This week we decided to interview the lovely, Claire Ayles, co-founder of Eleven Hundred Agency. Having recently, in the last ten weeks, started her own business with business partner, Mike King, we decided to find out more about what the two of them have been working so hard on since launching! Happy reading.
What are you working on while you are here at BDCWorks?
In January, Mike, my business partner, and I launched a new company, Eleven Hundred Agency. We are using BDC Works as our base as we get things rolling. Eleven Hundred is a PR consultancy which specialises in helping technology companies and professional services firms such as lawyers and accountants, boost their brand awareness in the market via the press, by creating marketing material and over social media platforms. So, that’s how I’m spending my day.
[Angeliki: How has it been since January, has it been going okay?]. Yes! We launched in January with two clients and in the ten weeks since then we have won two further clients so we have doubled our business! Our work is split between client servicing – helping our clients get in the press and raise awareness – and pitching for new business.
How did you get into this field of work? Give us a brief history of your journey to where you are now.
I have been working in technology PR for about 18 years. I’ve worked with Mike all that time, indeed, I used to work for his company. Eleven Hundred Agency is our chance to do it again and start a new brand company. It’s all about being our own bosses! When I graduated, I really wanted to work in communications so I started off working at BT in one of their communications teams and then I left that and went and worked at a University and helped with drafting brochures, organising events and that really steered me into working for PR. In 2000, I applied for a job in a PR agency, which I happened to get, and happened to be for Mike. Here we are 18 years later! At the time, the technology scene was massive and I haven’t turned back since!
Why did you decide to join a coworking space?
We wanted a proper business address with high quality facilities because we have clients who want to come in and meet us. We didn’t want to be a completely virtual organisation so BDC Works allows us to have an office and all the trimmings that come with it but with the flexibility of not having to sign a long term lease. That kind of commitment is a massive risk when you are just starting out; you don’t want to plunge yourself into debt from day one when you don’t have to. We looked around lots of coworking spaces, including the big, well known ones. We found they were very corporate and although they had fantastic facilities, when we came to BDC Works, it just felt different. It felt much more informal, people were friendlier and we felt it was a place where we would be happy. We based the decision on happiness rather than commercials. Also, I love being in the Business Design Centre – I find it to be such an interesting facility and I love Angel too!
What is your favourite thing about being in this coworking space?/What is your favourite story/memory/experience of being in BDCWorks?
That’s quite difficult because I haven’t been here for very long! But I think just the general vibe, everybody is very friendly but not in your face friendly or distracting you from doing your work. People can get on with work and team that runs BDC Works can’t do enough to help us.
What is something you are extremely passionate about?
I’ve just started a business so there is no room for anything else (laughs). At the moment, I am even dreaming about work. Apart from that, I am a massive sports fan, I cycle and run quite a bit. I have two fabulous daughters and a very supportive husband, so I try to spend as much time with them as I can.
Give one quote that you try and live by on a daily basis?
If you work hard, you will be rewarded. I truly believe that you get out of life what you put into it and you can’t expect things to just land on your plate and you will be successful if you keep plugging away!
Thank you Claire for the opportunity to interview you and congratulations on the success of your new business! We love having you in the space and look forward to watching you grow.
To find out more or if you are interested in Eleven Hundred Agency, see their contact information below:
Phone: 020 7688 5202