In Bubble’s 19 years we have had offices in many locations – they were all important for different reasons, and as we have now made the move back into London, I thought it might be fun to write about the literal journey (with man in van) we have taken so far.
Office Number One
Aged 26, with some redundancy money (thank you Avid), a company name and a sparkling new desktop computer (which is less powerful than your mobile phone today), I signed my first office contract on a little space in Putney, West London. A short walk from my then flat, the building was trialling what they called ‘serviced offices’, and it came complete with a kettle and a meeting room you could hire, a rather nasty brown carpet and the joy of still having to work with BT to get a phone and internet line in. Bubble & Squeak soon expanded, and we managed to move a wall to house my superstar support person Ean and my brother Dan who was trying out PR for a career – it didn’t last long!
Office Number Two (whilst still having office Number One)
Whilst in the Putney office we were working with the much-missed Softimage. Due to some staffing changes, we did a deal where I spent six months on and off in Montreal. The office here was so very, very cool (especially compared to the Putney one) and the marketing team all had their own individual offices – being used to open plan spaces, the opportunity to have my own area was great, but it was mostly filled with 14 layers of clothing as I was there from January to June! The whole experience was amazing, especially the coffee shops and restaurants nearby, as well as being part of a bigger team.
Office Number Three
With the majority of the business being focussed on VFX, we got to a point where we knew we had to move into the heart of things, and found a space in Princess House on Eastcastle Street. Superstar Ean was still around and helped my Dad paint the office in the bright pink we were famous for. We had a great launch party (luckily the photos are all in storage) and we had many celebrations and a few stories including some involving our Dubai Bubble Wendy. All good things come to an end, and we were asked to move on from our biggest client (it’s not you it’s me type conversation) so changes had to be made and the ‘pink palace’ was given up – not before my Dad and I had to paint the walls back to white!
Office Number Four
Oxford Street – about a five-minute walk from Princess House, we made our temporary home whilst we re-grouped as a company and started rebuilding the business – a serviced office with Baby Cow Productions on the floor above us, so Steve Coogan became a friend (well, not really, but we saw him a lot). The business picked itself up and we were off again when we were offered a great opportunity to be in proper Soho
Office Number Five
We moved into a building in Berwick Street, on the top floor which had a very sloping floor as it used to have a real printing press up there… how they got it up the stairs, I have no idea. At first, we shared with Audio Network which was breaking out into London away from its home in Essex, and we spent many a day sliding from one end of the office to the other. Both companies were on a roll (literally and metaphorically!), so Audio Network moved to another base and the Bubbles took over the whole of the top floor. This was a great period in Bubble’s history with Wendy returning to us again and being back in the heart of the post production world. Sharing with companies such as Soho Editors and Scrub always made for great nights out and shared connections and we were sad to leave here, but another part of the journey enforced a move – he is called Elliot and he is now 9.
Office Number Six
Moving out of London and into the town I live in was hard at first, but completely practical with a 6-month old. We found a tiny office in a very old building with a reception and receptionist that were from the 1980’s – think pine furniture and big hair – REALLY big hair. We soon outgrew this space and moved onto number seven (we are hoping they have now updated the reception and Pam has a new hairdo!).
Office Number Seven
This was Berkhamsted office number two, and again I got the pink paint out and branded the office. The building was and is owned by a marketing agency in the retail world, and this connection bought us into contact with a lot of different people from new sectors and new practices – we picked up our first non-entertainment technology contract through this and still work with them today. Practically, this was a great space and location for me – but not so much for our now Deputy MD Dawn who joined to help me grow the business. So, with a new car and a son happily settled in school, we moved onto number eight.
Office Eight, Nine and Ten
I have grouped these as they were all within Pinewood Studios. We started off with a space for two very thin and tall people (despite being a team of six!), quickly moved into a space for six normal people, and then in our last space we had enough room for 12 plus a balcony and a plant pot called Charity (named after our favourite intern). Dawn, Amy and I had all worked at Pinewood before and it brings its benefits – most people have heard of it (especially in many of the sectors we work in), it’s great being part of a live film studio and very occasionally you see a Storm Trooper at lunchtime. Whilst based in Pinewood we have grown our international offering with Wendy moving to Dubai and working with Denise in Portland, Oregon. We also re-branded – no more pink walls! – and grew the UK team up to nine.
So why this latest move? Being in London offers us a wealth of talent that is difficult to house when based in Uxbridge/Slough. A lot of our UK-based clients have their offices in London and it will be great to be able to see them without having to travel in. We also feel that we are back in the heart of the industry too, and close again to all those great shops, restaurants and bars.
You may think I can’t stay anywhere long, but business and life changes and all our homes have meant a lot to us – as will this new one. We now have bases in Dubai and the US, and we are still expanding, so watch this space for more on our journey.