March, 2013 Archive

Happy Birthday to Me :)

Hurray, another birthday! Today was my 38th birthday (getting much older now) and also my blog’s 4th birthday, so “happy birthday blog” too. Last year I did a birthday post and looking back at it, its amazing that by this time last year we were on our second barbeque – no chance this year with freezing temperatures and big snow drifts LOL.

I’ve had a great day today .. starting off with early card and present opening with Dave and the kids … got a Kindle Fire which is amazing so far, but lots more playing to do … had lots of Tweets and Facebook birthday wishes, text and phone calls from family (who don’t do social media), had flowers delivered to work, more presents and flowers when I got home and also an awesome birthday cake.

radley bag birthday cake

handbag cake

handbag birthday cake (2)

handbag birthday cake (1)

Dave’s sister Jen is the cake maker and is brilliant at them … it was a lovely surprise to get a Radley handbag cake tonight, and its almost too good to eat .. but I’m sure the guys at Bronco will tuck in tomorrow 🙂
Pretty amazing hey! Check out Jen’s Facebook page for more cool cakes or I did a post recently when we had some Bronco cupcakes made and posted up some cool cakes

Anyway my birthday is nearly over now .. but next week Bronco will be 10, and it will also be mine and Dave’s 15th wedding anniversary too, so plenty to celebrate.

Bronco Getting Coverage

This week Bronco has been getting a bit of local coverage about the move to the new Bronco HQ. It’s not often that we shout about what we have done but with the big office move and the celebration of Bronco’s 10th birthday next week we thought we should remind the people of Ripon that we are here.

We were featured in the Ripon Gazette “Ripon Means Business” section and you can read the full story here

ripon gazette bronco

We then also put a double spread write up in the Review Ripon magazine, which is Ripon’s very own local magazine.

Review Ripon bronco

CandyTrix – Teaching them Business at an Early Age

People often ask me what I would do if I wasn’t running Bronco and the answer would be a teacher, and I have had various comments from people over the years that say “You’d make a great teacher!”, which always makes me smile. One day you never know!

Anyway I had the opportunity over the last few months to teach my youngest son Ethan a thing or two about running a successful business, as he got prepared to run a business as part of his Year 6 Enterprise Project. The basis of the project is that the headmaster gives each child £3 to start a business and to see how much profit they can make in a week… OK so the challenge was set.

Ethan formed a small group with his mates so that there were 4 of them, so they had £12 to invest.. but no idea what to sell. We had a good brainstorm about what kids like best and what could be bought relatively cheaply and sold at a decent profit… then we came up with the idea of sweets as ALL kids love sweet. Next was to get in touch with Dom at ClicknMix to ask a favour. Could we get sweets from Dom at a good price and how about ClicknMix doing a bit of sponsorship for some branding on the bags and posters. Of course being so great he said of course and the deal was done.

Next was the complex bit of working out the weight of individual sweets, to work out how many say cola bottles you can get out of a 3kg bag, to then work out how many of each kind of sweets could go in a bag to still make a healthy profit, while minimising the amount of big bags of sweets we needed. We ended up working out we needed 8 x 3kg bags of sweets to make 300 x 50p bags of sweets.

candytrix data

With Dom offering to sponsor some sweets the costs were lower than they would have been, so they would be in profit quicker.. then Bronco stepped in with another chunk of sponsorship which was then going to cover the rest of the costs for the business. Obviously in a normal business it’s not usual for your first batch of stock to be donated, but it’s certainly a help to get the business rolling to ask favours from where you can, even if you end up paying back the cost of the stock when you have got the first chunk of profit in.

Next was the name and Ethan came up with CandyTrix and designed himself a logo, which was then used on the posters that went up around school and badges for the “staff” .. he learnt quite a bit about the importance of branding and getting your name out there. Now everyone knows who CandyTrix is an even one of the parents I was chatting to at rugby at the weekend asked about “candytrix”.

candytrix prime

candytrix labels

We picked up the mountain of sweets from Dom after the Think Visibility conference in Leeds and the following weekend set about packing up the 50p bags of sweets (all 300 of them). It was a big production line with me and the kids packing the bags with the right quantities and Dave sealing the bags and packing the boxes ready to transport to school.

candytrix production line

candytrix sweets packed up

On the Monday it was a fairly slow start for Candytrix with 54 bags sold. Ethan came back amazed at how much money they got and how great it was to be selling. They had a stall as well as travelling salesmen with baskets of sweets going around the playground. The next day Ethan took 80 bags to school and they sold out! Wednesday was the main Enterprise day at the school and on that day took all the remaining stock and sold out! That was 300 bags of sweets sold in 3 days.

