2018 has been quite simply brilliant.
I don’t know how we’ve managed to squeeze quite so much out of it but like every project we seem to be experts at maximising resource to get the best results. Consequently we’re absolutely flying.
We started the year with a bang teaching Bob and Piotr to ski in Bulgaria (they were both naturals) and playing the very competitive table climbing game.
In LV’s second full year we relocated the Sofia studio move in June giving us space to expand the team. Kaloian has been ever faithful and your dedication is much appreciated. We also welcomed Sasho who, although ill at the moment, has been a great addition to the team. We’ve been enjoying the new addition of Oriane in the London studio who’s been a great, we’re all excited to see her leading the LV design charge into 2019. Manuel has been PM’ing the shit out of the projects, having launched over 80 this year and James’ hand has been holding the LV tiller firm having signed up over 40 new clients and ensuring the company has been profitable since the start.
After lots of subversive plotting and secret trips to Cornwall we completed our first major acquisition and brought Creative Edge into the fold in April. It was a lot of hard work but when I consider the amount of talent and wealth of experience that we’ve brought into the Vitamin Group it was completely worth ti. Not to mention the addition of some massive clients such as BT, Openreach, Co Op, Tesco.
Despite the rather awkward announcement of the rebrand at Melinda’s leaving drinks supplemented by a rather delicious showreel (thanks Bob) we are in a fantastic position heading into 2019. Vitamin Cornwall is comfortably the most talked about agency in the SW leading up to Christmas (winky smiley face John) mostly due to us bombarding Cornwall’s natural beauty with a shit load of 8 bit, origami (biodegradable) Brussel sprouts all linking to a game that we’ve all been loving and some of us hacking (not mentioning any names Ruslan ‘I just can’t stop myself hacking’ Nikiforov). This was excellently designed by Sam and beautifully crafted by Dan and has certainly had an impact.
I wanted to say a sincere thank you to Dan, John, Jon, Sam and Suzanne for welcoming us in and making the transition as smooth as possible. We’ve been incredibly lucky to add Kathryn to the VC team. Kathryn has bought a huge amount to the table and I’m not just talking about Asana and Capsule. She writes beautiful words and knows all about meme culture. She’s also pretty good at the old Project Management.
I’ve been impressed with all of your outlooks from the beginning and look forward to turning Vitamin Cornwall into the most significant agency in the South West.
The merger did prompt an enjoyable jaunt to Cornwall with the London teams. Activities included motor boating, sailing, ringoing, ‘borrowing’ a flotilla of small watercraft and pretending we’re in a Swallows and Amazons / Lord of the Flies mashup, BBQ’s on the beach, brewery tours, surfing and a load of work ofc. Round 2 should be fun although I’m not sure how we can top this years.
Where do I start with Vitamin D? It can be described as nothing other than a massive success. It’s quite honestly hard to think back to February the 2nd when Louis and I first stepped foot on Ukrainian soil. In less than a year we’ve gone from no employees to a single desk in CAD co working to a bigger desk, then the whole corner area to a private office then to two private offices only to be topped off by our rather lovely new space (if I don’t say so myself). The triple barrelled Louis Webb-Knight-Webb has been unfaltering in his dedication to building an incredible team. There have been many late nights (not just on the 11pm Ukraine International flight although he has now reached the top status) and a few natural wobbles but the rate of progress here is quite frankly astounding. For Louis to essentially move country is not only a demonstration of his dedication and drive but also his ambition to try and find a Ukrainian wife (which I hear is going well with date No. 2 lined up). Thank you Louis.
..and the Vitamin D team. George, Ruslan, Dmitriy R, Dmitriy S, Anastasia, Roman, Andrew, Lisa, Eugene and Andrew you are simply incredible. The work you’ve produced in the past few months has been awe inspiring and it’s the most satisfying thing to see you all develop as serious programmers solving serious problems.
I have to give Charlotte special credit for what she’s achieved in 2019. She arrived at Vitamin London in a fairly tumultuous time and has really come into her own this year. Navigating both Lobster and City AM to success with meticulous skill. She celebrated these wins in typical Charlotte fashion by saving all her holiday for December and taking a tour of Australia which looks amaze. Thanks Charlotte.
Bob has, as always, been producing some ruddy fantastic work and Art Directing the hell out of Future Generation to name just one. From all of the showreels, the photography to some of the most ambitious UI’s we’ve ever done with Pia and TRM is there anything this man can’t do?
We were sad to lose Jeff from LV this year. He was Vitamin’s 3rd full time staff member and must have the best deadline record on record. He never once missed a deadline in almost 6 years. Joining Vitamin represented his first Job out of University and seeing him grow from a rather wide eyed graduate to director and Co_Founder of Little Vitamin was astonishing. We wish him all the best with Soy (web address) and Huwai and I’ll see you fir that beer in the new year. Thank you for everything Jeff.
We were also sad to lose Piotr at the end of this year. He was Vitamin’s 4th full time employee and has been a dedicated member of the team fore almost 6 years and has helped us achieve great things that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise (Esquared especially).
Thank you Piotr. I’m sure we’ll still be seeing you on a regular basis and wish you all the best on your personal projects. Please do keep us posted as I’m fairly sure ChicaOS is going to achieve sentience and prompt singularity soon so I’d like to be prepared.
