A well-known face on the North East’s marketing and communications scene, Lisa has taken the bold step of launching a brand new business during lockdown. Driven by her love of learning and teaching, Fabric is a dynamic new marketing academy that will revolutionise how we learn – and a business that Lisa is running alongside her award-winning marketing agency, Unwritten.
Tell us about Fabric
Fabric is an online marketing academy, aimed at ambitious marketers looking to progress in their career. Having spent 20 years working in marketing myself, both in-house for global brands and in-agency working for clients across all sectors, I recognised that there just wasn’t the learning and development support for marketers that would really help them in their day-to-day roles.
There were, and still are, some excellent academic courses available via the usual channels, but they don’t offer practical, hands-on learning and industry insights and I felt there was a real need for this in marketing.
Our programme is designed to teach delegates how to build a real-life marketing strategy for a live organisation from scratch. It supports graduates in building a portfolio which demonstrates their capabilities, as well as helping experienced marketers of all levels who are already in marketing roles to advance their skills.
You’ve recently completed an MBA in marketing – how did you find that? And how do you think that compares to Fabric’s offering?
I loved everything about the MBA. The course itself was great and Mark Ritson certainly kept us engaged throughout! CPD has always been a huge part of my career progression – I’m always looking for my next opportunity to learn – so doing an MBA throughout the early stages of lockdown felt like a really sensible use of my time. The course was much more closely aligned with academic learning, so it’s what you’d imagine is covered in a university course, with some of Mark’s experience and insights from his time in industry.
Fabric is all about bridging the gap between academic learning and industry – so we teach the skills that are used every day in businesses and what is required from a marketing role. It’s about understanding the theory and models you learn about through practical, real-life application. In essence, you’re learning and working at the same time – which we feel is a win-win for time-poor marketers.
It must have been stressful launching a new business during lockdown. How have you found the process, compared to when you launched Unwritten back in 2014?
Strangely, it wasn’t stressful at all. It was hugely exciting to build another business in lockdown, especially when the world seemed to have slowed to a halt and every part of normal life seemed completely uncertain. Having been there before with Unwritten, I was confident that we could make it happen, and it gave us the focus and drive we needed through what was a very tough time.
You’re no stranger to teaching. In fact, we’ve heard a rumour that you used to teach salsa in Newcastle! Is that true?
Yes, it’s true! I bought a small salsa business when I was 23 and turned it into one of the biggest dance events companies in the North East. I used to teach three evenings a week, sometimes to upwards of 100 people whilst working in a full-time day job. I’d also hold huge weekend events where we taught dancers from all over the country. It’s a tough skill to master teaching dance – you’re often dancing a male role while talking over the female steps and vice versa – so training your brain to say the opposite of what your feet are doing took some perfecting, believe me!
I absolutely loved it, I so enjoyed every second. It’s very rewarding to see dancers go from complete beginners (often with two left feet!) to advanced stages, spinning furiously around a dance floor.
Has your teaching and Fabric Academy work prepared you for home-schooling?!
Nothing can prepare you for home-schooling! If you think running or launching a business is tough, it’s nothing in comparison!
But I guess it has a bit, in the sense that you become very good at communicating, breaking things down and ensuring they’re clear for the learner. I also have lots of patience which is really vital when teaching, but especially when teaching a 7 and a 9 year old!
The Government has recently been recommending that people switch careers. Can Fabric support those who are new to marketing?
Absolutely. Fabric was built with one objective in mind: to help those with a passion for marketing to thrive. Regardless of whether you’re just starting out or have been in the businesses for years, the programme teaches you everything you need to know to build an effective marketing strategy from scratch and how to deliver it.
The beauty of the Fabric programme is that people who are looking to re-train (or are being forced to) can learn these skills in just 12 weeks. When we say you’ll learn 20 years of experience in just 12 weeks we’re not kidding – there is absolutely everything you need to know jam-packed into this course, so it’s the perfect grounding for anyone looking to do well in a marketing role.
What are your hopes for 2021?
To enjoy the things we used to call normal again – holidays, spending time with friends and family, going to the local pub and out for a meal.
I also want to reach thousands of ambitious marketers all over the world and see them really thrive in their careers from learning with us, that’s the big dream.
Check out Lisa's live Q&A article with North East Times answering more questions about Fabric.