Based in North East England, Wonderstuff is a wonderfully ambitious branding agency with a great heart, committed to making each client's journey unique.
Wonderstuff does not pitch. The team has been expanding solely through referrals and word of mouth, but their plans to amplify their reach are just getting started – and pitches still don't seem to be part of that picture.
With this Company Spotlight, we are learning more about Wonderstuff following a lovely chat with Paul Alderson, Founder and Creative Director.
How was your company born and where are you based?
Wonderstuff launched in 2009 (just after the birth of our second daughter) with an ambition to help businesses think about their brand, and design, to help them move forward. To think To wonder stuff. Wonderstuff is based in Newcastle upon Tyne in north east England.
What was the biggest challenge to the growth of your company?
Having the right people at the right time, with the right clients! As a small team this has always been our biggest challenge. We’re proud that most of our design team have gone on to become creative, or design directors in the careers.
Which was the first huge success that you can remember?
Our first huge success was being confident that we could take on our first team member. After working with freelancers for a while on several projects, I knew we had enough work to take on someone full time. This was a big commitment for us, but knew it was essential to build the business.
What’s the biggest opportunity for you and your company in the next year?
Our biggest opportunity is that we’re investing our to work with clients that are doing good. Working with clients in the wellness sector has always been a part of our mix, but it’s now the focus. We have the knowledge and experience – and the passion for the sector.
Can you explain your team’s creative process?
We now work with a mix of remote, and in studio, working, which suits our style. It allows us to work together on ideas, and discuss and sketch things out, then each of us can work to develop and refine designs with more focus. We work with our clients and believe in design conversations – not presentations, sharing our thinking and ideas to get to the right ideas as effectively as we can.
How does your team remain inspired and motivated?
While our natural interest in design (in all it’s forms) keeps each of us up to date on design and design thinking, we have started creating lookbooks which we collate and share with clients and prospects to show them what’s possible, and what others are doing. They’re becoming a great tool for us to focus and learn with.
How has COVID-19 affected your company?
We moved from always in studio to fully remote, like most agencies. We’re now back to a mix of 1 studio day a week, and 3 days remote – we’re trialling a 4 day week over the summer to see how this impacts us and the business. It has slowed down projects as clients are more hesitant to commit, but we’ve seen this start to change over the last few weeks.
Which agencies do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?
Robot food in Leeds are a great example of great business. Creative. Focused. And involved in building brands themselves.
What is one tip that you would give to other agencies looking to grow?
Focus. Find your niche, and audience. Then show them the value you can add to their business.
How do you go about finding new clients/business? (Pitching, work with retainers, etc.)
Most of our work over the last ten years has been generated through referrals and word of mouth. Now, we want to expand our reach and find more clients who we can help in the wellness sector so are working hard to reach them. We don’t pitch.
What’s your one big hope for the future of the industry?
That design and brand make it to the balance sheet and are seen as tangible assets with real value for every business.
Do you have any websites, books or resources that you would recommend?
I’ve become an avid podcast listener! I love Seth Godin’s Akimbo, along with his books and blog. Jonathan Stark’s (ditching hourly) podcasts and newsletter. Blair Enns and David C Baker’s 2 Bobs Podcast (and books). Digest it all. There is so much out there now. But don’t get carried away with learning. You have to take action on the things