“I’m not going to use the words ‘passion for fashion’”, says Lexi Adolphe, EA & Business Operations Manager of visual content creation agency I Heart Studios, based at The Biscuit Factory in Bermondsey. Too late, I think. You just did.
And why not? In an industry as competitive as fashion, the dedication and expertise of your team can be the thing that sets your company apart.
While there are plenty of companies who do product photography, I Heart Studios was set up to be a specialist in the fashion and lifestyle sector. “People come to us because they’re getting people who know about fashion, clothes and beauty,” says Lexi.
The company started in 2011 with around 6 people before growing rapidly in 2013 to around 80 full-time staff. It now employs 130 in London and 30 in Amsterdam and is in the process of launching a new office in Hong Kong.
As online shopping has grown over the last few years, so have the quality and volume of imagery required. I Heart Studios have been at the forefront of this movement, raising the bar for e-commerce product photography while also shooting creative campaigns and look books for brands.
I Heart Studios work with hundreds of brands, from high street to couture and premium: Jaeger, Moss Bros, Lyle & Scott and New Look to name some of the biggest. In any given week, members of the team might be shooting products in the company’s studio space at The Biscuit Factory, on location at a campaign shoot in South Africa or art directing a brand film in Mallorca.
Unlike other digital content studios, which typically use freelancers, I Heart have their own full-time team of photographers, stylists and producers. “Having an in-house team is unique in the fashion industry,” says Lexi. “There’s a trusted pool of talent that we can draw upon”.
While it’s best known for high-quality product photography, I Heart is also making a name for its video content, doing everything from shooting to styling and production. One film I Heart Studios collaborated on for Hunter boots scooped ‘Ad of the Week’ on the Drum website.
The company also offers consultancy services for brands who need advice on improving their product photography or workflow or ideas for creative direction. It’s this 360 degree approach, combined with their in-house team, which sets I Heart Studios apart.
Despite the size of the company there’s still a family vibe. “It’s very open, very social. Everybody here makes great friendships,” says Lexi.
I Heart Studios moved into Bermondsey’s The Biscuit Factory shortly after the company launched. And they’ve been steadily colonising it ever since. Now they have “all of the 5th floor of the new building, Cocoa Studios, all of the 5th floor of J block and a large part of the 4th and 1st floors,” says Lexi. The company now rents a whopping 40,000 square feet in total.
For I Heart Studios, the best thing about The Biscuit Factory is the space and light that it affords their photographers. “It’s a unique space,” says Lexi. “High ceilings, lots of space, natural light, that’s all very important for us.”
The new building has the added bonus of an “incredible view of the London skyline”, says Lexi. On a more practical note, “the car park is pretty useful because we’re having deliveries of stock all day every day”.
Thanks to Workspace’s flexible contracts, I Heart Studios have been able to grow while staying within The Biscuit Factory. And they plan to keep it that way. Otherwise, they want to expand their international and global reach by growing their bases in Amsterdam and Hong Kong. Ultimately, they want to be “the go-to provider for visual content in the fashion and lifestyle industry”. And who would dare question passion like that?
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