When a design team becomes the client

Having launched a drinks brand, Dave Palmer of agency Love reflects on the risks of starting your own brand and the empathy it’s helped him to develop for his clients

Since starting up in 2001, Manchester-based agency Love has worked with a number of drinks-based clients such as Diageo, Guinness, Hendrick’s, Johnnie Walker and many more over the years, so it felt like a natural, if bold, step to create their own brand.

“We’ve been doing this a long time and it’s massively enjoyable and we felt like we’d like to try and have a go ourselves,” says Dave Palmer, ECD and owner of Love. “It’s been on the backburner for a long time but when the pandemic hit it seemed to offer us an opportunity.”

Palmer says there were three reasons why it felt like the right time to put the wheels in motion. Firstly, the agency was worried about client work dropping off in the chaos of the pandemic so it allowed them to still utilise their resources; secondly, even if it failed it could be chalked up to a good learning experience; and finally – and more optimistically – if it was successful a new revenue stream would open up for the business. And so Urchin Spirits was born.