Bristol is fast becoming the creative capital of the UK. The rising cost of living in London is forcing businesses out of the capital and cities like Brighton, Manchester and most importantly Bristol are reaping the rewards. Big creative brands like Aardman Animations and the BBC Natural History Unit have long been based in Bristol; but now more and more creative agencies are emerging as the city looks to cement its place as the creative capital of the UK.
The city is starting to offer creative spaces all around the city, the most notable being the Watershed. The Watershed houses the pervasive media studio; a place that houses a community of creative’s from various fields working on different projects, all benefiting from working in the same creative space.
One of the latest creative projects is the Engine Shed located at Bristol Temple Meads train station. As this reaches capacity the city is looking to create more space by bringing in an initial 20 shipping containers that will house even more creative and digital companies. This project is called Boxworks and will run for an initial two and a half years and aims to house 120 occupants.
One of Bristol’s hottest creative start up studios is located in Bristol’s city centre not in a place quite as quirky as Boxworks, but the creativity of the company itself makes up for this. Huxley, located in Berkley Square, just off of Bristol’s Park Street is a film production studio, combining contemporary film making and animation to create brave, branded content. They specialise in creating online video content for lifestyle, sport, tech and travel brands.
The founding three directors of Huxley Andy Eagles, Alex Try and Jose Macerola had all previously worked together as freelancers on other projects. They all shared the ambition of running their own company; knowing their skills complemented each other and that they all shared the same taste in design and film aesthetic, they set out to create their own brand and culture to surround it.
After contacting Business West’s Start and Grow team Huxley were put in contact with start-up advisor Alyson Eyval. Alyson guided them through the loan application process and Huxley successfully applied for a loan of £21,000 from Virgin StartUp Loans. Alex of Huxley explained the importance of Alyson’s help, “It has been invaluable having someone to help us who‘s familiar with Virgin StartUp Loans who could make sure that we were always on point with the information we were including.”
Also, having someone who wasn’t fully involved with the business helped the team realise important aspects of the business that needed more work and attention, Alex continues “Alyson asked the right questions about our company which prompted us to interrogate our financial and marketing plans to ensure they were as tight as possible.” The help and support from the Start and Grow team has gone a long way to helping Huxley become a success.
Being located in Bristol does mean that Huxley has to work even harder to separate itself from the competition. There are many creative agencies that offer the same service as Huxley, meaning they have to ensure they stick to their principals. Being Brave and a ‘Stand out’ production company in terms creativity and being at the forefront of what they do helps towards this but a cohesive marketing strategy is also vitally important in getting their work seen above others.
The elected mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson, claims that Bristol could become a European creative hub. The support and investment from the local government means that Bristol and the West Country as a whole is the perfect place to set up your creative or digital business. Find out about how the Business West Start and Grow Team can make your business dream a reality.