The Ideal Worldsmiths journey officially begins in 2004, with the founding of Ideal Word Ltd. But our story goes back to 1992, when an optimistic Debbie Taylor joins a young Mark Griffiths in The Body Shop’s communications department.
The Body Shop is an international cosmetics retailer. But sells cosmetics like no other. Community trade, human rights, women’s rights, animal and environmental protection – these are the magical ingredients that set the company apart. It all seems so normal nowadays. But in the 1990s, taking such a responsible approach to business is really radical, pioneering stuff.
Business as unusual
Championed by founder, Anita Roddick, nothing ever stands still – for Mark and Debbie as much as the business. Within three months, Debbie is working directly for Anita, researching responsible business practices and writing about them in her speeches. Mark spends a couple of years managing The Body Shop Foundation before taking on the role of corporate editor, fulfilling his dream of ghostwriting for Anita in the media. And after a little match-making and a lot of nagging by the boss, Debbie and Mark get engaged in 1995.
In 1998, Debbie sets up as an independent environmental consultant, trading as Taylor Made Information, with Yellow Pages her first client. Mark joins Interbrand in London as a brand language and tone of voice consultant, working on a huge range of top client accounts.
The story of the koru
But a holiday of a lifetime to New Zealand in 2002 becomes the turning point in our lives as Mr and Mrs Griffiths. Trekking through the pristine Abel Tasman National Park, we’re captivated by the beauty of an unfurling silver fern frond – known as a koru in the local lingo. And we have an epiphany: it’s time for a big change in our working lives.
With its circular shape and inner coil, a koru is a metaphor for the way in which life both changes and stays the same. The koru is used widely in Maori art to represent the past and the future, loyalty, strength and relationships. It can also mean new beginnings and harmony.
So when we decide to create a business together, the koru is our natural choice of visual icon. It will evolve over time and two rebrands, but it’s always there for us – linking our past to our future.
Our ever-changing business
After a decade in business - trading as Ideal Word and Ideal Consulting - we relaunch the business in 2014 as Ideal Worldsmiths. This name marries together our love of words with our desire to change the world for good. For the better. Forever. With the relaunch comes a new, sustainable business model and plan.
The plan is to take clients on a truly sustainable writing journey, where we do less and less writing for them and spend more of our time upskilling their in-house communicators to write as confidently for their brand as we do.
But we can’t do all this alone. And we’re not ready to take on employees just yet. So, we set up a network of Ideal Word Associates. Starting with friends in business, we quickly attract all kinds of new associates with complementary skills and shared ethical ethos.
Now and next
Today, we’re still busy writing and editing brand and CSR communications for all sorts of clients (with a little bit of design). And we’re steadily upping co-creation of content. We’re also loving devising and delivering tailor-made training and coaching solutions for larger organisations.
As advocates of lifelong learning, Mark and Debbie are currently studying for a CIPD Diploma in Learning and Development (L&D). Amongst stack of useful stuff, we’re keen to learn more about online learning and technology. Ready for the next step on our journey.