The Barley Mow centre in Chiswick is home to Zebedee Creations, an agency specialising in 'good looking, smooth running, hard working' web design. We asked managing director Karen Oliver to tell us a bit more about the company’s history, the biggest business challenges she's faced, and who exactly Matt Cutts is and why he’s so important...
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m the managing director and co-owner of Zebedee Creations web design agency in West London. I have a passion for the web and love seeing exceptional new web design emerge from just a few initial ideas and conversations. Our creations can entirely change the image of a business.
I’m always inspired by the way a website can have such an influence on the perception of a business, I love being involved and contributing to that process and seeing the outcome is very rewarding. Especially when it comes to positive feedback and client satisfaction. I’ve always loved art and design in any form, but also had a geeky streak to my personality so I guess that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing! I’m very lucky – my job is my vocation.
You’ve worked for an impressive range of clients. Can you tell us a little more about Zebedee?
Zebedee has been around for a long time. Compared with other web agencies, we are very well established and have a vast amount of experience under our belt. We are a full service web design and development agency, offering web design, websites, intranets, microsites and competitions, and search engine optimisation, all from our office here in West London.
You name it, if it’s to do with the web, then we can do it. Our process is project-management-led with obsessive attention to detail, testing and quality.
How long have you been based at Barley Mow and why?
Since 2002. We like the location; the building is super cool, and it’s really flexible. You can move location within the building when you need to.
Business-wise, what are you most proud of?
I’m proud of the team. They are always collaborative and passionate about what they do. The team are the company.
What have been your biggest business challenges?
Recruiting is my biggest challenge, both financially and timewise. Finding the right people is hard.
How are you funded? Did you seek any outside help?
No, we didn’t have any funding. Having worked for the company since 1999, we bought the business with our own capital.
Where do you see Zebedee in a year's time? In three years’ time?
We’re moving into iPad application development, it’s something we are getting more requests for. With that, I’d like to continue to work with big brands while still being able to offer cost-effective sites to smaller local London companies.
What are the most important trends in web design?
At the moment, I would say minimalism, flat UI (with neverending shadows), typography, video and retro styling.
If you weren’t MD at Zebedee, what would you be doing? What do you think the rest of your team would be doing?
I’d still be running my own business for sure, probably in the design and interiors field. The team? I’ve no doubt they’d be doing something creative and fun!
Who would you ask (dead or alive) to be a dream member on your board of directors?
Most certainly Matt Cutts. I would love to pick his brains! He’s head of the web spam team at Google and provides insight for webmasters trying to optimise websites. He knows a thing or two about how Google algorithm works.
What are the most important things for you in an office space? What's your office luxury?
Space is important, room to breathe with an open feeling. Somewhere to sit and brainstorm is important, so I’d say our meeting area is our one luxury.
Find out more about Zebedee Creations and follow them on Twitter.