• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Meteoric rise for graphic design firm

A GLASGOW graphic design, digital and branding agency is on track to turn over more than £500,000 just two years after commencing operations.

SKY's THE LIMIT: Made Brave has been a success story under founder Andrew Dobbie.
SKY's THE LIMIT: Made Brave has been a success story under founder Andrew Dobbie.

The new accounts for Made Brave, due to be filed at the end of this month, cap a meteoric rise for a business founded when its owner had just £1,000 in the bank and a newborn to feed.

Founder Andrew Dobbie took the plunge after spending eight years as creative director with Midgi Byte Creations, the now defunct company owned by former Celtic footballer Paul McStay.

Naming the firm after the bold decision to strike out on his own, Mr Dobbie took in £8,000 in fees in the first month and made profits of £120,000 in its first year, turning over £200,000.

The quick progress made by Made Brave reflected its success in winning new clients.

Its first client, Scottish Renewables, has been followed by other big names such as Aggreko, Repsol, Arup, Peter Vardy, the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC), SSE Hydro, Mary's Meals, Scottish Canals and the Glasgow Science Centre.

It is now preparing to work as a creative partner for Tedx, the global business summit brand, which is poised to host its second Glasgow event in June, and recently secured work with Linn, the high end music system manufacturer.

The impact made by Made Brave has been recognised by its contemporaries, with the company named best performing business with one to 10 employees at the Glasgow Business Awards within 20 months of starting up

It was a finalist in last year's Herald Scottish Digital Business Awards, and has just been nominated for the new business of the year title in the 2014 Scottish Business Awards, which take place in May.

Asked to comment on the company's rapid rise, Mr Dobbie, who employs a team of 12 designers, marketing specialists and developers, highlighted its multi-discipline approach, as well as its successful use of social media sites.

He said: "We have gone back to the kind of older way of full service. We do a little bit of everything. It is not like we are a Jack of all trades - we have got specialists in each sector.

"We've got marketing people, strategists. We have got designers, we've got developers. And I've found that if you can make it easier for customers, if they can come to one place, it saves them ten different invoices, it saves them miscommunication with brands.

"For branding etc it is quite important it is looked after in one place."

One of Made Brave's first clients was secured through a less than conventional route.

Mr Dobbie designed the branding for Flavourly, the online food discovery business, after learning that its founder, Ryan O'Rorke, was his brother.

Mr Dobbie, who was adopted at birth, and Mr O'Rorke share the same birth mother. The two got to know each other after their mother got in touch with the adoption agency to try and make contact with Mr Dobbie when he was 24.

Their relationship flourished as their respective companies began to take off, with the two discovering they share similar interests as well as a nose for business.

The process has also given Mr Dobbie an insight into his own career choices, having found out his natural grandfather was an architect and his grandmother an artist. His creative tendencies were honed by his "mum" - his adoptive mother - who is also artistic.

Mr Dobbie said: "There's all this nature-nurture stuff going on, that I always find quite interesting. And then his business has kind of exploded, as has mine."

Mr Dobbie, who describes himself as a designer and photographer to trade, said the early success enjoyed by Made Brave reflects the long hours he and his team frequently put in.

But he is committed to making the working environment as amenable for his staff as possible.

A "director of fun" is appointed on a rotating business to lift spirits when the going gets tough. He said: "We're a very people-focused business. We're very big on not just relationships with clients, but relationships internally with staff.

"I think the companies that value looking after people and creating a nice environment for people to be in helps you grow a business very quickly, because if you have got that people want to be here, they want to work here."

That Made Brave is a serious yet fun place to work is reflected in its prolific use of social media sites, on which staff can be found musing on all manner of quirky topics, from beards and moustaches to what they are having for lunch.

He credits such activity with the response to a recent advertisement for a new graphic designer, which generated more than 100 CVs, and with bringing in new clients.

He is also a member of a business networking groups and is also involved in organisations aimed at helping young people in business.

Contextual targeting label: 
Business

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

224643