Hull's StrawberryToo continues to combat 'brain drain' to other northern cities

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 23 May 2017

A Hull creative agency is challenging the misconception people have to travel away from the city to pursue a successful design and marketing career.

StrawberryToo in The Maltings launched in 2014, and is staffed entirely by apprentices and graduates.

As the sister agency of Strawberry, which is based at the C4DI in Hull's Fruit Market, one of StrawberryToo's key aims is to combat the 'brain drain' to larger cities like Manchester and London.

Creative director Jade Woodfield said: "It's an exciting time to embark on a creative career in Hull, with the City of Culture year really putting Hull in the spotlight.

"For the past three years we've been encouraging home-grown, creative talent to choose Hull at the place to pursue their career over other cities, and we're delighted to say our business model is proving to be a success."

StrawberryToo offers services such as branding, digital marketing, website design and development and video content. Its clients include the Yorkshire Dales Food and Drink Festival, White Rabbit Chocolatiers and Love Bomb Cushions.

Graduate digital marketing executive, Rebekah Rackham, arrived at StrawberryToo after undertaking a Fashion and Textile Retailing degree at the University of Manchester.

She said: "There were times in my final year when I did consider staying in Manchester. I enjoyed living there and there are lots of opportunities in the creative and digital industries. Finding StrawberryToo changed my mind.

"I loved that the agency was specifically for graduates and apprentices. Often when you're looking for your first job out of Uni, graduates go straight in at the bottom of the hierarchy, but that's not the case here."

Since its launch, StrawberryToo has won a Drum Network Award and was shortlisted for a Northern Digital Award.

Last year, it opened a second studio in Leeds.

Five of the agency's seven-strong team are graduates, four of whom studied for their degrees out of town and were attracted back to their home city.

Jade said: "Our current team includes a mixture of apprentices and graduates, with over half having ventured away from Hull to study, only to return afterwards thanks to the opportunities at StrawberryToo. We don't believe in treating apprentices and graduates like office juniors - we give them real projects for real clients and lots of responsibility from day one, which is extremely appealing to those taking their first step on their career ladder."

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