Member Mondays: Eleven Hundred Agency

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




Member Mondays: Clare Herriot

Sitting in a coworking space is one of the most interesting places to be everyday. Each desk is filled with individuals from different fields, different industries and all getting on with their daily work. As a new intern at BDCWorks, I decided to get to know the members in our space by interviewing them and I started with a very interesting lady, Clare Herriot. An entrepreneur, freelancer and an incredibly fascinating women.

What are you working on while you are here at BDCWorks

Anything really. While I’m here, I like using this space because I can concentrate. So, for example, I have a regular client who is a dentist and I do work for doctors too, I do their marketing for them. This is a really good place to concentrate and prepare for things for them. I am also working for Briffa, the law firm within the Business Design Centre (BDC). I produce video content for them once a month or every few months. I do this to try and build their social media with video content. So, this space is a creative space – a space I know I won’t get distracted, unless I need a cup of coffee and some chocolate (laughs). If I know I can get a good two hours of work done here, I will get more done here than I will at home.

How did you get into this field of work? Give us a brief history of your journey to where you are now.

So, the reason why I decided to go into media consultancy, photography and video – more video than photography, is because I used to run a charity shop for ten years and I was trying to raise the profile of the charity. This led me on to working with the other businesses in the area, working together with people to set up their website, the community branding and building a business group. I enjoyed raising their profile by, initially, just going with my phone and taking videos of them and then I was running their social media.

I probably did about 100 videos in my own time while I was doing the community website and I liked the fact that they were small businesses and haven’t really got the time to promote themselves but then I can come in and actually, reassure them that it’s not as hard as they think. They can put some simple things in place to do their own social media. I know what is effective and what works but also, I can provide the video content myself so I can do it from start to finish.

So, I did that and realised how much I liked it, got really excited and passionate about it and thought, well, maybe I can utilise the skills that I have learnt and go off on my own. So, with Briffa, I came in as a consultant and just looked at what they were doing, helped them set up a bit of a plan for their social media and looked at what manpower they had to do the different elements. I looked at who is going to work best with Twitter, Instagram and came up with a plan and then I like to look at what is beyond that – what are they selling to their clients and is the brand consistent. I love that part of it. I then started doing videos for them and I was able to advise them on how to use the video to boost their brand. I like that wholesome approach. On the other hand, I have other clients where I would go in and do a basic review. I am more into the content than advertising itself and I try and encourage businesses to look at themselves as a whole and how they are coming across.

Yesterday I spent the day with an entrepreneur, a start up, he has his own company and he needed help with social media for three different personas of his own. So, I practically just went through and discussed the in’s and outs’ of social media, made sure the platforms were working, that they look consistent, that he’s filled everything in. I will probably meet with him once a month until he is up and running and make sure he knows what’s going on, how he can look at the insights and just, all the basics really.

Why did you decide to join a coworking space?

Really, because of Briffa. Briffa have a space down here and this is a great space for me to work for them because I am on site. For example, next week I have a video coming up that is going to be on site.I can film it in the morning, edit it during the day and then I can go up and show them. That’s the beauty of the space, especially for my work with Briffa. But obviously, while I am here, I can do other work as well which helps.

What is your favourite thing about being in this coworking space?/What is your favourite story/memory/experience of being in BDCWorks?

There are so many things that are good about this space. This is what the BDC needed, not just somewhere for small businesses and startups, but also a place for the other businesses to connect centrally. That’s what’s so lovely about the meeting rooms – all the community members can use it and I am a real strong believer in community and working together. I don’t like working on my own so the fact that Katie, is a really warm and friendly person, makes a huge difference. If she isn’t here, you notice a difference in the atmosphere. You need someone like Katie who is warm and welcoming as she makes the space. I also like the fact that I’m right in London, so the people that are working here, are very different – different skills and different businesses and you can actually hear how they do their work, so, I’m already inspired by sitting next to people and hearing how they do calls and basic things.

The other wonderful thing about coworking is that you can have an issue with something, something that someone else finds really easy and you can ask for help. That’s what community is about isn’t it? [Angeliki: It’s amazing because you building on each other’s skills]. Exactly, I suddenly feel like a real business. When I’m here, I feel like I’m a person with something to offer other people. [Angeliki: I can imagine, especially compared to being alone at home]. I find being at home is really isolating. I can’t be here all week because I travel a bit but a few times a week, this is what I need to give me energy, to motivate me and to make me realise that I do have something to offer other people.

“When I’m here, I feel like I’m a person with something to offer other people”.

What is something you are extremely passionate about?

Coffee shops (laughs). I really like visiting new coffee shops, and new places, but mainly a coffee shop. I have actually written a number of blog reviews on places I have visited and also, probably why I like being here, I like it when you go to coffee shops because of the whole ambience, how it looks, how you feel – I think because I associate that feeling with being comfortable and comforted and of course – the coffee is very good too. I am probably the happiest when I am going out on my own and visiting a new coffee shop. So, my passions are video (the creative and content) and coffee shops.

Give one quote that you try and live by on a daily basis? 

One chunk at a time. That’s basically it. Small achievable chunks.

A huge thank you to Clare for sharing her journey with me! For more information on Clare’s work or to contact her, see the details & links below to all her profiles:

Phone: +44 (0)7761 347758