Introducing the UK’s first agency run by disabled creatives! Today, we’re chatting with Imali Chislett of Inkfire Design. Here’s what she had to say…

Thanks for writing for us, Imali! Would you like to tell us a bit about yourself?

Sure! I’m a chronically ill Graphic Designer and Virtual Assistant. I’ve had health issues since the age of two and due to this have used a wheelchair for as long as I can remember. I am a very creative person by nature, and I always have a project on the go!  I’m very passionate about my work, and I love helping people.

What motivated you to create Inkfire Design?

 I worked in a corporate job for a while, and got to experience the joys and challenges that went with that. Although there are some provisions in place to allow disabled people to work in the UK, they’re few and far between, and often don’t provide the support that a person actually needs to function in a role – merely ‘tick’ the boxes that keep the company on the right side of the law. I experienced this issue first-hand, and quickly realised that I wasn’t the only one.

It became my goal to create a business that could work flexibly and fit around whatever needs someone may have, no matter what they are, and this is where the idea for Inkfire Design came in. It’s our mission to champion a more accessible workplace environment and prove that with the right surroundings and support, we can achieve anything!

You have a passion for creating equal opportunities that shines through all you do. How can we see this in practice within your clients and talent base?

We are an agency based on flexibility, and our way of working means that we can accommodate a huge variety of needs.  I wanted to create a diverse team that could look out for each other, support each other and grow to rely on one another.  I have managed to do just that!

We work on an hourly basis – this is because for most of our team an hour’s work is achievable – more than that is a bonus!  This way, even if somebody doesn’t have the ability to take on a huge project by themselves, they can still get involved with it and get the experience, without their disability being a barrier.

Because we work on a per hour basis, we also pay per hour – another way that we ensure everyone is getting fairly rewarded for their efforts according to their ability, not their disability.  Each of our team are self-employed, meaning that they manage their own workload, and can be their own bosses.  This means that when they work with us, they aren’t bound to any contracts, and they aren’t committing to anything on a long-term basis.

Our team currently comprises of about 30 people, and is growing all the time.  We have incredible individuals with a host of health conditions – from ME, through to ADHD and Multiple Sclerosis. We look at people’s abilities, and help them to harness these.

From our clients’ point of view, they love the services we provide and the team we bring! We’ve had a huge amount of positive feedback about our agency, and although it’s still early days we’ve seen incredible growth.  We work with an array of large companies across many industries as well as with disabled business owners.

If you could tell the world one thing about working with disabled creatives, what would it be?

 That they won’t regret it! Due to often years of having to find ways to overcome challenges, disabled creatives are some of the most tactical thinkers you’ll ever meet and don’t give up easily. No matter the size or complexity of a project, we’ll usually find a way to make it happen and bring it to life.

Is there any advice you’d like to share for any individuals looking to move into this line of work?

At our agency, we provide services in Graphic Design, Copywriting, Social Media and Virtual Assisting.   Each of these services is a world of its own, so I’d suggest picking one or two that you’d like to specialise in, and focus on those.  Voluntary work (for charities, or non-profits) can be a great way to give you a taster of what to expect and allow you to build your experience. This is where I started, and it provided me a solid foundation to build on.

There’s also lots of amazing support groups out there on platforms such as Facebook that I recommend joining so that you can find other like-minded people and can chat with them.

How can businesses and creatives find out more about Inkfire Design and get involved?

We have a website as well as social media which is a great place to stay up to date with what we’re up to!

We’re always on the lookout for incredible individuals to join our team, so please do reach out if you’re interested in working with us.  Even if you’re feeling a bit lost with work and fancy a chat, we’re always here!

For businesses, our website is a great starting point to find out more about the kinds of services we can offer and we’re happy to arrange a call with one of our account managers to have a chat about your project.  We provide discounts for bulk hours, so if you’re looking for some general business support, we can certainly assist on a monthly basis.

We also have live chat on the website, if anyone has any questions!