For the last 5 years, I have been working as Head of Design for one of Scotland’s top ecommerce agencies.
During my time there, I was able to let my design skills flourish, making bespoke websites for big brand clients such as The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Glasgow Distillery, Toolstop, LAINGS, Greave Sports, and Trespass.
The owners, Pete and Gill are really nice people and have always been very supportive of me. It was great to have a job where I was given the time and creative freedom to produce quality design.
The hand drawn fruit for Demijohn is a prime example of what is possible when time is given for fine details, this is a type of work I’ve always enjoyed producing. Within my role, I was also encouraged to give regular talks and presentations. Most recently I spoke about engineering conversion through design at Microsoft’s Headquarters in Edinburgh.
Wait. Why leave a job you love?
It’s a good question, and it’s something I wrestled with internally for months. The best way to explain my reasoning is to tell the story of how we got here.
From the age of eight, I knew I wanted to be a web designer. It is a sector that allows me to work on meaningful projects and gain a viable career from a creative talent. It’s something I have always been passionate about.
I started Loudon Design two and a half years ago. While my intention was simply to freelance in my free time it quickly became a success, gaining our first international client just six days from the availability announcement (on twitter of all places).
Within the first month, I had to expand and worked hard on assembling a skilled remote team in multiple disciplines to facilitate the ever increasing work we were getting. By February of this year, that team had reached 10 members!
It was becoming increasingly clear to me that I would have to seriously consider going full-time and giving it more focus and attention.
The final decision was made when I thought about my role as an employee, realistically I could have remained in that position for a long time, however, if I had the courage to quit, I would actually be creating many more opportunities.
Someone new will get my role in INDEZ. Someone will get the positions from the companies I pulled my staff from. Plus I will be hiring more in the coming months and years.
It takes courage to go out on your own as a freelancer; never mind build an agency. Yet if everyone insisted on working solo there would be fewer jobs for everyone. To me, it’s clear that a certain percentage of businesses have to take that next step, and have the ambition to grow into a large company to create more jobs and career paths for the workforce that are coming up.
I find starting Loudon Design to help clients grow while also creating opportunity is more meaningful, and it made it a lot easier to forge forward with my plan.
In March I agreed to take on four staff full time if I include myself along with moving into a new office. An agency was growing, bubbling beneath the surface, I felt now was the time to give it life.
The growth curve for Loudon Design has surprised me but also gave me faith that we have a great future ahead of us. I would like to take the company into London and I have my eye on more international locations/markets.
My long term plan is to increase the team to around 20 staff, working in collaboration with talent all around the globe ensuring our clients are getting the best possible resources.
My aim is to be a leading UK agency, that is purely customer focused. Coming from a customer service background, everything we do is to help and support businesses achieve better numbers and make the most of their investment.
The agency at the moment is made up of four high-quality members of staff. I can’t name names as not everyone has given their notice yet, but here is some information about the skills sets involved.
Our technical architect is one of the best in his field having built commercial software for many of the biggest companies in business today.
We have a fantastic Front-end developer that produces the cleanest WordPress builds I have ever reviewed or been involved with.
I am very pro youth and think more should be done to extend opportunities to young people, so with that in mind, our marketing executive and videographer will be trained in-house while attending college studying film & photography. I am pleased to be giving her commercial experience and look forward to seeing her progression.
Lastly we have myself, currently, I will be splitting my role between running the company and also working as the principal designer within the business. I’ve worked with the web for over 16 years and come from an ecommerce/web software background.
I feel fortunate to have a highly skilled team from day one. Part of any business’s success is hiring the best team possible and we certainly have that already.
We have moved into a centrally located space in Glasgow. Sharing an office with one of the best video companies in Scotland – 29studios.
One of the things I look forward to about this is how much easier it will be to meet with clients and attend networking events. I am a social person and enjoy mixing with other businesses and finding out where we may be able to help.
Whilst I am sad to be leaving Scotland’s best web design job, I have created myself another one. I am excited to see Loudon Design take off and hopefully achieve all the potential I see in it. We have a lot of great ideas and projects in the pipeline and I can’t wait to bring everything we have to the market.