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Movers and Makers:

Keeping it real: how to prioritize authentic business choices

Chiamaka Ojechi is co-founder of Paq, a multidisciplinary creative studio based in Brixton, London. Starting life as a creative collective at Ravensbourne University London in 2014, Paq has since attracted work from brands such as Nike, Jordan, Spotify, and Converse. Alongside telling stories through film, print, and experiential mediums, Paq also creates its own apparel. The clothes have earned a noteworthy following, especially after rapper Kendrick Lamar wore the Primary Paq tracksuit onstage at the NBA All Star Weekend in 2018. Read on to discover Chiamaka’s advice on staying true to your core values, building the right team, and making time to ask the big questions.

Authentic choices

When you’re running your own business, having a set of core values and a strong sense of who you are can aid your decision making. Rather than creating 5 year plans for her business, Chiamaka Ojechi is guided by the company’s vision, which she explains is “to have autonomy over the stories we tell, whilst supporting our community with integrity.”

Paq stands for purpose, authenticity and quality, the company’s core values. These play out in every piece of work it creates, whether that’s for a client or in-house. “I've had to say no to things that didn’t align with our values or progress our vision,” says Chiamaka. “After all, if we don’t stay true to ourselves, our audience will be able to tell that we’re not being authentic.”

Paq’s authentic approach has also helped it attract clients with a similar mindset, such as Nike. The brand approached Paq in 2016 after seeing its online film series, Baking. “We put everything into Baking, so it became a true representation of what we wanted to create,” says Chiamaka. “And in the end, the project attracted clients who wanted us to create something similar for their brand.”


Building a team

It’s not just the work that needs to align with your values. When building a team, finding people that are of the same mindset is essential.

“Finding the right people can be difficult at times, as you need to work with people who share your values,” says Chiamaka. “We look out for creatives who truly believe in where we’re going as a team. When someone is here to contribute for the long haul and not just here to get their check and go. Those are the people that have become part of our core team.”

“If we don’t stay true to ourselves, our audience will be able to tell that we’re not being authentic.”

— Chiamaka Ojechi, co-founder of Paq

Nurturing talent

As your business grows, you’ll need to start delegating tasks to others so that you can stay focused on leading the team. Chiamaka has learned that her efforts are best spent on the creative direction for projects at Paq, so she delegates executional design tasks to more junior members of the team. “Of course, there will be times when I really want to work on something, but it’s about knowing your limits,” she says.

Sometimes, you might be disappointed with the results of delegating a task. Your colleague might have failed to grasp or communicate your original vision. “It can be frustrating, but people need to be nurtured,” says Chiamaka. “I didn’t build my own design language overnight, it’s been honed over the years. I need to have that same understanding for someone else.”

Looking inwards

Once you’ve got a flow of client work coming in, it can be tricky to find time to look at the big picture. But thinking about how to grow the business in a way that best aligns with your vision and values is essential. Even the more functional aspects of the business, like your creative processes and promoting your work, can only be optimized if you take time to reflect on how things are working.

“Our focus right now is on growing the team—actually investing back into ourselves and finding time to do that,” says Chiamaka. “With the right people around you, it’s easier to find a healthy balance.”


Words of wisdom

  • Define your core values and let these guide your decision making.
  • When building a team, look for people who buy into your vision and want more than just a paycheck.
  • Don’t get so swept up in client work that you forget to make time to think about the company’s direction and growth.
  • Set boundaries for your own time – burnout is definitely not productive. “When you work for yourself, it’s very easy to feel guilty whenever you’re not working and to just keep going,” says Chiamaka. “But it’s not sustainable”.

Kate Hollowood is a freelance journalist covering a range of subjects — from mental health and female empowerment, to art and design — for titles like Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, the i paper, and It’s Nice That. Based in London, she also creates copy and content for brands like Flo, Nike Run Club, Laced, and Ace & Tate.

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