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When Holly met...
Dorset Creative

A blog post by Holly Roberts, Bournemouth Eagle Lab Manager

As a relatively new member of the Eagle Labs team, I love hearing the stories from my colleagues across the country of how the businesses they are supporting are growing and the contribution they are personally making to our members and their businesses. But it’s only by speaking to the businesses directly, that I am able to get a true view of their experience with us. So I am making it my business to get around to as many of our members, past and present, that I can.

At Eagle Labs, our mantra is to create, innovate and grow… and grow is exactly what Bournemouth resident, Dorset Creative, has managed to do in the 16 months they were with us.

Tripling in revenue and in staff, Dorset Creative have recently graduated from the Lab to go on to a bigger space for their growing business. I visited co-founders, Nathan and Rowena, in their new premises to understand how Eagle Labs helped them in their journey to success.

So, who are Dorset Creative? Dorset Creative are a digital agency niching in new tech, who design and develop software for businesses and organisations. They are on a mission to change the world with technology, whether it be streamlining, refining and finessing, or extreme, state-of-the-art experiences. With case studies of their work ranging from startups through to the NHS and Stryker, as well as local collaborations such as Drilling Systems, it’s clear to see that the business is made up of passionate and driven individuals who are set to make waves in the world of tech.

Before being based at the Bournemouth Lab, Dorset Creative were a small team of three in the UK, with five team members based abroad. Situated in an office above an estate agency, the team found that clients just weren’t getting a sense of the business as innovative, creative and ‘new tech’, although at the time the small and plain office made financial sense.

It was when Nathan attended a networking event in Bournemouth, that he heard about Eagle Labs. After speaking to a fellow networker about the availability of local meeting spaces, he decided to hold a client meeting at the Bournemouth Lab. The client’s reaction of “Wow, your office is just like Google!” was the deciding factor to base Dorset Creative at the Lab. While initially, the move meant a significant increase in their outgoings, Nathan and Rowena credit the Lab as a key contributor to their growth, since being based at the Lab gave them the confidence to build their company’s vision and they were able to host more clients than they had done previously, in an environment which was complementary to the ‘professional, hi-tech creatives’ image they wanted to portray for the company.

Nathan and Rowena fondly recall collaborating with Lab Engineer, Sharon, to run focus groups with local schoolchildren to get their feedback on a new app concept they had created. Sharon played key part in the icebreaker activity for that day, which involved getting the group engaged by interacting with some equipment in the Lab’s Maker Space. Rowena and Nathan agree that the relationships with the staff at the Lab made a difference to them - something as simple as popping their head in the office to ask how they were, and keeping up with their progress and ideas, made it easy to ask them for opinions and to facilitate new introductions. The diversity of events held at the Lab provided exposure for their business as well as for them personally, in particular an ‘Ask the Expert’ session about tax credits has potentially led them to save thousands of pounds.

In December 2017, Dorset Creative flew the Eagle Lab nest, moving to a larger space which accommodates their growing UK team. They are now in the process of refurbishing their new offices into what can only be described as “THE COOLEST SPACE EVER”, which includes permanently affixed direct video links to their international office, a creative studio workspace for the UK team, an integral meeting space and a sociable space for their immersive technologies including a virtual reality ‘experience pod’ – something that is unheard of in Bournemouth and the South of the UK. Here, they will demonstrate their software in immersive technology like VR, enabling clients to see the potential of new tech, and they will work together with clients to craft concepts for applying the technology into clients’ industries. They are currently working in the energy sector simulating oil drilling components that allow the client to view the drill components in action and to manipulate and scrutinise the parts in-depth, eliminating hefty shipping costs and devaluation of real-world machinery.

With their pipeline plans stretching to the medical sector and training, I can only expect the same, if not a higher level of growth at Dorset Creative over the next 18 months. They are currently recruiting Full Stack, Front and Back Web Developers, Project Managers and Product Managers (if you are interested, get in touch by emailing hello@dorsetcreative.co.uk) and, with strengthened links at the local Universities, they are providing fantastic opportunities for placement students across computing, games technology and design courses.

I wish Dorset Creative all the best for what is set to be an exciting year ahead. I can’t wait to see the grand reveal of their new space and while they are no longer based at the Bournemouth Lab, they will always be part of the Lab family and so I look forward to them coming back to the Lab to share their journey with our new members.

Holly Roberts

Holly Roberts, Bournemouth Eagle Lab Manager

Bournemouth Eagle Lab

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