Happy Birthday Bearded Fellows 🎈

September 17, 2020 by Bearded Matthew


BF just turned 8! Here’s a little about our story, what’s kept us going & our Creative Agency learnings   

 

Bearded Beginnings

We often get asked how we started a Video and Animation Agency. The truth is that we didn’t do it the easy way. We all studied at Manchester Met Uni and had Bearded Matthew as a mutual friend. Graduating from Uni we all proudly held on to our creative degrees – ready to pursue our dream arty careers. As we waited for said arty career to take off, Matthew invited us to begin working on some creative projects. As we collaborated and got to know each other, we quickly realised that as a four, we had a special creative energy. It just worked and we complimented each others skills – Theatre, Fine Art, Film, Contemporary Art. Recognising that our work and creative ideologies aligned, we decided to trust each other and to jump in to growing a business together.

 

How do you start a Video & Animation Agency?

What type of creative business we were going to set up we didn’t really know. The truth is that we had no clue what we were really doing. Starting a Creative Agency in a recession was tough to say the least. There was no glitz and as a diverse bunch, we all faced our own barriers. None of us had even worked in a Creative Agency – let alone set one up. We lacked the networks, the learnings and the experience that many agency owners use as a foundation. What we did have was passion, tenacity and the shared desire to grow a company rooted in the quest for creative collaboration. We also had the burning desire not to be skint anymore – but in reality this took a while to work out.

 

Turning Weakness into Strength

We worked smart and we focused. We quickly learnt that our mixed backgrounds and our inexperience in ‘Agency World’ were actually our strengths. We were different. We naturally saw and approached things through a range of creative lenses and our clients loved this. What we didn’t know we learnt. We were open and (possibly naively) honest and eager for genuine collaboration. We helped out our networks and in return they helped us back. This ‘no bullshit’,  ‘non Agency’ way of communicating became our strength and it’s still something we are known for today.

 

Bearded Fellows 8 Years On

Hopefully we are now less rookie but ultimately, Bearded Fellows is still built on friendship and trust. We’ve spent a lot of time reflecting and understanding who we are as a business. We have a solid shared understanding of our vision, purpose, mission & values and what our individual and shared roles are within this. We know what the company stands for and where it’s going.

We are growing BF’s culture so that the clients and communities we work with can believe in the brand as much as we do and feel an equal part of it. Bearded Fellows is a combination of the people that make it. We are not a product or a thing, we are people. And if the people aren’t happy then BF isn’t a business.

Bearded Fellows now exists beyond ‘us’  – and that’s a wonderful thing.

 

Know your Values:

These are the values that ground us and that influence our decision making. We think they they are the key to us reaching Eight.
  • Business is personal – we are honest and transparent & work hard to create a positive environment.
  • We are better together than alone – we seek creative collaboration in all we do and we demystify the creative process.
  • We help and support our networks. We grow together.
  • Diversity is our power. We actively seek out and work with people from under represented groups in our industry. Our Education Programmes break down barriers.   
  • We dig deep for true insights for our clients. We use curiosity and empathy to unearth these. 

 

Bearded Matthew and Bearded Florin

Bearded Joe and Bearded Matthew

Bearded Samson in awe

Bearded Fellows Creative meeting

 

Learnings:

Looking back, we’ve learned a lot the hard way. Here are some key things that really resonate with us and keep us in check.

  • Enjoy and embrace change, it was probably needed
  • Your business can be whatever you you want it to be.
  • Don’t panic. Stay on track
  • Stay positive and work towards the future even when the present is completely unfounded and scary
  • Don’t stress things you are not in control of. Accept them, mitigate for them and plan around them
  • Always be evolving you sales and marketing strategy to add strings to your bow. You may suddenly need them
  • Check in on your people, co-directors, colleagues and freelancers a – like. We all need to support each other.

 

It goes without saying that we are here because of our networks and the amazing clients we work with, so thank you all. Here’s to the next 8 years… 🎈

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M3 3BQ

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