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OUR COMPANY CULTURE AND VALUES

Once upon a time, in a little town called Garforth...

..I turned up into the world. And from the moment I could grasp a wax crayon, I was drawing up an imaginary world - superheroes, movie characters (by the age of 7 I was the world's biggest Star Wars fan, collecting every Star Wars toy I could get my hands on with my pocket money). So from being not much more than a toddler, I've been passionate about drawing and creating. One standout memory was when I entered the Palitoy Star Wars competition. As a huge Star Wars fan, I eagerly submitted my artwork, and at that age you believe anything is possible, I somehow fully believed in my ability to win. To my obvious delight, I received the national first prize in my age group ten months later, further fuelling my determination to pursue a creative path.

Student life was a blast. I started art full-time vocational (like working at a proper job in a proper studio) art college when I was just 16. It was a great experience. I started getting into indie bands and my existing lifelong passion for music went into overdrive as I got heavily into the 'indie' scene and started buying up (vinyl) records every week. This was accompanied by almost weekly visits to live gigs. Mostly to the Duchess of York pub in Leeds, but also to the Warehouse club and the various Uni and polytechnic gigs that were on the go.
This went on from the mid 1980's to the mid 1990s. During the full 3 years at college I worked my way through it paying my way as best I could with a job as a 'housekeeping porter' at my local Hotel. It was really hard graft but I had to get my beer / record / gig / weird student clothes - money from somewhere I guess.

Then on leaving college, well, that's where it all began, and a story for another time - mostly told across the rest of the pages of this website to be fair. My journey in the creative industry has been a privilege of experiences, none of which I would swap.

And outside of work, it's all being about being a husband and a dad and a family man (but you'll hear more about that later), bringing our kids up as the resident 'children's entertainer' with silly games, stories and jokes, and my special talent for comedy voices, accents and impressions (always wins over a crowd).

I also believe in the power of genuine connections and friendships. So, if you're curious to learn more, let's grab a coffee and swap some stories now you've heard some of mine.

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and then along came Kathryn

I can't say that my school years went without a hitch, but I can say that in the main I enjoyed them. I liked learning, and certainly in my earlier years, I was very competitive on that score. I went to Heckmondwike Grammar School and for several years I planned to be a maths teacher - until the ads in the Yorkshire Post led me to believe that a Chartered Accountant might be a better option.

Overall I have fond memories of school. TC (our headteacher) at the first year school disco in his cerise pink mohair jumper and Jesus sandals. Getting a tad tipsy on a skiing trip and hating red wine for the subsequent 20 years. Being Priestley House Captain, going to the local pub with several of the teachers, going en masse for tea to Ginny's (our early 20's economics teacher so named because of her fondness for a particular tipple). Winning the 400m in the school sports day (which wasn't particularly cool at 17 years old). And our 6th form trips away to Malham (amongst others) were always good for a laugh.

After leaving school I worked at Wm Morrisons as a management trainee - just as trollies requiring £1 coins were introduced. Lucky me! Trolley duty for the whole local intake. I subsequently enjoyed the roles of patisserie manager (oh the extra weight from the end-of-day sale cakes!), new store operations personnel, in the wages and personnel department at head office, and as a Personnel Officer. But having reached the ripe old age of 22 I felt that a change was due, and decided to go to university to study accountancy. In the interim I took a new temporary job to gain accounts experience at a company in Bradford. There the role kind of grew around me and included admin, wages, personnel, production planning ,export, IP and whatever else was thrown my way. Forget uni - I stayed there for 18 years before I finally joined forces with Howard to help him grow his then freelance business.
During that time I had three amazing children. I was always OK with pregnancy and was very fortunate in that I didn't have a single bout of morning sickness and worked to full term with all three, even going into labour on the way home from work with the third (silly me!).

So what facts about me have I missed along the way?

Well i'm a pretty good dancer, only giving up ballroom and latin lessons when I was 37 weeks pregnant with Megan. And I met Howard through salsa dancing.

I hate the gym but I do like a good Les Mills or Legs, bums and tums class. And I must confess, I am now a tad partial to a nice glass of red wine. I'm a qualified Open Water Scuba Diver (along with my youngest son), and having spontaneously booked us all onto an activity holiday post covid (much to the horror of others in the house), it turns out I'm actually quite game for pushing myself outside of my physical comfort zone.

Above all, I like a bit of a laugh, and that tends to be a key ingredient in most of my conversations. And why not! who knows, maybe I'll have chance to have a laugh with you soon…


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followed by the tribe

Meet Meg, Joshua, and Edward, our dynamic trio who keep us on our toes and remind us daily of the importance of balance and resilience. They’ve grown up surrounded by the hustle and bustle of entrepreneurship, and they've learned first hand the value of hard work, determination, and the idea that anything can be possible with enough self-belief.

Meg, our eldest, is carving out her path in the world of musical theatre from her base in London, plus touring with the likes of Jason Donovan and Alexandra Burke. Suffice to say that we couldn't be prouder of her talent and accomplishments.

Joshua, our practical problem-solver, balances his role as an electrician with his duties as the family handyman, always ready to lend a helping hand with fixing stuff about the house (much to Howard's relief - definitely not his thing!).

And then there's our young singer / actor Edward, whose boundless energy and creative spirit keep us all laughing and inspired. He's also an alternative music fan and unashamed sci-fi nerd like his dad.
We've had to learn to blend our roles as business owners and parents. Our days are often a whirlwind of meetings, deadlines, 'dad's taxi' runs, and FaceTime calls listening to audition pieces, and lots more, but that's life and we appreciate every twist and turn that makes us who we are. 

