiest when drawing in my sketchbook. Around the same time, I became immersed in Hip Hop culture, and discovered a book called Subway Art by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant. It depicted the amazing graffiti art on subway trains that I would then replicate in my sketchbook.

Early on, I decided I wanted to become a Graphic Designer. I started a new Foundation Course covering design, typography, and printing at Berkshire College of Art and Design. However, before I could finish, I was offered a job at a local book design firm and started my career in the creative industry at the tender age of 17!

… I got sacked after three months. But, it was the kick up the backside I needed and I took my next role, at a local B2B advertising agency, far more seriously.

One of the founders had recently invested £16k in an Apple Mac. Despite this, his team preferred to stick to their magic markers. He was looking for a Junior Designer that was keen to make use of his investment, and I was more than happy to oblige and have a Mac all to myself!

As Macs became more popular in creative agencies, I was able to leverage my experience and find better-paying jobs in London. However, it soon dawned on me that, compared to my colleagues, I just wasn’t a very good graphic designer. And who wants to be mediocre at their job?! Instead, I had to find a different niche. This is something I still recommend to the agencies I work with today - find your niche and stick with it if you want to be successful!

In time, I discovered I was very good at managing creatives, which led to studio management roles. Over the years, I worked my way up and landed a role at what is now Design Bridge and Partners - one of the largest design agencies in the world. I rose to the ranks of Executive Operations Director before leaving to set up my open consultancy practice, which is what I do today.

So, although some may perceive me as more of a management consultant type, in reality I’m still a creative at heart. I’d like to think that I really understand the creative industry from both points of view. I’ve been there on the creative side from a young age, and design will always be a passion of mine. That’s not to say you can’t be a good ops consultant if you’ve never worked in a creative role - but I think it’s what makes me stand out from the rest.

I was always going to work in the creative industry in one way or another. The boy sketching in his bedroom may be a little surprised to see where I am now, but I truly love using my unique knowledge and understanding to help creative agencies on a daily basis.

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