Building brands, engaging communities and promoting Manchester

Lee standing his office wearing his Awling Braided belt.

 

As Manchester grows, new developments spring up and emerging brands flood into the city. Lee Isherwood and his teams at Tile Creative, Manchester’s Finest, and Finest Media have found themselves in a formidable position to be able to document, facilitate and advertise a huge majority of this activity. 

We were lucky enough to Meet Lee before the Covid lockdown but as this journal went to post we caught up with him at his home in Manchester, he says "Starting the business from home, like many do, I learned pretty quickly that getting up, dressed and downstairs to the “office” (kitchen) for 9.30 was not only key to a productive day, but my mental health in general. I worked from home for almost a year and now in lockdown that experience is flooding back to me.”

 

Lee sitting at home wearing his Braided Walnut Brown Awling belt.

 

Manchester’s Finest was something Lee started as a side project and has since become one of the cities most visited online lifestyle platforms. Finest Media delivers branded content for some of the most exciting brands in Manchester and Tile Creative is at the forefront of the creative industries, building a name for themselves in the property sector. So it is safe to say, Lee is a busy man and we were lucky enough to spend some time with him at the Tile Creative offices in the eclectic Northern Quarter of the city.

 

 

How long have you been in the creative industries?

Around 14 years now, I was lucky enough to get a graphic design job straight out of uni.

 

Tell us about your different businesses.

TileCreative.com is my main focus, a multi-discipline creative agency focusing on helping brands build communities with integrity. ManchestersFinest.com is a side project that has become one of Manchester’s largest lifestyle platforms covering food, drink, arts & culture. This led to the spin-off that is FinestMedia.co.uk - content creation and video production which came about after creating high quality content for ourselves, people asked us to start doing it for them.

 

Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit, did you plan on running multiple business?

Absolutely not. I loved my previous job, working with global sports brands in the retail sector designing stores and brand experiences. Then I got made redundant and simply never wanted to be in that position again. It was scary having the rug pulled from under me and I have an everlasting empathy for anyone who has to go through it. But from that came this and I now employ 18 people and, from that experience, ensuring their security is paramount to my business efforts.

 

The TileCreative team

 

What’s the best thing about doing what you do?

I would say the team. I’ve a great crew, people I otherwise would never have met are with me for hours every day of the working week and they make the businesses what they are - without them it’s just a bank account and a business card.

 

What would your perfect project be?

Anything that delivers added value to a community, culture or entity. We work with a lot of charities, and offer our services free to one nominated charity per year, those are my favourites by a country mile.

 

What’s next for you?

Workwise though I guess we’ll see, I have a new idea I’m pursuing for an experience proposition in the property sector, but let’s see what happens there.

 

Lee leaning against a post in his office drinking a cup of coffee

 

Which Awling belt did you choose, what do you think?

I chose the Braided, it’s braided every time for me. The idea that 5 or 6 holes will suffice seems somewhat impractical to me when a braided belt gives an almost incremental amount of flexibility and thus comfort. The style allows the belt to work perfectly across polar opposites - heavier jeans or my tailored trousers.

 

Do you have any go to fashion brands?

Not really. Probably my only constant brand is Sunspel for underwear. I have two pairs of jeans; one black, one blue, both by Hiut Denim in Wales. Outside of that Richard Smith is a bespoke tailor who’s made me a few pairs of trousers and a suit. I have a small single rail of clothing and keep my wardrobe tight, it’s one in, one out.

 

Behind the seen image of Lee interviewing for Tile Creative

Close up of Lee wearing his Braided Walnut Brown Awling belt.

 

What do you look for when buying clothes and accessories?

My ethos on buying for years has revolved around UK / EU limited air miles and supporting smaller entities. I’m not particularly fashion forward so its not about brands for me, it’s always about quality and ideally with no logos. Accessories-wise I tend to follow the same principle, my watch is a Junghans Kalender Meister Made in Germany and my socks are Falke as they do exceptional quality socks by foot size, buying socks for 7-11 is basically a size 11 sock with elastic, so I don’t do that.

 

And finally, what does style mean to you?

I’m not sure I’ve ever thought about what it means to me, I don’t really think it means anything to me personally it just exists. I wear what I like, what is functional and ultimately feels right. To me that is the measure of personal style, otherwise you’re just playing dress up.

 

Thanks for reading

 

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