Some choice projects and partners that deserve particular mention:
Esquared raised another £2,000,000 at a £10,000,000 valuation and now has 50,000 users booking 6,000 gym or class sessions a month (a lot of zeros I know). It’s in London, Sydney, Brisbane already and heading into New York, Delaware and San Francisco next year. It’s pretty special to think back to when it was nothing more than some scribbled wireframes on a pice of paper to where it is now. All through what we created.
Booking Spaces is pushing on nicely with lots of bookings being pushed through the site. The Racing Manager is just brilliant, it’s been stressful at times but the feedback from customers is superb. The City AM Club is live and kicking. Lacing Lab is raising at a great valuation, Granite is coming together beautifully and Lobster is killing it. Noah’s Box is flying and it looks like Pia is being acquired.
Our startup success rate is well above industry standard and I can only attribute this to all of you.
You are all incredibly talented individuals and it’s an absolute privilege so be working alongside you.
I don’t know about you but I have to pinch myself sometimes and how lucky I am to be designing, building and making a success of ideas everyday. Getting paid for it is a bonus.
We’re only a small group but we’re punching well above our weight, working with some of the worlds biggest brands and building companies from scratch. Creating billions of interactions each year and creating new markets. You should be proud of what we’re doing as
2019 is shaping up to be a whopper with us formalising the Vitamin Labs offering and opening up an Amsterdam office for starters. Just another step on our way to global domination.
It’s hard to do a comprehensive roundup for the various different achievements and challenges we’ve taken, because things move so quickly that you end up saying ‘shit, that was THIS year?!’. So with a drum roll, and in no particular order…
Future Generation. Briefed with a nice sexy little brochure site for student accommodation, this project fast snowballed into one of the best stories we have to tell in the studio. The story of nearly 50 people gathered on an airport runway – cameramen, directors, makeup departments and actors – with a cinema super slow motion camera strapped to the back of a 4×4 truck, racing down the tarmac recording about 3 seconds of footage which was slowed down into over a minutes-worth. Its something nobody could have expected and that’s why we should be proud to do what we do.
The site did admittedly have some teething issues, although thanks to the hard work given by everyone including VD and VC, we not only had some wonderful interactive 3D developed in there, but site content written by local students for their genuine insights to their cities. All of this topped off with a launch party at FG’s new offices and the quote ‘this is the best website in student accommodation’. What’s next? Well we’re actually advising on the art direction for the interior design of the buildings!
The Racing Manager. Ok this is an oldie, yes, but it’s here to stay. This year the app has begun its much needed refresh as a phase two on the original mvp, and we’re always ecstatic to hear how easily the project seems to raise its rounds of investment funding. Compliments and bits of feedback have flooded in to help us shape the project and I feel confident in saying it’s truly going to be a game changing service. Having had its launch party, we’ve also created adverts to be printed across the country, seen new team members join and begun testing the platform with a fantastic amount of live data. There is still a lot we want to achieve with the project too – a lot of ideas from the studio-famous Andy Ash, not to mention refinements in design, code and exciting new functionality. And it doesn’t stop there because while 2018 has seen TRM go from strength to strength, we know that with all the skilled people working on it behind the scenes (and behind the screens) we’re should see a lot more of TRM publicly too.
Lobster. In house photography, animation, hand modelling. Lobster has been an excellent show of what we are capable of in Vitamin London as we collaborated with people in an entirely different design studio – the acclaimed ‘Lawless’. We’ve gone to meetings by foot, train, uber and airplane. We’ve had a copywriter who has worked on the likes of Nike come in and shape the brand with us. It might seem oddly normal to us now, but these are not the sorts of things 2017 would have offered us in quite the same way, and things I know the team in general is excited to see develop even further in the upcoming projects. Research, UX, UI, copywriting, asset creation, prototyping, pitching, presenting, app design, email design; so much for us to say we accomplished within Lobster which is set to change the lives of thousands of people. Charlotte’s done us proud from the VL side. But stop. There’s more! We’re also filming a documentary styled case study as part of the effort to share the hard work and consideration of our projects to others, coming to a Vimeo near you in 2019.
E2. I don’t know about you, but the prominence of this brand is getting surreal. Adverts on instagram, friends talking about it, launching in Australia and other countries, celebrities and fitness figures endorsing it. And to think it all started in our studio basement (like all great project origin stories). Now we haven’t exactly done any work on it this year, but that if anything makes its success in 2018 even more impressive and one to keep an eye on.
City AM. As you know we don’t like to play by one single style of project, and ideas are best shared across cultures, genres and industries. City AM is no exception as we teamed up with external designers and agencies to curate a platform which is in it’s own league when put beside its competitors. Offering a variety of promotions, gifts and insights available only to City AM Club subscribers, the platform wears a gorgeously different aesthetic to what you might expect compared to other services in the city, which is hopefully set to win the VL and VD teams some juicy and much deserved awards! 2018 also saw it’s launch party in London’s Ned which if anything other than the fancy affair it was, gave another reminder of how we are creating everything for more than the client – an ethos Charlotte genuinely lives by and succeeds in. Well done.