Posted 19 June 2024
Interview by Isabelle Cassidy
Mention Jacob Stratfold

Jacob Stratfold on how embracing his personality helped him secure a dream job

Growing up in the small coastal town of Whitley Bay in the North East, Jacob Stratfold didn’t know any creatives. He knew he wanted a job where he could express himself, but had no idea how to embark on a creative career. Years later, after stints in-house working in social for Minor Figures and Wagamama, Jacob's recently secured a creative producer role at OK COOL, a social-first creative studio. Here, he explains how showing his personality helped his job search, what his current role involves and why authenticity is key!

Jacob Stratfold

Jacob Stratfold

Job Title

Creative Producer, OK COOL (2024–present)



Previous Employment

Junior Digital Designer & Content Creator, Minor Figures (2022-2023)
Social Executive, Wagamama (2023-2024)

Place of Study

BA Fashion Communication, Northumbria University, 2019–2022


Social Media


What I do

How would you describe what you do as a creative producer for social content?
As a creative producer at OK COOL, I take briefs from conception to final delivery, leading brainstorming sessions and creating much of the content myself. I handle creative project management, art direction, and client collaboration as well as engaging in some production responsibilities, like being a production assistant on shoots.

Before this you worked as a social executive, can you tell us how your role evolved?
As a social executive at Wagamama, I was initially responsible for coming up with ideas and executing them for Wagamama social channels – from designing seamless carousels to editing TikToks. As I grew in my role and gained new responsibilities, I started doing more and more, like identifying and negotiating creators to work with for campaigns and helping out on bigger-scale shoots with lots of moving parts. My role evolved from making TikToks and Instagram assets to helping with creative concepts across different projects.

Was working in social always your goal?
No, my goal was always to be creative but I didn’t know what kind. I didn’t go to any uni open days, because at the time I had no interest in leaving my home city of Newcastle. My high school also focused on more traditional degrees and didn’t offer much advice when it came to choosing creative subjects.

I chose to study Fashion Communication on a whim while walking my dogs when I was doing A-levels. On Fashion Communication, you get to do everything from journalism to photography. Reading about the course on their website excited me enough to make it my first choice.

Also, I always felt out of place in sixth form because I liked to dress colourfully, so I really wanted to be on a course where I could express myself how I wanted without people being mean to me. In my final year of uni, I leant towards jobs in social because I felt they often were more open to your creative ideas from an entry-level position.


Shots for a Wagamama


The images displayed on an A-board




Was there a time you experienced this openness to ideas?
Near the start of my role at Wagamama we had an event for an activation. I took my Dad's old digital camera because I enjoy taking candid moments of friends and capturing those special human interactions. I took a photo of my manager's friend eating one of the Wagamama dishes. This was then later made into one of the placemats because my superiors liked the image.

This opened new doors for me with being tasked to shoot more food content, which helped improve my skills in directing and confidence in editing. A couple of these photos were then made into additional placemats, and a board like this year's Veganuary placemat with my manager as the model.

Would you say you need any specific training for what you do?
For my roles, I need to know how to use the Adobe Creative Suite confidently because I am often creating things from scratch. However, I taught myself by watching YouTube tutorials throughout uni and school. Peers I have worked with in the past had no Adobe experience, just a really good idea of what's possible to direct people who can make their vision happen.

One of Jacob's images from the Mental Health Swims x wagamama event

What’s been your favourite project to work on from the past year, and why?
I have been lucky to work on many exciting projects. One of my favourites isn't because of how big and exciting it was, but because of the people involved. Wagamama started a partnership with Mental Health Swims, a charitable organisation that encourages people to start cold water swimming in lidos and seas across the country for the mental health benefits, and to foster community.

I was tasked to take some digi-cam photos of one of these swims for social content/ internal bits-and-bobs in the West Reservoir Centre in Hackney where we were giving away free food, tea and merch. I remember being apprehensive, but I helped set up our space, met the lovely founder of the charity and managed to convince my partner to join in on the swim. I then took portraits of the swimmers, and having the opportunity to capture such a friendly environment on my tiny little digital camera made me feel so lucky to do what I do. Making something creative that feels optimistic is my favourite thing to do.

You recently got a new job at OK COOL, tell us a bit about this!
My job at OK COOL is a lot more fast-paced and intense than my previous two roles (in-house for Minor Figures and Wagamama). Working on the agency side is a very different experience, but I've found it refreshing not to be limited to one singular set of brand guidelines. It allows you to really be creative and have the opportunity to work on many exciting projects.

“With imposter syndrome, I've learnt to keep reminding myself I'm here because of my ability and I'm exactly where I need to be.”

