Alumni in Focus

Erin Smith

Owner/Founder, Pink Sphynx Media

Erin Smith

Erin Smith took the bold step of starting her own creative film and video production company, Pink Sphynx Media, straight out of university and during a global pandemic.

We spoke to Erin to find out more about her business plans and her collaborative documentary film project, ‘Unearthing Farming Lives’.

Erin, who studied BA (Hons) Media and graduated in 2020, didn’t feel hugely prepared for graduating during a global pandemic – “it was such a shock to the system and a time of huge uncertainty for the job market and economy. It also felt as if we did not officially finish uni as there was no closing graduation ceremony (but hopefully there will be in the future).” What she did leave with, however, was a varied skill-set and extensive knowledge of various subjects that would help her take on the job market when the economy began to open again.

From a young age, Erin was quite independent and loved making films. She also enjoyed business studies at school, watching concepts develop into something physical and working on group entrepreneurial topics at university. She believes her inspiration stemmed from the many years she spent studying entrepreneurship and business but also watching the journeys of other successful young entrepreneurs, such as: James Matthews, Nile Wilson and Ben Francis.

Always on the fence about the thought of starting her own business, she believes the pandemic, leaving her part time job, lack of graduate jobs and a realisation that “I have nothing to lose” pushed her to do it.

During the first lockdown, she spent time on self-development and learning new skills to further prepare her. These ended up becoming skills that supported her on her journey to becoming an entrepreneur. Once she’d decided to take matters into her own hands and start her own business, she sought support from Business Gateway and took part in the RGU Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group Enterprise Enhancement Award which gave her the skills, knowledge and confidence to taking the leap into self-employment. She also received fortnightly business mentoring through the Prince's Trust.

It’s evident that Erin has a true passion for creative filming, and this combined with her natural interest in business skills lead to the creation of Pink Sphynx Media. Her business is an Aberdeenshire-based videography company, which helps busy small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), charities and social enterprises communicate their key messages to their target audiences through video. Erin tells us she brings clients’ ideas to life by creating impactful social media content, website videos, commercials or films and helps give them that all important visual edge.

We asked Erin what she thought were the most useful skills she’s developed since starting her own business. She explained that the main skills she uses on a weekly basis are communication, organisation, scheduling, budgeting, multitasking and video production. Her most useful skills, however, are resilience, self-confidence, and adaptability. Already, she’s worked with many different clients who all have very different personalities and backgrounds, meaning she’s had to grow in self-confidence when presenting her business to others and adapt to fit in with each client.

Her most exciting project to date is a collaboration with RGU, Aberdeen Samaritans, NFU Scotland, Live Life Aberdeenshire and many local farmers to create the short documentary film ‘Unearthing Farming Lives’. It is specifically designed to highlight and help raise awareness of the hidden mental health strains within the agricultural industry. Erin has travelled around a large part of the North East to talk to farmers, MP’s, volunteers, and managers of various sectors and capture various farming activities. She hopes this film will help the public recognise and better understand common mental health issues and that it will act as a catalyst for people who are struggling and need help, reduce stigma and encourage more people to speak openly about their problems. The film will be released in June.

In 2019, Erin received recognition for her first short film, 'Fan Wi Gaed Tae Keep Hoose at 'Hillies' when she won the individual film award at the first Doric film festival. The same film was also officially shortlisted in the top 25 at the Scottish Short Film Festival in 2020.

Erin has plans to grow her business over the coming years and start employing people, allowing her to create larger scale productions such as feature films. On her wish list is a studio space for Pink Sphynx Media, giving her a place to work, shoot, edit and build a larger, more creative, production company.

To anyone thinking about starting their own business Erin says do it because you have nothing to lose! Make sure you do your research, ask around about your ideas (not just family and friends) and make a plan.

Find out more about Erin's business

On Facebook: @pinksphynxmedia

On Twitter: @pinksphynxmedia

On LinkedIn: @pinksphynxmedia

On Instagram: @pinksphynxmedia

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