A business minor with major creative consequences

Nurturing your idea into your very own company. Sounds fantastic of course, but it’s anything but easy. The minor Creative Start Up Lab helps you in every aspect of starting up your own company. Lisa and Sophie can tell you all about it.
A business minor with major creative consequences

Lisa Stokking and Sophie Wennekes study Illustrated & Animated Storytelling at the St. Joost School of Art & Design. Longing to get a look beyond the walls of their own field, they applied for the minor Creative Start Up Lab at HKU. Sophie: ‘A mutual friend of ours had already done the minor last year and was very enthusiastic about it.’ Lisa initially chose the minor because of the company that she runs with her twin sister. ‘We never planned to start up a whole new enterprise, but Sophie and I eventually got to the point that we went for it anyway. And getting trained in the whole process from the start was amazing!’

Metal Music

Their ‘new’ company is called Studio Spinnenweb, which translates to ‘Spiderweb Studios’. Lisa and Sophie together came up with the idea during one of the first classes of the minor. They are both avid fans of metal music, and of making illustrations. Sophie: ‘It made me think: if we both share a love for metal, how can we combine that into a business? Well, by making illustrations for music: it’s perfect!’

That thought set the wheels in motion. Lisa: We did a lot of interviews with various metal bands. Currently we are the only design studio in the Netherlands for alternative music. We found a gap in the market and we jumped into it.’

Pushing the limits

The jump seems to be successful so far: there is a high demand for more professional branding in the metal scene. Mainly through their own social circle, Lisa and Sophie identified a need for this. With many of their friends playing in metal or alternative bands, the duo simply asked them whether they had a logo already. Sophie: ‘Most of them created their own logo or relied on someone they knew. We judged that the logos left lots of room for improvement, and that’s how the idea came to start designing them. For the small bands at first, because small-time artists should help each other out. But Lisa also knows the major names in the scene, so we decided to push our limits. In principle, we are open to all potential clients; everyone is welcome.’


An important aspect of the Creative Start Up Lab minor is doing research. Sophie: ‘They teach you to follow a research structure that is very helpful. How, who, and what are you going to test? And what is to be gained from that? They really guide you into the right direction and teach you the best methods for conducting research.’

Additionally, the minor offers lots of opportunity for individual studying and setting your individual goals. Lisa: ‘Sophie had an anxiety for presentations, for example. And so we kept on practicing presentations up to the point of excellence. You do everything as a group, and everyone helps each other. Which is also handy for building your network.’


Studio Spinnenweb itself is also working hard on their own branding. Sophie: ‘We have a logo and a trademark, but our website is still under construction. When that’s done, we will start actively promoting ourselves.’

Lisa continues: ‘Hopefully we will also gain momentum through word-of-mouth. We go to a lot of concerts, we are social, work on our network via artists, and often bump onto the same people. A bit of likeability and goodwill can get you quite far in this scene. We also try to serve as our own branding: people often recognise us because of our extravagant looks. We really fit with our own brand.’


It’s clear that these metal lovers have found their passion. But their dreams don’t end there. ‘When Studio Spinnenweb is standing firm, we would like to organise a festival with the people from our network. Small bands and artists who can make a name for themselves, coupled with some larger names in the line-up. Sophie ‘We are also thinking about our own clothing brand. Imagine how cool it would be to offer our own merchandise at Graspop Festival! And of the bands we represent, because eventually we want to be illustrating for band shirts and album covers as well.’

Lisa and Sophie would really recommend the minor if you want to learn everything about starting your own company and how to set goals for yourself. For those still in doubt, they have a tip. ‘We advise you to take the minor only when you have the strong wish and ambition to start your own company. It is hard getting started if that feeling is missing. Even though you don’t have a clear idea yet of what that company will be like; this minor will boost your confidence for the rest of your life. They make you feel like an individual creator who matters. And finishing the minor with that feeling, is truly a gift.’

Volg Studio Spinnenweb ook op instagram - @studio.spinnenweb