Behind every MINI...

Making your mark is all about standing out from the crowd. Being different gets people talking and leaves a lasting impression.

We spoke to four Irish creatives and brands about what sets them apart and how being unique has been fundamental to their success.

MINI knows better than anyone else that being distinctive equals enduring popularity. MINI has long been the car of choice for the cool and the creative. Since way back in 1959 in fact.

Now in 2017, MINI has a different model tailored to suit every personality. All you have to do is find your MINI match.

Check out the MINI Instagram account here.

Steve Simpson

All good ideas start by putting pen on paper. That has been the beginnings of the creative process for Dublin-based illustrator Steve Simpson for the past 30 years. Having spent years working in his first love comics, Steve started designing distinctive packaging inspired by 1950s advertising. His initial doodles have then ended up becoming anything from a tiny postage stamp to a huge billboard in Times Square. The secret to his success? Creating designs that catch someone’s eye and make them take a longer look. His unique style means that each design is not only personal but instantly recognisable. Making retro seem modern and new – Steve has made it his business.

Look what I pulled :)) @damnfineprint @offset_insta sigh... another skull :))

A post shared by Steve Simpson (@stevesimpson) on

Just like each of Steve’s designs are formed in his notebook, every MINI starts off as a sketch. With passion and skill, this first drawing then becomes a car. What do MINI and the work of Steve Simpson have in common? Equally unmistakable and individual.

What is creativity?
Creativity is free thinking - using your imagination to come up with original ideas, and for me, getting them down on paper. I don’t believe just because you are great at drawing you are necessarily being creative. Copying isn’t being creative. Also, being creative doesn’t mean you are going to be a painter or visual artist. I think the most important ability a creative person has is looking beyond what is often seen as the established way of doing something, having the ability to question the norm.

What are your influences?
I think there is probably very little I’m not influenced by. What really interests me is using different ‘likes’ together to create something new. This might be through nature, music, the media. I’m very interested in history, folk art plays a big part in my work - I love the idea that much of this work wasn’t created for commercial gain, but simply to make things look beautiful. I’m a big fan of William Morris and the Arts & Craft movement. In my packaging design work, I try to make even the smallest part of the design relate to the whole.

It’s not only the ‘likes’ that influence me but also the ‘dislikes’, wanting to do something better than it’s been done previously.

In what ways does your creative work impact on the way you live?
I have a very bad memory and have to mentally picture instructions. So “don’t forget to lock the door” becomes a mental picture of putting the key in the door and turning it. Now it’s locked, no pun intended, in my mind and I probably won’t forget. This coping mechanism is probably what has led me to be creative. It’s much easier for me to draw something to express myself than it is to either write or say it out loud. I like things to be ordered: If I’m doing something new I need to mentally order the process first. I like to be prepared.

Three words to describe your philosophy of life?
Dreams, strength and humour.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever had?
I’ve had lots of wonderful mentors and teachers through my life, especially in my student days and early career when I was never shy of asking for advice. In later life, I realised that much of that advice only ever applied to a particular problem at a particular time. Advice can be hugely useful but must always be taken with caution and questioned - I’m sure someone must have put that in my head initially, I can’t remember who though.

Did you always feel like an individual? Did you always want to?
I think so, I have a lot of great creative friends in the illustration and design community - I feel we are a collective bunch of individuals.

Your perfect weekend getaway is…
I love visiting new places, cities are my favourite. Being able to sit in a cafe or park and sketch in a completely new environment is very rewarding. I also really enjoy getting away to the country with a bunch of illustrators to paint and draw. In the past, we have hired a chateau in France and also Galley Head Lighthouse in Cork.

NINE CROWS

It all began with a car boot. Business partners Emma Fraser and Dean Ryan McDaid had both been selling vintage clothes at car boot sales before meeting up for a coffee to talk about opening their own vintage store.
In December 2010, they opened their first store with a month’s rent paid and nothing left in their bank account. On 9 Crow Street with no till and no changing room, the biggest name in Irish vintage was born.
Six years later with stores in Dublin and Galway as well as online storefront, what does owner Emma Fraser put their success down to? Figuring out their customer.

Nine Crows brings the best of the past into the modern era with their carefully selected vintage collection. Just like Nine Crows, MINI’s contemporary feel is informed by history. Classic design always seems as relevant and fresh as ever.

What is creativity?
The expression of your true self through art and culture.

What are your influences?
My peers, my team in work and my meditation practice.

In what ways does your creative work impact on the way you live?
My creative work and my life are one, I don’t draw lines between them as I am always working and my work influences my life and visa versa. Even when I am on holiday, I am always open to influence and inspiration that I can use in work.

Three words to describe your philosophy of life?
To work hard, be kind and always do things you are afraid of.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever had?
Fake it 'til you make it.

Did you always feel like an individual? Did you always want to?
We have always wanted to do our own thing and opening our own companies is just an extension of the way we live our lives.

The only way to be happy and content in your life is to accept that you are your own person, we have always known this so in a way, we have always embraced our own individuality.

What are the most important things in life?
To never have the feeling on a Sunday night that you don't want it to be Monday. To be well and happy and to try to enjoy every day.

Your perfect weekend getaway is…
A road trip to the west of Ireland with the dog in the back of the MINI.

What does it mean to have class?
To be humble and to wear your success well.

Damien Broderick

Dublin born, tailor-made. Damien Broderick has made a name for himself as one of Ireland’s leading male social influencers. While he is known for his social presence, he spends his days working as a tailor with A Hand Tailored Suit.
For Damien, his life truly is his work. Nearly always seen sporting a tailored three piece suit, he has created a niche for himself as the quintessential modern Irish gentleman.
By no means an Instagram amateur, Damien studied photography for two years before building his online following. He understands that the key to good tailoring and engaging social posts is attention to detail.

Damien tailors each of his bespoke suits to fit each person perfectly and at MINI, there is a model to match every personality. Just like MINI, being a gentleman never goes out of style.

What is creativity?
Creativity is a wild mind with a trained eye.

What are your influences?
Classic tailoring, classic cars, the essence of a classic gentleman.

In what ways does your creative work impact on the way you live?
It impacts the way I see a situation, the way I see a problem, how I come up with a solution, how I dress, how I speak and how I express myself.

Three words to describe your philosophy of life?
Positivity, hustle, elegance.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever had?
Quit your job and get into fashion from David Gandy.

Did you always feel like an individual? Did you always want to?
I've always felt like I was different, my ideals and morals were different, how I dressed, the music I listened to.

I was always separated from the crowd. It's how I like it to be.

What are the most important things in life?
Work, family, suits.

Your perfect weekend getaway is…
Driving down the countryside in a MINI on scenic roads to a lovely remote B&B with a view. Or Rome.

What does it mean to have class?
Class is a matter of elegance. How you handle yourself, how you handle certain situations, how you treat not just your friends but your underlings and enemies. Class is timeless.

Manly Stuff

Thanks to the hipster revolution, men’s grooming is a cut-throat business. This men’s lifestyle website is all about taking a moment for the simple pleasures.

At Manly Stuff, the focus is on shaving and reintroducing the old ways of men’s grooming to modern Ireland. They specialise in Double Edge Safety Razors, a hark back to a traditional wet shaving method but this brand has proved that sometimes the old ways are the best.

The website was launched in 2014 by Sean Treacy, selling their own branded shaving range as well as other luxury men’s grooming products. The company has since branched out into minimalist watches and styling accessories.

Manly Stuff is all about keeping men looking their best using tried and tested methods. At MINI, they pride themselves on a proud motoring tradition that has been turning heads since way back in 1959.

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