Being 10 is all about change!
A transition into teenage-hood is just around the corner…
It’s June 2009 and the world is full of doom and gloom. It’s not an obvious time to be setting up a business. James and I just moved from London to Bristol to be closer to the mountains and coast. Whilst enjoying the precious window of a new relationship, youth and endless energy, when anything seems to be possible, we throw caution to the air and step into a world of serious graft.
It all started at a kitchen table. In the daytime, James was seeing clients, trying to win some business. In the evenings, he would put his accountant hat on- generating invoices, purchase orders and delivery notes, whilst I was counting light fittings on ceiling plans, highlighting them in different colours. I would then update data sheets and work on the website. We worked until very late hours in the evening whilst listening to music. The world was in a mighty recession, but we were in a happy place.
Two years in and we hired our first employee. Archie was fantastic at all things practical. Many times, he would be carrying out emergency conversions on that very kitchen table until late in the evening before delivering them to a site in London the following day.
Double artic lorries used to turn up on our doorstep with pallets full of light fittings, causing havoc in the local area.
We used to stack up fittings in our hallway. If that became too full to walk through, we stored the lighting in our van. One Christmas, we had to carry over 150 profiles to the top floor of our townhouse, so we could have a family dinner in the front room, which was the office. Everything was packed away and straight after Christmas, the same fittings had to be carried down to the hallway and the front room turned into the office again.
We ran the business from our house for the first 4 years. The tipping point was when we had 7 people working in our house and really busting at the seams! Looking back, this was pretty mad.
In those early years, we wrote 5 core values on a wall: Committed, honest, resilient, consistent and fun. These were to become our foundation and we always keep coming back to them.
“Committed, honest, resilient, consistent and fun. These were to become our foundation and we always keep coming back to them.”
It has been a great journey and we met some fantastic people along the way. Some of them are still with us. Some leave and come back and become the best advocates for our company and the way we do things. Without the team and their commitment, we would not have been where we are today.
We asked our team what they enjoy most about working for 299 and they came up with some great answers - a sense of being a part of a family, never a dull moment in a day and encouragement to progress their careers and learning new things, to name just a few. I am surprised to see that no one has mentioned the serious coffee machine!
Today, we are taking a step back and say thank you, James for being such an amazing captain and thanks everybody for every ounce of the energy you put in! Together we are Light Engineers.