What I've Learnt: Lisa Eaton, Founder, Fabric Academy & Unwritten Group

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo

Based in Newcastle, Lisa Eaton founded the award-winning marketing and communications agency Unwritten Group in 2014.

Today, the agency works with clients including Sage, Northumbrian Water, Newcastle Airport. Most recently, Lisa launched Fabric Academy, a marketing training provider based on applied learning rather than academic theory.

Lisa has more than 20 years of marketing experience at a range of organisations, and is committed to supporting young people in business as a mentor with The Girls Network and trustee for The Key. She also hosts her own marketing and business podcast, GINWAG.

We found out what lessons she's learnt...

 

Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?

Checking my News app!

What's been your luckiest break?

When the owner of a dance events company I taught at decided to move to London and sell the business. In turn, this gave me the opportunity to buy it.

It was my first entrepreneurial venture and it taught me so much about running a company.

What's your best failure?

Failing to complete a Management Buy Out of the design agency I managed from 2008 to 2014. It resulted in me leaving the business and starting my own creative agency, which is still going strong today!

What is the best investment you've ever made, either financial or time?

Financially it was a series of properties I purchased just before the property boom, each providing a high return, enabling me to buy additional properties and building the cash reserves I needed to start my own business.

The best investment of my time has always been CPD - continuous learning has always been a huge part of my career and I'm a strong believer that investing your time in learning always leads to new opportunities. 

Which book would you recommend others to read and why?

Phil Knight's 'Shoe Dog' is one of my all-time favourite reads. It reminds me that no matter where you come from or how many obstacles you face, you can do amazing things! 

I also love 'Rebel Ideas' by Matthew Syed and his views on breaking free and challenging the norm.

What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Everything happens for a reason, it will lead you to the place you're meant to be. The good and the bad will strengthen you and teach you, embrace it all and learn from it. 

Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?

Every person who ever told me I couldn’t do it! It made me resilient, fiercely ambitious and determined to succeed.

Tell us something about you that would surprise people.

I used to run the biggest salsa events company in the North East and taught thousands of people of dance.

How will the COVID crisis change work for the better?

It will remind us all of the importance of human connection and to never take this for granted. It's also shown how globally connected we are - for me, this has meant we've been able to launch our marketing academy to attract international participants rather than our initial launch plans of UK only.

What does success look like to you?

Success for me is three things:

  1. Vision - the reality of bringing your vision to life, making it real and seeing it thrive.
  2. Freedom - to be able to spend my time as I’d like, with my family, travelling and pursuing my passions.
  3. Impact - seeing a positive impact from my work on a person, community or cause.

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