Chris de Souza is has been a regular face at Moseley Exchange over the last couple of months. Recently he’s been involved in a new business partnership venture which should lead to some exciting times ahead! We caught up with Chris and his business partner Steve Heyes after the coffee morning last Friday.
Tell us a little about yourselves
Chris: I’m a freelance graphic designer specialising in branding and web design.
Steve: I’m a freelance web developer specialising in anything to do with the web from social media to website creation – front end development.
Chris: We’re starting a company called Studio Bonito which will be a full service digital creative agency in Birmingham. That’s all starting very shortly.
How did this all come together – meeting up and putting the idea together?
Steve: We met at church, just started chatting and hanging out, realised we were into the same kind of thing, Chris doing graphics and me doing web design then we did a few projects together which went really well.
Chris: From there it just seemed to make sense to carry on working together in some dynamic. Spending time in industry we knew that we wanted to branch out with an ethos of our own.
So what will this new company do?
Chris: Well the two areas we specialise in are branding – building a customer experience for a company, brand guidelines, and brand strategy, and then really focusing on website design and build. So we can help companies communicate online using bespoke websites which will be fully content managed.
So creating a unique logo and identity – a bit like the BBC website which you always know is the BBC because it’s got that look about it?
Both: Yes, definitely.
We’re talking here at Moseley Exchange – how has the Exchange helped you in your work?
Chris: I’ve spent the last 2 months working here as a freelancer and it has been great. It’s very convenient for me to get to – a 5 min walk from home. There’s a really good atmosphere to create in, it is light and airy, clean and modern. Time to focus on your work, but you can meet other people over lunch which is good for contacts but also refreshing as well.
So do you think centres like this are useful?
Steve: Definitely. For start-ups and freelancers I think it’s a great facility. The networking at Coffee and Cake on Friday is really helpful, there are always people around to bounce ideas off each other, and it’s a great environment.
Chris: Helps keep overheads down as well. It’s really good for when you’re transitioning – developing a project where you can’t commit to a fixed term rent but need somewhere that gets you out of the house.
So what’s the next step now? Where are you moving on to?
Chris: We’ve got 6 months in an office in Aston Science Park through an organisation called BSEEN. Basically provides office space, training and mentoring, some finance as well in a supportive incubator environment, which will be fantastic for us as a place to start-up Studio Bonito.
Do you have any top tip as creatives or freelancers?
Chris: When you create a brand its not what you say you are, it’s what other people say you are which is important.
Steve: Just network, get in to the scene. There’s a load of things to get involved with, like coffee and cake at Moseley Exchange, multipack for web developers and things like that. I’ve had job opportunities and other good things come out of networking.
If you would like to stay in touch with Chris, he can be emailed at email@example.com and Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can visit their website at http://studiobonito.co.uk.