Creators of Tomorrow – Media business owner and inspirational creative, Esme Spurling

As part of our Creators of Tomorrow series, which looks at inspiring people that we feel have the power to change creative industries, we met up with Coventry based, media business owner, Esme Spurling. We discussed inspirations, futures and how challenging yourself can lead to new, exciting and ambitious ideas.

Photo by Adam Goss

Hey Esmé it’s great to speak to you after your wonderful presentation at our second fresh creative networking event. First of all, how did you find the evening?
Thank you for having me! I was so overwhelmed by such a warm welcome from everyone who attended! I thought it was such a great opportunity for talented creatives in Coventry to meet, share ideas and connect! I noticed those who met at the first native social were excitedly re-connecting – there was none of the awkwardness you sometimes get at networking events because everyone was so friendly and shared similar interests in the media, music or creative industries.

In your presentation you talked about the creation of your multimedia business ESMEDIA. For those who aren’t in the know can you tell us what ESMEDIA Is all about and how you got started?
ESMEDIA is a multi-media service specialising (but not limited to) lifestyle and fashion photography with the element of covering filmed “behind the scenes” so that my audience/followers can see exactly what it’s like to be on a shoot / work at a festival, whilst getting to know the model / influencer or brand that my team and I are working with. I’ve also been commissioned by NHS Warwickshire for a documentary and have also worked for TEDx Coventry and The Guardian. The main drive I had to start my business was to keep up the creative energy I had throughout university – it’s also good to be in control of creating your own work opportunities, so I knew I had to make it happen!

How challenging has it been establishing your own creative business?
I try to take everything in my stride, whether that being covering high profile events such as The Guardian’s “The Higher Education awards” in London or working as press at Berlin Fashion Week and try not to over think things as I believe the best media produced is done organically and improvised (without too much over planning). As a Coventry University Alumni of the Media & Communications (BA Hons) course, I believe starting my own business was just a natural progression; for me to take the lead of my own media production as I was always very keen to expand my creative networks within the West Midlands (and globally!). I set up the media business via the Social Enterprise Hub (CUSE, Coventry University) who helped teach me the skills I needed from legalities to marketing – but I had a strong vision in mind of what I wanted my multimedia business to look like and cover – especially things like the logo to have that personal touch of my name in there!

Photo by Adam Goss

What would you say inspires your creativity and drives ESMEDIA forward?
I think being able to show my clients that I want their brand, event or project to be as much of a success as they do drives me and the business. The way you interact with your models / client(s) will be mirrored by them so by keeping up the energy and tempo of my multi-media projects reflects the final output – which I hope you’ll find is fast paced and exciting! So getting to know their stories / background is important to me and inspires every shoot so that it can be unique and tailored depending on the job. I also get a lot of inspiration from other photographers/creatives/models that I’ve had the pleasure of working with around the world, I keep up to date with their work via Instagram – in particular I get inspo from: “Bravo” (Singapore), “Mikser House” (Belgrade, Serbia) and “Urban Nation” (Berlin) some amazingly talented creatives, I’d suggest you to follow too!!

You cover a lot of gigs of up and coming Coventry bands. What’s the best gig you’ve been a part of?
It’s always great to cover large scale gigs like BBC Radio 1 Biggest Weekend (May 2018) but I equally love to work with newly signed artists to get their story and energy entering the music industry!  The most rewarding gig personally though has to be when “Candid” headlined Live Loud (November 2018) as this was the first live music event my 6 interns had the opportunity of covering – plus it was their first time working as a team together! They all come from different disciplines covering journalism to photography and video production but they worked strongly together, exclusively interviewing all 3 supporting bands and “Candid” themselves. I was so proud to have the opportunity for them to enter the press pit too and capture the event with me. You can check out the full interviews and footage here.

How would you rate the creative community of Coventry?
I think Coventry has completely become the “up and coming” city – I totally rate the creative community because I think there’s a lot of support for one another and appreciation of how challenging the media industry can be sometimes. I’m always appreciative of local media creatives commenting on my work and in return I do the same – it’s a nice little community online! But regular face-to-face meet ups (like Fresh!) is the most important thing. There are great groups for creatives to be involved in like: @igerscoventry @westmidlandsphoto who organise regular meet-ups for photographers, covering landscapes to portraits! For bloggers in the city there is @CoventryBloggers which is where I met some inspirational women who attend local events/galleries/etc to review and promote. We recently went to the press launch of The Botanist which was a great experience and nice to socialise together (whilst testing their Sunday menu)!

Photo by Adam Goss

You also recently had the amazing opportunity to go over to Berlin for the fashion week. How was that experience? It looked amazing from the pictures we’ve seen from you.
Thank you! I was so excited to attend as Press for my third Berlin Fashion Week working for my business ESMEDIA, but this was my first AW season. It was a very productive visit, I always go with an agenda of what I want to achieve, whilst catching up with some great contacts I’ve made there. This recent visit in January beat my expectations, as I found myself photographing for FILA (Europe) and Coca-Cola who are collaborating with a new uni-sex / German based brand Gypsy. I photographed both of their new AW season styles, which will be available later this year, but being able to meet with the models, marketing teams and designers was just great to dive into the fashion world. Ive kept in touch with them all via social media and hope to see them again for the summer season in July this year! They’re so supportive of my business and my brand, so I can’t wait to share more photos soon!

We’ve been asking this question to a lot of people recently and getting really interesting and varied answers. What does the term “Native” mean to you?
Native gives me the sense of community, creativity and curiosity! I think these are the 3 qualities every media producer needs! I guess this comes from my first interaction with Native Magazine, I was so curious to find out what it was all about and keen to create more media from the inspiring articles and posts I see on social media and the Native website. I love the community aspect too of bringing everyone together to share ideas and meet at Fresh Thursdays!

And finally, after a jam packed 2018 what will 2019 have in store for you?
I am so excited about 2019! I will be concentrating on exploring the live music, lifestyle and fashion scene around Europe this year, especially in the run up to 2021 as all eyes are now on the city! I’d suggest for as many creatives as possible to use this opportunity of the newly titled City of Culture as a platform to express your voice and your work, as you never know who is watching and where this might take you!
I have some exciting collaborations coming up with the largest creative arts festival in the Balkans, “Mikser Festival” for their 10th anniversary, and currently working on multiple immersive technology projects funded by the EU which I am excited to share more of later this year.


For more information about ESMEDIA and for examples of commissioned work please visit: www.esmespurlingmedia.com

Written by Tom Godwin. Photography by Adam Goss.

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