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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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… 🎈