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Our History

Laying the foundations

Back in 2001 when we first formed Bespoke, the internet was new for everyone.

We started the business by ringing through the yellow pages.

200 calls per day would often yield 3 meetings, and 3 meetings would often yield 1 booking.

It was hard work but there was a determination to build something.

 

Living the high life

We worked out of a loft above a nightclub, and some nights, we'd still be working when the music started below.

Dry ice would sometimes rise through the floorboards whilst we were designing, and that was a cue that it was time to go home.

Like any business, initially it is a case of putting in the hours to make ends meet until the business can stand on its own two feet.

It was exciting and a journey into the unknown, not least because the internet was new to everybody including our customers.

 

Engaged tones

It's hard to believe but back in these early days, many potential clients didn't have the internet in their offices.

This meant that in off-site consultation meetings, we'd need to take a modem, connect to their phone line and dial up in order to look at examples of websites.

Which in turn meant their phone line was engaged for the duration of the meeting!

It wasn't ideal but those were the times, and we helped plenty of businesses progress and get a website, and get online.

 

2001-2003
Introducing the internet to North-West businesses,
and providing them with their first ever web presence
2001-2003

THE MAGIC FORMULA

Graduating from startup status

There's an energy about a startup, especially when it's been formed by first-time business owners.

That culture has to change to some degree when you start employing your first staff, as you have a responsibility to them.

It was a big step appointing our first full-time member of staff, but it also showed us the startup had been a success.

Whilst having 3 and then 4 people in the team seems small now, it was big news for us back in 2004.

 

The birth of broadband

This was a big time for us in other ways too, with 56kps connections being replaced with broadband that was 20x faster.

Suddenly we could introduce animation into our designs, and high resolution imagery.

And with broadband starting to make its way into the homes of the UK, E-commerce started taking off in a big way.

As an already established provider, Bespoke was in a great position to serve that new market.

 

The blueprint for success

Whilst only a few years old ourselves, we understood the internet and in particular Google and how it worked.

That meant we could guide E-commerce startups from zero turnover to becoming established businesses themselves.

We got to know the DNA of a successful E-commerce website, and repeated the formula over and over for our clients.

This in turn meant we were in demand and helped us grow to the point where it was no longer enough to operate from a loft above a nightclub.

2004-2006
Becoming a grown up business,
and helping others start their businesses
2004-2006

OVERCOMING OBSTACLES

Becoming a grown up

By 2007 with clients such as Baxi, Lancashire Police Authority and EMI Records on our books, we'd realised it was time to invest in proper offices.

We also realised we needed a bigger team and that account managers made better account managers than web developers!

So we took a discussion to relocate to Preston Riversway and expand to a staff of 6.

It was the right move- our turnover doubled and it was also much easier to hold meetings with clients on-site.

 

Working to our strengths

By this stage the internet had grown so quickly, everybody wanted a website and everybody wanted to be the top of Google.

But conversely, everyone also wanted to start a web agency and for a relatively long established agency, that was difficult.

Having entered the market very early, we needed to adapt quickly and to do that we needed a very strong focus on who we were.

We realised we were more business-aware than many new generation agencies and we had very good technical experience.

 

Putting a plan in place

It became our objective then to share that expertise with as many businesses as possible and it became our mantra to "build £1m businesses".

We took so many companies from £0 to £1m turnover online that it almost became our specialiality and it was something few others could do.

At a time when the market became hugely congested, and in the first experience of recession, we remained strong because of these strengths.

Whilst it was necessary to be careful in this landscape, we had a very clear plan of where we wanted to end up, and what we wanted to look like when the economic and competitive climate would allow.

2007-2010
Helping people from £0 to £1m turnover online,
in times of recession and increased competition
2007-2010

Move, Rebrand, Restructure

Establishing an optimisation arm

In 2011 we set a plan to grow the business in a more significant but still very controlled manner.

Our initial aim was to grow from 7 to 12 staff and to add consultancy and training to our offering.

We also set up an ethical SEO service in anticipation of Google's clampdown on black hat techniques, which hurt various competitors.

We began a process of rebranding and of searching for new premises with an inbuilt training centre in a more accessible location.

 

Sharing our knowledge with others

In 2012 we completed our move to new build premises, within 2 minutes of the M6, M61 and M65.

Our aim was to make it easier to meet with existing and potential clients, as we knew closer relationships made for bigger and better results.

We also began running group workshops for business owners and marketing managers, which remains a very successful service for us.

The move, rebrand and restructure saw us begin working with many larger clients, and saw a big increase in turnover and staff numbers.

 

Providing a full digital marketing service

As we write, in 2014, we have a staff of 13 including some of the area's most experienced branding, optimisation and conversion experts.

We provide a service that's a little different in that its from web specialists and its bespoke, and fully tailored for each client we work with.

We experience double-digit growth every year and there is always strategy behind each move that we make.

It just happens that delivering sustained managed growth for ourselves over such a long period also leaves us very well qualified to do the same for our clients.

2011-2014
Doubling in size and establishing one of the region's
most respected teams of web specialists
2011-2014
We create bespoke web solutions using whatever technology will get you the biggest return on your spend, including:
PATCMS Wordpress Magento iOS Android
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