UI Farm: Simone Silvestroni
'Responsive' web design
Tell us what your business does:
We’re a user experience/user interface (UI/UX) web agency based in London, with a ’responsive’ design and development strategy (where websites created automatically adapt to fit the screen size/mobile devices). We specialise in creating sustainable, responsive websites and applications that run and are optimised on any device.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
We are all highly skilled professionals with years of experience in the design and front-end fields. We felt the need to start our own business as we really wanted to shape products from concept through all the necessary steps to delivery. It’s hard to find an agency where you can do all of this as a team.
How did you know there was a market for it?
We did our own market research, finding a lot of statistics and studies clearly indicating how many people in the UK use mobile devices to browse the web, shop or do their business online and how few businesses are ready with a proper mobile website. Since the web is going mobile at a very fast pace, we found that there was a real need for a full service web agency specialising in responsive web solutions.
What were you doing before starting up?
We worked together as a team within the game industry, where we were in charge of the user interface (UI) development for an online game product. Before that, we worked as UI designers and developers in Europe and the United States.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
The short answer is “yes”. The long answer is some of us already did, but were ‘acquired’ by a bigger agency. In the UK there’s more support for starting up and growing your own business.
How did you raise the money?
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
The biggest challenge is building a reputation and brand from scratch with a new ‘identity’. We all have a good reputation as individuals, with more than 40 accumulative LinkedIn recommendations, but the company is still relatively unknown. The idea was to start with people who already knew us as individuals and build the agency from there.
How much do you charge?
We offer solutions for all budget levels including fully bespoke products.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Changing our mindset and accepting the entrepreneur way of thinking without any pre-made solution cooked by someone else. If you don’t work extremely hard to succeed you can’t complain about anyone but you – that’s a huge breakthrough, since you’re responsible for your own work. Building this with other like-minded people is also key.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Carry out market research about your potential business, find the right people to work with and cover any skill that you’ll need. However, first of all, dump the typical 9-5, employee mindset: with that burden on board you’ll never succeed with your own business, where you’re the boss.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
Still growing our company with more people engaged, but never becoming a big agency – always keeping our high quality style and eye for details, modern design and development.