How I got here

What was your journey like when you were first starting out?
I found it really difficult at first. I grew up in Whitley Bay on the North East coast and was never really around any creatives. I didn’t know how to be one, or how a ‘real’ one acted. I also didn’t know anyone who moved to another city and tried to pursue this industry until much later at university. I had no idea what jobs were even available.

I remember watching the YouTube video from I-D, on ‘What It’s Like To Be A 16-Year-Old In London Today’ when I was 17 and feeling alienated; what they were portraying was so far from what I was surrounded by in a grey run-down seaside town. I felt like I shouldn't even try to get into the industry because I would fail.

At university, meeting other like-minded people, I realised there is no single way a creative should look or act. We are all different and from loads of different backgrounds.

Some of Jacob's social media work for Wagamama

Did you experience self-doubt?
When starting out I experienced imposter syndrome, something I still feel today. I had doubts like 'I'm not very good at Adobe' or 'I don’t deserve my job, I'm going to get sacked'. I've learnt to keep reminding myself that I'm here because of my ability and I'm exactly where I need to be.

I also faced an extreme amount of rejection, it was like rejection therapy on steroids. I got ghosted more professionally than on any dating app I have ever tried, with denial after denial. I would sob from time to time while walking my dogs in this park near my house, thinking maybe this industry isn't for me. My emails became a harbinger of doom, with a tidal wave of corporate text translations of 'naa sorry'. I found this difficult, but I reminded myself you only need to hear one 'yes' and the odds are always in your favour.

“I got ghosted more professionally than on any dating app I have ever tried, but I reminded myself you only need to hear one 'yes'.”

How did you go about landing your first job?
I landed my first job at Minor Figures through the job listing on UAL Opportunities, a great job board that you don’t need to be a UAL student to access! The job advert asked for a couple of years of experience, which I ignored because I thought it was worth trying anyway.

I sent them a very light CV, with my only professional experience being bartending, uni and my cover letter. I also made a video talking about myself. My theory was that it’s easy for the people receiving the applications to forget you’re a real person. I thought by forcing them to listen to my voice and seeing my face they would feel bad about saying no!

I watched some After Effects YouTube tutorials and created very basic stop-motion graphics to go alongside a script I wrote on my phone. I ended the video with me talking to the camera saying why they should hire me – and laying out my personality without a filter. This landed me an e-interview and then another in-person interview, which landed me the role.

Social video for Minor Figures

How did you secure your current role?
For the OK COOL role, someone I'd met previously messaged me about putting me forward for an open role at the agency. This got me an interview where I did two rounds and a task, but I was ultimately unsuccessful because they wanted someone with more experience.

Over a year later, I was now at Wagamama constantly posting my work, especially socials work, on my Instagram. The same person reached out and asked if I wanted to try to interview again, for a new role. I agreed because someone once gave me advice to give everything a chance. After two interviews, I was offered the role and took it because it sounded like a challenge.

“I leant towards jobs in social as I felt they were more open to your creative ideas from an entry-level position.”

How important are social media and self-promotion to your work?
For me, it's very important. Having a public Instagram and website which communicates your essence well means when your name is mentioned, people have an easy-to-access resource to see exactly what you are about.

Posting your work on Instagram or TikTok increases the chances of people who can give you work seeing your work, and lets people see bits of your personality. I only have around 900 followers on Instagram and 200-odd connections on LinkedIn, but you never know who might scroll through your feeds.


Some of Jacob's photography work





My advice

What are three things that you’ve found useful to your work or career, and why?
YouTube tutorials have been the most useful to me to learn various bits of software. is the best place I have come across to find references. It’s like Pinterest and combined and really helps me find cool bits of inspiration

I’m a huge fan of ‘The Rest is Entertainment’ podcast with Richard Osman and Marina Hyde, because it answers many questions on how things are done in the journalism and the entertainment industry. I also find movies to be a great source of inspiration, so a Cineworld or Odeon movie pass.

Finally, Readymag as a website builder. I have tried a bunch but Readymag is great with lots of tutorials on TikTok about how to use it. I know that’s more than three!

Social video by Jacob for Minor Figures

What have been your greatest learnings with making money and supporting yourself as a creative?
To never give up. It can be pretty turbulent but you have to just keep looking forward. Also, follow a bunch of freelance directors and small production companies on Instagram because they will often post last-minute jobs on their stories.

To find them I would look through hashtags, It’s Nice That articles and go through who they follow on Instagram.

What’s the best career-related advice you’ve ever received?
It came from a lecturer at uni. We had a module to design portfolio websites for ourselves, and I designed a white, minimal-looking one, because I saw other people in the industry have websites like that.

He said to me that “This is shit Jacob, because I know you and you’re a bright colourful person and this doesn’t show that”. From that day forward, I made sure everything I made to promote myself felt like me.

Interview by Isabelle Cassidy
Mention Jacob Stratfold