Wednesday evening was a bit like … hmm what can you sell now! Do you just have 2 days off or do you reinvest? Brainwave … biscuits, because after sweets, biscuits are the next big thing. So we headed up to the Co-op shop armed with £10 of the profit and bought a load of biscuits. There were still some clear bags left so we set about packing up mixed bags of biscuits.

biscuit trix

Out of the £10 spent on biscuits, we made 95 bags to sell at 50p. Thursday morning Ethan was met with some disappointed customers who had brought in extra money for the yummy sweets, only to be met with biscuits but they soon started to buy again. The biscuits didn’t sell as well as the sweets, but they nearly all went after 2 days of selling and he made an extra £30 profit from them which all helps.

So the question we are all waiting to hear is who was the most successful business in the Year 6 Enterprise week? I think it should be announced this week at school once they have counted up all the money. Ethan’s group made about £200 in a week which all goes to help the school fund resources which is great, and learnt lots about running a business at the same time too 🙂

The New Bronco HQ

We’re at last in the new Bronco HQ after months of building, and many more months of planning and designing. Here are a selection of photos from the new building.

bronco 1

Love the flying Bronco horses that are on the steel wall that runs the full length of the building, and outside of the meeting room shed we have red and green lights that fill the corridor with a lovely glow when the meeting room is occupied.

bronco 2

The area to the front of the building is really open with a breakout area, and the big kitchen. With the meeting room having the full wall of glass you can see in and it all feels part of the main area.

bronco 3

No office is complete without a zebra crossing or a giant rubiks cube 🙂

bronco 4

Considering we started the build with an empty shell we have created a kitchen that feels open but a room within itself with the lowered ceiling and exposed beams.

bronco 5

The meeting room shed, as “magic happens in sheds” with the tetris patterned carpet to add the finishing touch

bronco 6

Staff, lockers and lights. The all important work space with the custom made desks, and the cloakroom area tucked away. The light fittings are a big part of the building with over 40 fitments including plenty of car headlights to create a homely atmosphere.

There are still a few finishing touches to go into the building but we are loving working in the new space.

Think Visibility 2013 – Burst the Speaking Bubble

This weekend was Think Visibility 9 in Leeds so I headed there with Dave, as well as Anthony, Kean and Sian from Bronco. It was Think Visibility’s 5th birthday and its great that Dom has made such a success with this conference and what makes it even better is that its close to home and that there is a great turnout of “regulars” to catch up with.

This year was going to be different for me as I was going to burst my speaking bubble. Dom had asked me a few times to speak at ThinkVis … (hopefully not just to balance the male / female speaker ratio 😉 ) .. but I have always shied away from it because I have always been in Dave’s shadow at conferences, and its really Dave that people want to hear. But Dom must have caught me on a good day a few months ago because I ended up saying yes. It crossed my mind many times running up to ThinkVis as to what had I got myself in for!

We came up with the topic of “The Story of Bronco – How to Run a Successful Agency” and since we are coming up to Bronco’s 10th birthday next month it was a great opportunity to share how we run Bronco with others. There was a good turnout to the session and given that it was the last session of the day, it hopefully offered some light relief. If you weren’t at ThinkVis, or missed the session you can take a look.

Once I got started I think I made a fairly decent job of it and managed to ad-lib around the content on the slides, as there is nothing worse than a speaker putting a slide up and then just reading it out while the audience just reads the same information. I’ll have to give a big thanks to Dave for sharing the session with me, and giving me lots of support, and for all the friendly faces in the audience. I hope that people could take something away from it and learn more about us personally too.

I don’t look too scared! (thanks to sk8geek for posting the pics)

Here’s some of the session feedback, which I’m really grateful for 🙂

Some other special moments from the conference was having a great speakers dinner on Friday night at The Cattle Grid, a good catch up with old friends at the Friday party, being proud of myself and the Bronco guys for taking it easy on Friday night ready for an early start, a great day of interesting sessions on Saturday, amazing pick and mix, a really fun meal out on Saturday at Pizza Express with the Bronco and 10Yetis team, then the cool Winter Wonderland Christmas party, and then a late night wind down drink with Dom and the Bronco guys back at the hotel. Special thanks to Santa for my present.. and a big thanks to Dom and Heather for yet again putting on a great weekend.