Year in Review: Sophie Karaer, SOKA Studio

When I sat down twelve months ago to pen my last year in review, I’d never have imagined life could look as remarkably different as it does today. Pandemic aside, 2020 has been a transformational time both personally and for SOKA Studio; a bumper year of big adventures, extraordinary challenges and renewed confidence.

I’ve always been a great believer in exploring new things, so when the opportunity to experience life in another part of the country arose in the new year, I decided to take the leap! My partner is a doctor in the NHS and as SOKA Studio has always worked remotely, we upped sticks and headed to South Yorkshire, setting up camp at Barnsley Digital Media Centre.

It wasn’t long before life and work soon came to a screeching halt in Spring due to the national lockdown. We quickly grabbed the bull by the horns, realising that communication is key in times of crisis, and that our clients would need support updating their websites and collateral to reflect the new guidelines and reaffirm their business messages.

We offered basic graphic design and social media training, empowering our clients to respond to rapidly changing circumstances. It was also important for me to do what we could to support fledgling businesses, so we extended our payment terms, giving start-ups the option to spread design costs over twelve months. The pandemic has been a catalyst for new businesses, and this has certainly been reflected in our increased workload!

Many companies saw the lockdown period as an opportunity to reflect and realign, and SOKA Studio was no exception. We invested the time we had to reimagine our brand and redevelop our website, a project I’m especially proud of. It was during this time that my partner was offered the opportunity to move again, this time to Liverpool, a beautiful and vibrant city that we’ve since decided to make our home.

SOKA Studio is now based at Avenue HQ, a fantastic co-working environment on the iconic Liverpool waterfront. The presence we have established across the country has meant we have been able to expand the team, with Danielle joining us as an admin assistant and Kelsey, our new Junior Graphic Designer who was shortlisted from a pool of over 100 talented candidates.

2020 has been a turbulent year for everyone, but I’m incredibly proud of the resilience and determination our team has shown during our fifth year in business. We’ve been able to sustain our fantastic customer service, receiving our 50th five-star review on Google; as well as crafting more stunning work for our clients.

As I look ahead to 2021, I do so with more gratitude and optimism than ever before. I’m thankful for my talented team, who have risen to the challenge on more than one occasion; thankful for our loyal clients who have been unwavering in their support of SOKA Studio; and to friends, new and old in Lincoln, London, South Yorkshire and Liverpool with whom I look forward to sharing more success and good times with in the coming months.