Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in branding and design but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Laura Sim, co-founder of Elles & Jake Design, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We are a visual communication, branding, and design agency based out of Toronto with clients all over the globe. Most of our clients are corporate to small businesses within the food and hospitality industry and marketing agencies. Majority of our work is visual communication through branding in social media, print publications, and packaging.

It's important to understand the client and their environment. We tune ourselves into the minds of the businesses owners, live and breathe their environment, try to understand what their needs are and their customers' needs. Once we have a full understanding of their universe, we then customize the brand, visual communication, and any marketing activities based on our brand audit.

Tell us about yourself

Jimmy and I have always dreamed about collaborating on design projects since our days at Ontario College of Art and Design. Fast forward ten years after graduation, we were finally at the point where we were confident enough to start our own business. The beginning, I have to admit, was a bit slow, and I had just moved from Germany to Toronto. We started off at a co-working space in downtown Toronto, and it took us about five years to build a solid business and client network.

Coming from the advertising world, I find it liberating to personally connect with my clients and build relationships with them, guiding them through the process of building or re-creating their business and brand. It is exciting to go through the ups and downs of a business, whether it’s my own or my clients. We love all of our clients, and we know that they appreciate us and the work we do.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

We pride ourselves on building strong relationships with our clients and becoming their go-to agency for any visual design or marketing needs. Our clients appreciate our creative minds aligned with diligence and transparency.

Being comfortable to say that we are actually growing as a business. We’ve been working with a few well-known establishments, and it’s exciting to talk about the cool ideas we have in store for them.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Saying no to clients and setting boundaries. Naturally, we are not good at turning down work, but if an environment is toxic, I think it’s best to stay true to yourself and to stay out of it.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Building partnerships and relationships with like-minded people, these are the people that will be your cheerleaders.
  2. Finding a mentor or someone that can guide you through difficult decisions. It does not have to be one person; it can be a few. Bouncing off thoughts with someone that’s outside of your own business will give you a better perspective of things.
  3. Respect for one another, whether it is your business partner or a client. Respecting each other is a must. If your client doesn’t respect you and your work, then they are not your client.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

When you are constantly creating for other people, it can be very difficult to be creative for yourself and your brand. Make sure you take the time and don’t forget about your own business needs. It’s a bit like “self-love” for you and your business.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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