Josh Bennet and Nick Patterson from video start-up Storm + Shelter tell us their story
“Josh, Nick and Gruff are passionate about their business and making it a success. Securing funding at the right time can ‘make or break’ businesses like theirs and I’m pleased Finance Wales was able to provide Storm+Shelter with a loan as they’d been unable to secure finance from other sources. In the last two years Storm+Shelter has won numerous awards and built up a great list of high-profile clients.”
Nicola Edwards, Finance Wales
RedHanded: Tell us about the company and what you do?
JB: We specialise in video content – for web and TV. Our background is video and it’s still mainly what we do but animation is becoming increasingly popular for online marketing and services and new businesses as it allows you to communicate a lot of information effectively.
How did you start?
JB: I’ve been making films since I was young and then went to the international film school in Newport.
NP: Gruff (a fellow director) and I were on the same course doing music technology at the Atrium in Cardiff.
JB: I was freelancing and so was Gruff and we had one huge project that was coming up and we needed some help so, having seen Nick’s work, we got him involved. And we just worked together really well so we decided to form a company.
Do you need to come from a background where you’ve studied to get into your industry?
NP: I came from a music background and though I always had a digital camera and videoed stuff as a hobby, never really delved into it as a career venture until my last year when I did a masters studying viral media and how artists can use media online to publicise themselves. I would encourage people to just go out and shoot – the more experience you get the better and more confident you get.
JB: Most of my teenage years were spent running around with a camera learning how to tell a story so the course was more about turning this into a career.
What were the early hurdles you came up against when you formally started the business?
NP: A lot of people who’ve freelanced struggle to work in a team whereas we work together really well. It hasn’t been plain sailing and we were lucky that Josh bought a good camera at the outset which catapulted us higher than a lot of people who were shooting on hobbiest cameras – it made everything look that much better.
Did that help when pitching for business?
JB: Yes, it meant the work could speak for itself, for sure, but some people can rent the kit, have all the gear and no idea so it’s better to have a real understanding of what you’re doing.
What are the next steps?
NP: We were lucky enough to get some investment from Finance Wales. We realized that we were expanding really quickly and the demand for video was growing with clients asking for more and more different things. For example, drones. Gruff has just done the training that allows him to get a CAA Licence to fly a drone which, as a commercial operator, you have to have and that’s an expensive process.
JB: We secured enough investment to supply us with the drone and training and a lot of extra kit – shooting gear, lenses, extra processing equipment for the office.
What was the case that you made to Finance Wales?
NP: The aim was to improve our quality. The next, huge step up for us was to be able to offer high production values to our clients at a very competitive price.
JB: We looked at our competitors and asked what do we need to be better than them. And this equipment has helped us no end. We’ve got quite a few new clients because of work we’ve done utilising this gear.
What was it like working with Finance Wales?
NP: They’ve been really good to us and they’ve been such great people to work with. They really took time to get to know us, understand what we wanted to do and how our industry worked. They’re always on hand if we ever need anything and chatting to us about where we are and what we’re doing. I’d definitely recommend them.
JB: To them, it’s great that we’re utilising these funds in a way that’s extremely productive. They can physically see the benefit that this fund has actually had for us.
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