A boutique web development agency, that specialises in supporting small businesses, has designs for further growth after relocating to the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC).
Blueocto Ltd, which was relaunched just six months ago by web developers Caroline Hagan and Matthew Bryson, recently moved to the BIC after securing a tranche of contract wins.
Specialising in designing and creating websites powered by WordPress and Shopify, the pair relaunched the agency after identifying a gap in the market for the provision of dedicated web support to the region’s sole traders and small businesses.
The company has since gone on to work with over 25 businesses and – following its move to the BIC – has further designs for growth as it looks to the future.
Speaking about their journey so far, founder and developer Caroline Hagan, said: “Matthew and I both hail from agency backgrounds and between us have over 17 years’ experience working in the industry.
“We worked together in our previous roles and – with Matthew’s fantastic back-end developer skills and my ability to project manage and experience of front-end development – we were already managing and servicing multiple client accounts from start to finish, so we knew we worked well as a team.”
Caroline originally launched Blueocto Ltd as a freelancer back in 2013 when she gave birth to her daughter but decided to return to agency life as it offered her more job security. However, with her daughter now settled at school and with a long-held desire to work for herself, she decided to officially re-launch the business last year.
“Matthew and I get on really well and our skills really complement each other, so it was a no brainer when we decided to relaunch Blueocto,” she said. “It provides both of us with a better work-life balance and allows us the creative freedom we crave to provide the best possible service to our clients.
“We knew from our experience working in the industry that many of the small businesses we’d met felt that the majority of larger agencies were either too expensive or just didn’t give them the level of service they required – so we decided to build Blueocto Ltd on a foundation of being an agency which specialised in supporting those small businesses that are the lifeblood of our economy.
“As ecommerce continues to grow in popularity, it’s vital that small businesses and freelancers tap into the digital world in order to survive and we take great pride in the fact that we’re able to provide the level of service you’d expect from a larger agency, at the cost and flexibility of a freelancer or small agency.”
Like many start-ups, the pair initially worked from home however – as demand for their services started to rise – it wasn’t long until they required a dedicated office space of their own in order to take the business to the next level.
Caroline added: “We looked at a few business centres but once we visited the BIC we knew we’d found the perfect spot. We’ve spoken about the idea of potentially taking on an apprentice or graduate, to help them get their start in the industry, and this would give us the opportunity to do that should the opportunity arise.
“It’s also very cost-effective and has superfast broadband, which for a small tech company like us, was a key motivator in our decision. The staff have been great too, Louise [Hardy] and Caitlin [Hind] have pointed us in the direction of various business support programmes and have really helped us settle – we can’t thank them enough.”
Louise Hardy, business development manager at the BIC, said: “It’s been a pleasure working with Caroline and Matthew and we’re delighted that they chose the BIC to house their business.
“The BIC has supported thousands of businesses since it opened its doors 25 years ago and Blueocto Ltd, as a company which itself takes pride in supporting the region’s small businesses, will certainly add to the incubator-style environment we’ve helped establish over the past two decades.”