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The Media Centre’s ‘Aye! Creative’ triples client base in two years

Aye! Creative, a branding communications company based at The Media Centre, Huddersfield, has tripled its client base following just two years of trading. This recent growth and stream of new business has prompted the duo to upgrade their office space and appoint freelance copywriter Sean Ritchie.

Specialising in telling clients’ stories through branding, website development, design and graphics, Aye Creative was established in May 2014 by ex-Batley Art School students Oli Smith and Andy Finnerty. Originally based in a garden shed – complete with chickens – the founders sub-let a desk in The Media Centre four months later.

But with swift expansion came the need for more space, which prompted the move into a co-working environment in September 2014.

Oli said: “We knew we had a real opportunity to get this venture off the ground, but we had to look the part too and be centrally located. The Media Centre’s CEO Brent Woods therefore offered us a monthly rolling contract in this collaborative space, which gave us a flexible route to take our business to the next level, with minimal risk.

“Armed with a postal address with The Media Centre’s name on it, we were soon recognised as a credible business, which saw us secure work from all corners of Huddersfield.’’

Client wins have since included Creative Scene – an arts organisation run by Batley Festival, Kirklees Council and the Lawrence Batley Theatre; Slaithwaite-based Empire Brewing; Crowther chartered accountants; and renowned cake company Patisserie Valerie.

But, with ambitious goals for 2016, plans to double turnover by the end of the year and the need for another full-time employee, Aye! Creative is once again on the move. The team will now occupy its own dedicated office in The Media Centre’s Lord Street building.

Andy said: “Our co-working space has provided us with a creative and collaborative platform from which to grow – very much a concentrated version of what The Media Centre offers on the whole. We’ve benefitted from the camaraderie of this space, not to mention a dash of healthy competition. But with an increasing need to host our own meetings, it’s time for an office dedicated solely to the work of Aye! Creative.”

With a number of potential projects in the pipeline, including work with Huddersfield solicitors Austin Kemp, business development specialists Steadcross, Leeds-based architects Ellis Healey, and BM Property & Projects, based in Huddersfield and Spain, the future looks bright for this entrepreneurial business.

Oli added: “We’ve maximised every possible opportunity we’ve been able to get our hands on, in an environment which capitalises on the benefits of clustering. We’ve networked at both The Media Centre’s formal events and simply in the on-site café over coffee, and have embraced the chance to work alongside organisations that are, quite honestly, our competition.

“We’ve learned very quickly that to flourish in the modern business environment, you need to learn from every experience and soak up what knowledge you can along the way.”

In the past 12 months The Media Centre has recorded highest ever occupancy in its 20 year history, a sign that the local business climate is confident and buoyant. A recent survey of The Media Centre’s businesses also revealed that 80 per cent expect turnover to grow in the next two years.

Aye Creative
Oli Smith and Andy Finnerty

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