20 Hottest Startups CW Studio

Carolyn Willitts is the Founder of CW Studio, a design-led, award-winning landscape architecture practice based in Manchester city centre.

 

“We are passionate about being ourselves, trying to view the world from a different angle and embracing creative collaboration.”

 

The company is passionate about creating bold, beautiful and thoughtful landscapes and celebrating creative outdoor places. Carolyn founded CW Studio five years ago, alongside having a baby – not a combination she’d necessarily recommend. She unites commercial landscape architecture practice with her previous role as a theatre designer, creating a fresh and exciting approach to landscape design.

 

What makes Manchester a great place to start a business?

Manchester is a wonderful city and a very exciting place to be part of the property and construction industry. Its industrial background is still very present and inspires our work. The city has a strong community of landscape architects and I’ve been surprised how much support we’ve been given by peers who are also our competitors.

What makes a great startup in 2018?

Passion, dedication, ambition, a strong company culture, innovative thinking, hard graft and access to good coffee

What inspired you to start the business?

It was accidental initially. The architects’ practice I was working for in Manchester closed down in the last recession and the architects found new jobs and called me up with projects. I googled ‘how to write an invoice’ and fell in love with doing things my own way.

What makes your business stand out from the crowd?

We are passionate about being ourselves, trying to view the world from a different angle and embracing creative collaboration. The company offers genuine flexible working which means I get to work with some amazing women who otherwise may not be able to juggle childcare with being talented and dedicated landscape architects.

What surprised you the most when setting up your business?

When you start a company working from your spare room you might not leave the house for days. And days. Also when you follow your instinct and it turns out to be right.

What keeps you motivated?

Wanting to do excellent work with brilliant people and to design beautiful, bespoke and inventive spaces that connect people to places.

How does your business help give back to Manchester?

We have recently assisted two charities in Manchester with volunteered time and support. For the Steve Burne Rooms at the Ronald McDonald House Manchester, we are currently designing a quiet, reflective roof terrace for the children’s garden. The House provides free ‘home away from home’ accommodation to families with children receiving treatment in the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and St Mary’s Neonatal Unit. Last month we spent the day choosing bee-friendly plants with AEW Architects and helping to plant them in Canada Street with the Walking With The Wounded charity which helps injured former British Armed Forces servicemen and women in their career transition from the military to civilian life.

What are your business goals for the next 3 years?

Grow to six permanent staff, sort out our DIY branding and homemade website, and throw a big party for clients and collaborators.

 

Our first annual Manchester’s ‘20 Hottest Startups’ is our pick of the most inspiring startups and stepups in our city. If you’d like to be featured in 2019’s ‘20 Hottest Startupsplease contact bethany@amagazine.co.uk.

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