View from the Black Room - May 2017

View from the Black Room - May 2017

Author: View from the Black Room - May 2017 — Read time: 4 mins

Strawberry is set to enter its 25th year in business this November, and as we approach that date, I’ve been reflecting on how the business has evolved over the years.

Jonathan Leafe
Jonathan Leafe

Change is what’s made Strawberry the company it is today. From just Susie and me working from a corner of the office at 15 Strawberry Street all those years ago, to now being based in Hull’s creative epicentre at the C4Di.

With no internet, a VERY slow network and desktop publishing software in its infancy running on slow computers, Susie and I produced countless adverts and magazine pages for many different publishing clients. I also remember getting my first email address — which was fairly useless as I didn’t know anyone else who had one! I think I used to check it once a week. Ah, bliss.

We built, (or Dom did), our very first website in 1998 using Adobe GoLive (the rival to Dreamweaver). How things have changed in a relatively short space of time!

The web team went through a few iterations before James joined us in 2005, on his own, parked in a corner of the office somewhere. Since he joined us we’ve built bespoke websites, developed our own ecommerce platform and we’re now a Shopify Plus partner.

The online marketing team effectively started with Sarah — with no clients and no turnover. We now provide a diverse range of ‘mission critical’ services to our clients across the agency.

The creative team was born out of the publishing business as we started to provide more bespoke branding and creative marketing services.

Creative marketing is still at our core, as it informs all of what we do. It’s our point of difference, whether we’re creating new brands, running online marketing campaigns or designing ‘world class’ ecommerce and retail solutions.

Whilst we may well have changed what we do and refreshed the tools we use to do it, the heart of what we do hasn’t changed at all. As important now as it was then is our personal touch and dedicated hard work to get the right outcomes for our clients. People deal with people and we should never lose sight of that.

Strawberry has always had a dedication to ‘growing our own’ and developing talent. We still have eight people on the team who started their careers with Strawberry as apprentices and at least another eight or so who joined us as first job graduates. StrawberryToo proves our dedication to that cause and we’re very proud of it — I’ve not come across another company like StrawberryToo anywhere.

So, as we move into our 25th year, I thought it was an opportune time to carry on Strawberry’s mission and hand over the reigns to Dom, James and Pete.

It’s continuity though, as James and Dom have been at senior level for nearly a decade, so thoroughly understand the business and both are at the right time in their careers to kick-on. Pete joining us is also perfectly timed — his experience in the creative industry will provide invaluable support to them both.

I’m looking forward to my new role as chairman and I’ll be here to mentor, challenge and support the senior management team as they take Strawberry into the next 25 years. I’m very confident the company is in safe hands.

When I look back to Susie’s and my first day on 1/11/1993, it fills me with enormous pride to see what Strawberry has become.