730 days

I’m in a contemplative mood so I figured I’d put some thoughts down on the studio and what we’ve been busy with since I started getting that weird feeling the whole world was tumbling upside down.

730 days ago (or two years) was March 3rd 2020. A whole lot was being said in the news about this mad virus in China, and most of my awareness of it was based on a few back-and-forth texts with my good friend Lee who lives in Beijing. Two weeks later and St Paddy’s was cancelled. To our non-Irish friends, saying this was drastic is possibly the biggest understatement ever made.

The reason March 3rd sticks out to me is that’s when I started putting the wheels into motion for what would become Hundred Studio. It took me about 5 months to get “I should do something different” translated into a business, and all the good stuff you use to convince yourself it’s a fantastic and safe idea to go out on your own. 

I was horribly wrong and incredibly right at the same time. I’m getting very used to this feeling.

We started as a one-man-and-many-trusted-friends studio in August 2020 and had doubled in size (to two) by November when Craig came on board. Huge growth, when you think about it. 

When we started we made a very conscious decision not to chase retained work. We thought we were geniuses. “Just think, we won’t be tied down to anything!”

A few months in we realised retainers keep your head above the water. We still decided to push against the current and test ourselves.

After a year, we knew we needed to pick a different hill to die on. We’re still looking, but we’ll find one soon.

Since that day in March, we’ve worked with clients big and small, projects new and old, and even managed to end our first year in profit. We’re already on course for a massive year two, we’ve opened our own studio in South Belfast, worked with a team of over a dozen freelancers, and keep getting stronger and stronger.

For us, there’s been a lot of good news in the middle of lockdowns, restrictions, and our beloved pubs being offered up and taken away over the course of 730 days. This keeps us going – that even when the cards are stacked there’s no lying down.

I think it’s a central belief or theme of the studio that we want to go against the grain, but I’m realising now this isn’t just a “design term” or a BS “lead generation technique”. It’s about much more than clickbait, SEO-driven copy. It’s about a quality we want to persevere with not just ourselves, but alongside our clients.

When businesses were at their most vulnerable, we jumped in the deep end and started our own. When everyone went remote, we set up shop.

I don’t believe it’s a coincidence we’ve done well since we opened. I think it’s down to determination, a positive attitude and ultimately really, really good work. We aren’t afraid to do the things others won’t. 

It’s taken me 730 days to realise it isn’t about getting everyone to reinvent the wheel. 

It’s about finding people who want to know what a new wheel looks like. 

730 days from today is March 2nd 2024. What are you doing before then? 

— Gregg