Creative agency Milk & Tweed has set ambitious expansion plans after buying out a partner firm and moving to new offices.
The agency, which specialises in website, brand and logo design, as well as digital marketing, has bought out web design partner Boson Media after working together for three years.
The two companies merged last April but now creative director Jake Jeffries has bought out Boson Media directors Steve Healy and Richard Anderson to create one business.
The buyout comes as Milk & Tweed, which is on course to turn over £500,000 this year, moved into a new base at Avon Reach in Monkton Hill, Chippenham. Now Jake is setting his sights on a £1 million turnover within three years.
“We are delighted to have bought Boson into the Milk & Tweed brand,” he said. “We are growing fast, and by bringing everything together we feel we can grow even faster.”
He said he and his nine-strong team have based their growth on quality design, excellent customer service, and value, and the new office will help the company’s development.
“We wanted more space and were very keen to remain in Wiltshire. To be in Chippenham town centre is ideal for us,” said Jake.
“It gives us a nice identity and although we have customers from all over the country, this gives us a great hub and platform for further growth.”
Jake founded Milk & Tweed in 2013 while working as a designer for a text marketing firm. He said having his own business had always been an ambition after seeing his mum Jill run her own florist company and his dad Elliott own a string of pubs.
He said: “I was used to being around an entrepreneurial atmosphere and seeing them working long hours and at the weekends, so it always felt natural to do the same.”
After completing a graphic design degree and a string of placements at top agencies in Bristol, he combined his full-time job with his own agency, using spare time at evenings and weekends to fulfil an increasing number of clients’ projects.
“Eventually my own agency just got too busy so I took the plunge and hired an apprentice, Sam Jones who is now fully-qualified and still with us, and went full-time with Milk & Tweed,” he said.
Design work for clients like the Junior Premier League and Goughs Solicitors have helped cement the firm’s reputation, but he gets just as much satisfaction from working with the smaller firms and start-ups.
“I love helping businesses, it’s all about that personal relationship you strike up with the business owner or director, you get quick decisions and a reaction to what you’ve produced for them. It’s beautiful, I love it.”
The firm works closely with clients to understand their business and its ethos before producing websites, logos or other designs that reflect what they are about.
“It’s important we have a good relationship with the client, whether it’s the owner or staff, because our design has to resonate with them. They need to believe in their brand and love it, or it won’t work,” said Mr Jeffries.
Its bespoke websites are built using WordPress but are endlessly flexible in their design and functionality. “We get a lot of customers who have just been using off the peg websites you can build online but they don’t do what they want,” he said. “We bespoke design everything specifically for the business, so there are no templates and no limitations.”
He said the good client relations he builds is a testament to the referrals Milk & Tweed gets. “Developing the company in Chippenham, Swindon and Wiltshire has always been the plan,” he said.
“I think we are quite well placed where we are because there is a great community of businesses here. If you do a good job for one, they will recommend you to someone else.”
Offering clients the opportunity to spread payments for work over a number of months has also helped. “We still complete the project just as quickly as we would for anyone else, but the cost has less of an impact on their cash flow,” he said. “There is a risk for us, but it’s one I’m willing to take because it helps businesses.”
Another full-time designer along with another digital marketer, will join the firm next month, which will allow Mr Jeffries to concentrate on developing the business.
“I want to improve the service we give our customers all the time,” he said. “We plant sustainable trees with the National Forest for every client we take on and send them cakes and so on, but delivering a great project on time and keeping them fully engaged and involved is the most important thing.
“Even with the new designer on board, I’m still going to be very close to the design work because it’s my agency, and most of all, design is what I love doing. But we have a brilliant team here and I’m very confident about the future.”