RedMullet Design: Jim Fowle and Dave King
Never content to follow the crowd Jim Fowle and Dave King offer multi-media design with a difference.
Designer Jim Fowle met photographer Dave King when he was taking his wedding photographs. A short while later, the two men collaborated on a project – giving a hair salon a revolutionary new image.
The success from that project set the two men on a path that would lead them to launching their own multi-media company in February 2004 – Red Mullet Design.
Jim said: “I have always loved graphics. I got into design when I had my first AppleMac computer when I was a young boy.
“However, there were times when I was working as a designer when I did feel a bit frustrated and I wanted more freedom.
“Both Dave and I felt that there was too much of the same sort of thing being done again and again. So we wanted Red Mullet to always be that little bit different.”
However, daring to stand out from the crowd doesn’t appear to have damaged their prospects. On the contrary, Red Mullet have been very busy and have attracted clients such as the BBC, Granada Television and Toshiba.
Also, they will soon be heading to the Cannes Film Festival with their client filmmakers Laundromat, having worked with them on a series of short films.
“Word of mouth seems to be the main way that people have heard of us”, explains Jim.
“After our first project we just kept on being offered work. By the time we set up the company we already had a lot of clients.”
As well as providing a professional and innovative service, another reason for their success may be the diverse range of services they provide. As well as web design, they also provide photo shoots, fashion shoots, company branding, and produce interactive CD Roms.
As both Jim and Dave are experienced in their respective fields the creativity was not hard to muster, however running a business always provides real challenges.
“The first few months were a real struggle. I was on a really steep learning curve. It is one thing doing it for someone else but it is totally different when you are the one in charge.
“We haven’t done that much marketing which is something I regret. But we have a really good network of people who have passed the word around about us.
“A lot of these companies have been around about the same amount of time as us.”
Jim’s experience suggests that a huge amount of money is not a prerequisite for a start up business. Red Mullet’s success is down to their creativity, ability to innovate and to giving customers a design and brand that will boost their business.
Satisfied clients, such as Rock and Ruby, have passed on the good word about them and the company has grown far beyond its humble beginnings.
Jim said: “When we started the company we had our own computers but rather than rent anywhere we decided to work from Dave’s house.
“We took out a loan from the bank for £5,000. We haven’t had to take out anymore since, although we will have to in the future.”
They now have enough work to be able to outsource some of their operations and have set up their own studio space. They are planning expansion and possibly more studio space and staff.
“It’s slowly happening on its own. We are just letting it build and build. But I want to get out message our there, I want people to be aware of us.”