Beware of scams

We are aware of scams coming from email and social media where people try to impersonate us. We will never ask you for money or your bank details. Learn more about what to look out for and how to protect yourself.

Naked Ape Brands

Naked Ape Brands received their two Start Up Loans via SWIG Finance and were first attracted to taking out a Start Up Loan because it is government backed.

The business is a branding agency with a twist. They use a unique process that combines anthropology and award-winning design. Unlike many research agencies who focus on insights alone, or design agencies who focus on the visual alone, their core team works in harmony, bridging the ‘brand gap’ between logic of insights and magic of design.

The female-led agency is committed to creating an environment that allows neurodivergent minds to thrive.

Q&A with the Founders

What inspired you to set up your business?

Firstly, we saw traditional consumer testing wasn’t effective. We observed the brands that went the distance and stayed profitable had a robust social strategy behind them. After launching countless brands at other agencies we joined forces with an anthropologist, and set out to change how design agencies ‘do’ branding with a human-focused approach that doesn’t rely on self-reported data to drive creative decisions.

Furthermore, we founded Naked Ape to support the need for flexible working, particularly for the women in the team. Juggling childcare, IVF and hormone changes with demanding working hours and no job security meant we always worried about what would happen if we took the time off work we needed. When my (Siena’s) career and partnership at a US firm was negatively impacted by requesting leave for IVF and more accommodating working hours, it was now or never to set up the kind of environment that would support us in the long term and hopefully inspire other agencies to follow our example.

How are things going now, and what has been your biggest achievement so far?

It’s a challenge to be taken seriously in a male dominated industry. We’re having some great conversations and are excited about working with like-minded brands who don’t expect a female-led agency to be charging lower freelance rates. Our first project is about to launch which is incredibly exciting. Our biggest achievement to date is working together with four other directors to develop our purpose, our raison d’être and our website launch.

How did you come up with your company name?

It was a big pivot for us from Idea Dolls, an agency set up by three of the directors back in 2017. Our incredible copywriter Helle pointed out that Idea Dolls didn’t represent our new USP – to use anthropology and storytelling to resonate more powerfully with audiences. We were ID Studio at first, and then Helle suggested Naked Ape – we wrestled with the challenge of losing our brand equity for Idea Dolls, and our SEO ranking, but the name was catchy, and we kept coming back to it. Naked Ape Brands was the start of our clear direction and strategic positioning – plus, we couldn’t believe the name wasn’t taken so immediately trademarked it and purchased the domain.

What’s the best thing about running your own business?

Choosing which projects and prospects to approach. We’ve actually turned prospects away after looking into their company and deciding it wasn’t for us – for example meat companies with questionable ethics or pet food companies with questionable ingredients. We need to really believe in and fully support each project we work on. So saying no – even if it means a hit to our profit is, oddly liberating.

We’ve worked hard to cement wonderful bonds between the directors and partners. We really support each other, such as through bouts of Covid and IVF struggles while celebrating exciting life changes like weddings and engagements.

What are your plans for the future of your business?

Continuing to support brilliant and like-minded brands. Our greater vision is to open physical office locations in Bristol, Brighton and London while expanding our offering to the US. It’s important to have a physical location with spaces that support the needs of neurodiverse team members – like private soundproofed offices, a creative brainstorm area and a ‘sensory room’ for times of cognitive overstimulation – a complete opposite to the standard practice of open plan offices with glaring lights and distracting phones.

Do you employ anyone, excluding yourself?


Published on 19 December 2023

Feeling Inspired?