Pippa Duncan reflects on her idea for a local magazine which now has become a household name.

When I started Living In Richmond, Kew & East Twickenham 15 years ago, I visited local shops and traders with nothing more than an idea to launch a local magazine that would appeal to residents and be an affordable way for small businesses to reach their local target market. Despite having no magazine to show people, I came home that first day with £1,500 worth of cheques. They really believed in a truly local publication, published independently by someone local herself.

What I did not realise back then was that many of those business owners would become more than just clients, they have become friends.

My background was as a journalist - I had no idea about sales - but I quickly realised that the two have many similarities. A journalist needs to get to know the person they are interviewing and draw out their story before writing in a way that best represents them. In advertising, too, I get to know local businesses, find out what their needs are and then help them to reach potential customers in the best way. My small business has been built on the wonderful local businesses in Richmond - we all need each other to thrive.

It is feels like a real achievement to be here 15 years later - particularly after the last couple! - and I am so pleased that there are still companies surviving that were in my first issue and are still advertising today.

The Phoenix Enterprise Programme has been wonderful in helping so many businesses find their feet and move forward, and I have helped many business start-ups over the years to raise their profile locally through the magazines.

Top tips for a great advert

For anyone starting out and thinking about advertising, my three top tips for a great advert are:

  1. People want to know how you can help them before they need to know your name, so make your message the star, not your logo
  2. Keep it simple – don’t overload with information as your aim is to direct them to your website to find out more
  3. Don’t do one advert and disappear. Go smaller but for longer – people need to repeatedly see a message before picking up the phone to call you

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