SUNDERLAND siblings are helping put small businesses in the frame, after setting up shop in a North East incubator space.
Brother and sister Craig and Victoria Measham joined forces last summer to form Meash Media, delivering video and animation to small local businesses. Now, as it gears up for growth, the company has taken space in Sunderland Software Centre, having been operating from Craig’s spare bedroom for its first five months of trading.
The duo have followed in the footsteps of their father, who had his own photography and videography business when they were growing up.
Craig said: “We were always around cameras, so it all came really naturally to us. Both Victoria and I went to college to study it, and Victoria graduated a few years ago with a degree in Film and TV Production from Northumbria University, so we’ve honed our skills and really committed to making this work.”
Craig left a job in retail to take the leap into self-employment, a decision he does not regret.
“I’d always thought about it; setting up a business of my own. And it just felt like the right time to take the leap. I spoke to Victoria and when she agreed that we should do it, I started looking at what support was available to get us started.”
With no experience of running a business, the Meashams were quickly enrolled on a Prince’s Trust course, giving them the chance to develop their understanding of how to set up and grow a company.
“The course was amazing,” said Victoria, 23.
“It gave us all the tools and knowledge we needed to set up in business and we still have the support of a mentor, who gives his time to help us work through our plans and make sure we build a sustainable business.”
The company – which the duo hope to grow – offers commercial photography, videography and animation to small businesses, and with prices starting from £200, the idea is to make videos accessible to micro-businesses or sole traders who might otherwise be unable to afford their support.
“We want to give small businesses the chance to develop content to help them grow, and we believe so many would benefit from video but simply can’t afford it, explained Victoria.
“By giving them the chance to get a video for a realistic price, we are helping them compete – to look professional.”
As well as commercial video and photography, the company also offers wedding and ‘consumer’ photographic services.
“My dad always offered wedding photos and portraits, and it’s an area that still interest us,” explained Victoria.
“Our dad is really proud that we followed in his footsteps. He wants to support us as the business grows, which would be great, but we’ll need to train him up. He used to edit videos by physically cutting and splicing analogue film together, so things have moved on quite a bit in this industry. We’d love to work with him though.”
The company has been supported by MAKE it Sunderland (delivered by Sunderland City Council).
Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “It’s fantastic to see a new generation of entrepreneurs set up their business out of Sunderland Software Centre.
“We want this city to be an entrepreneurial place, where people are supported to set up and grow their business, and Meash Media shows that – by providing a high-quality space where businesses can set up and be supported with their growth – we are establishing Sunderland as a start-up city. It’s no coincidence that we have the second highest rate of growth in digital turnover in the UK outside London, with environments like Sunderland Software Centre creating the optimum conditions for companies to grow.”
For more information about Sunderland as a place for software, visit www.makeitsunderland.com, call 0191 561 1194, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or follow @MakeItSund on Twitter for updates from the city.