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.
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 learn 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 to everybody for every ounce of the energy you put in! Together we are Light Engineers.
“I left university, with a degree in product design. I struggled to find a career path which suited me and luckily stumbled into 299 Lighting, as an intern. Seven years have since passed, so they must be doing something right. Through 299 I developed a specialist skill set and knowledge. I take great personal pride in the end result of 299’s work, and in the efficiency and creativity of the whole team.”
“I have been at 299 Lighting about three years now, and I’m pleased to say I enjoy going to work there every day. If I compare myself to when I started, I easily can see a massive improvement in terms of how I have grown professionally and personally on my position and I’m very thankful for it.”
“This time last year I had just finished my Fashion Promotion degree, unsure of where to go next - especially as I was looking for a Graphic Design role, and not necessarily fashion based! I was lucky to find a company who gave me a chance to step out of my comfort zone and explore the new route of Graphic Design. Over the last year, I have learnt so much within graphic design, b2b marketing and social media. I’ve also met many friendly faces, it’s probably the first place I’ve worked where everyone gets on so well! I’ve been on countless bowling trips, bike rides and meals out with my new 299 Lighting friends!”
“Working at 299, there is never a dull moment! Every day brings new challenges, and no two days are ever the same. 299 is an incredibly dynamic company, working on a host of projects that span small offices to entire multi-storey buildings. This diversity brings a whole host of requests and it certainly keeps me on my toes! Working at 299 has enabled me to massively expand my knowledge base, be that with formal training courses, or as a by-product of everyday working life.
I have been fortunate enough to be able to visit project sites and advise both existing and new customers on how lighting can work for them. It feels great taking a project from that first initial concept meeting to the tenant moving into an amazing space. 299 enables me to get out from behind my desk, and have some hands-on time with the lighting. This can be wiring and testing samples or doing some research and development to expand and improve the product range. I enjoy this time in the workshop where I can get a little peace and quiet!”
“I enjoy working for 299, I can develop my skills and every day and I can learn something new. It’s one big family, that brings a smile to my face.”
“Starting at 299 fresh out of uni was daunting yet the team made me feel welcome and already part of the 299 family within 5 minutes of starting. As a growing business it’s great to see the progression, purely over the last two years I’ve been working here, beginning on small projects and now contributing towards our biggest and best projects to date is a great accomplishment. The working environment can be fast-paced, diverse and challenging at times which I enjoy, this pushes you to achieve more. Seeing your own designs in situ brings great job satisfaction to the position, starting as a junior designer the 299 team have encouraged and guided me into a senior position supporting me every step of the way. And most importantly, I not only consider the people I’ve met through 299 Lighting colleagues, but also amazing friends.”