And of course, along the way, there's been the godsend family summer holidays, Saturday evenings eating out at our favourite Italian restaurant, lazy summer Sunday afternoons in the back garden, and many a family theatre trip to the West End - it’s not all work work work.

But if you ever find yourself struggling to keep all those plates spinning, just know that you're not alone. We're right there with you, navigating the ups and downs of business, family and personal life with equal parts grace and grit. After all, our kids are a testament to the fact that with a lots of love, laughter, patience and a whole lot of coffee, anything is possible.

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along the way...
CARE . SHARE . WEAR
Our journey with our late, dear friend Mandy Taylor MBE and the Charity Angels project was nothing short of inspiring. When Mandy approached us with her vision, we knew we had to jump on board. With our expertise in branding and marketing, we were honoured to lend our support. 

The aim of Mandy's vision was to change the perception of charity shop clothing. Mandy had long supported The Forget Me Not Children's Hospice, and knew that getting donations wasn't a huge problem. However, in order for the charity benefit, as with the rest of the world, it's the sales that put the pennies and the pounds in the kitty. 
Together, we helped bring Mandy's dream to life, culminating in the unforgettable Care Share Wear fashion show. Mandy's infectious enthusiasm and tireless efforts united the community, while our branding and marketing efforts helped spread the word far and wide. As Mandy so kindly put it, "The work of the Angels, especially Howard and Kathy...just goes to show that there truly are some amazing people out there."

Reflecting on our involvement fills us with pride and gratitude to this day. This is not about recognition or accolades; it's about looking for opportunities to serve, using our skills to make a meaningful impact. In the end, it's the connections we make and the lives we touch that matter most.

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INVOLVE ADVENTURES
For several years (and from time to time even still to this day) we have partnered with Geoff Major to assist his 'INVOLVE' fundraising initiatives. Geoff's desire to make a difference (and do a fair few bonkers things in the process) led him on a series of globe-trotting adventures, from cycling across Cuba to trekking to the North Pole, to crossing the Sahara.

While we may not have been the ones embarking on these daring feats, we were there behind the scenes, creating graphics, banners, flags and exhibition stands to help support his cause. on a part pro bono, part matched funded basis. And we were glad to contribute our skills to Geoff's cause, knowing that together, we were making a meaningful impact in our community and beyond.

In the end, it's the collective efforts of individuals like Geoff, along with the support of allies like us, that make a difference in the world. That's no bad thing in our book.Watch out for his next adventure!
BUY YORKSHIRE
Our journey with Geoff Shepherd and The Yorkshire Mafia began with a humble gesture of support, collaborating on a charity mountain climb fundraiser for Candlelighters. A strong bond formed, rooted in mutual admiration and shared values. The Yorkshire Mafia evolved into a vital force driving economic growth across Yorkshire.

Our partnership thrived as we contributed to flagship initiatives like the Buy Yorkshire Conference, providing branding, marketing, and premium event programmes. Over time, the conference became a thriving platform for innovation and collaboration.

Now in 2024, there are definite signs of signs of a significant resurgence in The Yorkshire Mafia brand, and we look forward to once again having an opportunity to support The Yorkshire Mafia community and help the economy of our beloved county of Yorkshire.

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STEPTEAM 
We're proud to have played a role in the STEPteam programme, an initiative aimed at bringing business education into schools and inspiring young entrepreneurs. Entirely funded in collaboration with two like-minded small business owners and ourselves, STEPteam provided primary school children with a hands-on experience in entrepreneurship. Through engaging lesson plans and real-life business challenges, students learned valuable skills while igniting their entrepreneurial spirit. 
Our creation and development of the programme earned local nominations at the time for New Business of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year, reflecting our commitment to education and entrepreneurship in general. But we didn't do it for the awards. To see the impact that it had in the various schools in a community where opportunity was sadly lacking was absolutely amazing and we loved being part of the experience.

OUT TO CHANGE THE FORTUNES OF THE UK, ONE SMALL PERSON AT A TIME

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Getting to know you...

After each Personal Brand Works shoot, we love to celebrate with a ‘pizza and a pint’ wrap party at our favourite local restaurant, which is actually a family hangout spot for us too. It's not just about the meal – it's a chance to unwind, connect with others, and enjoy good food and company in a place that feels like home.
These gatherings have become popular with our clients and provide a great opportunity for networking on our larger shoot days - where it can double as a chance to meet other business people, share ideas, and also tap into our own expertise in design, branding, and marketing over the course of the meal.

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And here we are
Networking is something we just LOVE doing. It's not just about exchanging business cards (although we create very nice ones - just saying!) or pitching our services; it's about building genuine connections with people who share our passion for business and community. 

We genuinely enjoy meeting new people, getting out of the day-to-day and socialising. We're focused on real relationships and finding opportunities to serve others. So, if you ever spot us at a networking event (you never know), come say hi! We're always up for a chat and we don't bite, I promise. Let's grab a coffee (or something stronger if we've left the car at home) and see where the conversation takes us!
Having a physical base of operations is pretty important to us. It helps us build and train our people, it creates a creative energy that cannot be replicated with people working in isolation. Our good friend and client (we did their branding) Jon Newall at Prosura had one of his spaces in the building become available and we snapped it up there and then and have not looked back. 

It’s in Silkwood Park, Wakefield which is really easy to find and to access for visitors - literally straight off J40 on the M1, and only a 10 minute taxi ride from Wakefield Westgate train station. And we are literally next to a pretty nice gym that we all go to, so that’s pretty cool. 

We're also only a stones-throw away from an on site Costa (other coffee shops are available... er... but not anywhere near us) for a chat with clients, and only 15 minutes from Zucchini's restaurant if you needed yet more reasons to pop over and see us 😊

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