On the 6th of July 2009, I rocked up to the Beacon South Quarter in Sandyford, with not a notion of what lay before me. I was to meet a girl called Lauren outside of Dunnes, and she would bring me to the office of Simply Zesty, where I would be an Account Manager. I didn’t have much to go on except they were a start up social media agency, who had only been around for a few months. I was up for a challenge and up for something different, and it certainly lived up to my expectations.
We entered a multi storey building which looked like an office/apartment block and took the lift to the third floor. When the lift doors opened, I was greeted by a long corridor with numbers on the doors. I was 100% sure at that point that I was now in an apartment block. Numerous things went through my head as we walked the length of that (horrendously long) corridor. “What have I gotten myself into” “Am I going to leave here minus a kidney” “Am I in an apartment block” “OH MY GOD”.
We eventually stopped and Lauren opened a door which led into an office, which I was pretty sure doubled as a spare bedroom. It had two desks, some wardrobes, a toilet and a huge window which spanned the height and breadth of the room. It was very nice indeed, and my stomach stopped heaving. I sat down, Lauren explained a bit about what I was going to be doing for the day, introduced me to Niall, the other founder of the agency, I opened my laptop, and the next 6 months flew by! It was an absolute roller coaster of late nights, skipped lunches, crazy clients, events, skydives and meetings. So much happened in those 6 months! Lauren got to interview Jon Snow, Stephen Fry quit Twitter, Facebook launched Pages and Twitter hit 5 billion tweets.
All of a sudden we had outgrown our “office” and we needed to move, and so we did. The three of us high tailed it down to Mount Merrion and our new office was born. We were staying here for the foreseeable future and made it our home. More people joined the team, we got our ping pong table, the office was pimped out with very colourful attire from Ikea, and pub lunches in Kielys became the norm. I became the design lead, my view was the beautiful Deer Park, I bought myself the new iPhone4 and we celebrated our first birthday. It was surreal at that point in time to look back over the previous 12 months and think “wow look how far we’ve come”. We had almost 12 people on the team in a year. Nuts. We also now had an office in London and started getting International clients spanning the globe from Russia to Australia working on global reaching campaigns and winning awards for our work!
12 people became 15 and we needed to move again. Our long term home of Mount Merrion lasted less than a year. The Office manager Sarah went office hunting and found us a sweet derelict squash court off Stephens Green, that used to belong to the bank. After a few weeks of negotiations and a month or so of construction work, we were ready to move into our new home, tucked nicely behind the Latvian Embassy and sandwiched between Iveagh Gardens and St. Stephens Green. The new office spanned two floors, had it’s own studio, had a meeting room (posh) and it’s own gates to get in and out.
Few can appreciate what that feeling is like, to catapult forward 1.5 years and be sitting in a completely different setting. From a bedroom to a two storey office. But it continued to grow. By the tender age of 2, we had reached 20 staff, had teams of account managers, videographers, interns, designers, a board of management, a CEO… what! We were fast becoming the biggest and best social media agency in all of the land.
How could it get much better than this? Then the official announcement was made that the company was being sold to UTV Media in Belfast. Holy shitballs. From a bedroom to being owned by UTV. We had impressed the big boys. We were doing it right. We were worth buying. These were the things that dreams were made of. Being bought by UTV was massive. More resources, more recognition, opportunities… the world was our oyster. UTV had another digital agency in Belfast called Tibus who also had about 25 staff. The decision was made to merge the two companies into one under the name Simply Zesty and we would become a Full Service Digital Agency. Not only that, we would now be a team of 50+ account managers, developers, designers, business development peeps. We were now the biggest full service digital agency in Ireland. *Hyperventilates*. You can imagine what goes through somebodies head at that point in time. It is a feeling I will never forget.
The team at Simply Zesty are a second to none group of people. Talented, creative, beautiful people! Ones I am going to miss, a lot. But i’ve decided it’s time to do it all over again and try something different. I’ve been given the opportunity to be Design Lead working with the wonderfolk of Axonista! Designing for Social TV and Second Screen is what lies ahead and boy am I excited. I can’t remember the last time i hadn’t my iPhone or iPad in my hand as I watched TV or a movie. And now it’s going to be my job to make those experiences beautiful for users!
I’m 13 days away from starting a brand new adventure and one that i’m very excited about embarking on. But to Zesty, thank you for the past 3 years and 10 months. It has been one hell of a ride, and one I’m not likely to forget in a hurry.
I’ll leave you with one thought. Work hard at what you do, believe in your abilities and as my Nana always said “What’s For You Won’t Pass You By!”
EDIT: Somewhere between Lauren meeting Jon Snow and me hurling myself out of an airplane for charity, I met the love of my life John Williams who i’d been spamming to come to a photowalk I was organising for a client.