Interview with Ilona Filipi: Moove Agency
Tell us a little bit about your agency?
Moove Agency has been established in the early 2010 and is almost 3 years old now and have 5 team members. We specialise in design & development of websites that run on the WordPress content management system.
We believe that websites should be beautiful in & out so to speak. Just like the Apple philosophy Beautiful on the outside (front-end design), beautiful on the inside (content management system).
Where did you study and how did you find yourself immersed in web design?
The journey was quite long and not really a straight-forward one I’ve been always fascinated by computers. Since an early age I used to attend after-school classes where we were taught about computers and programming. We studied Pascal – a programming language and I suppose that’s where my passion for computing originated from. Later I have enrolled to an electro-computing college where I had classes about electronics alongside programming and computing classes. I also did a certificate level of BSc. Computer Science at the Czech Technical University and then transferred to London to do my BSc. in Multimedia at the London Metropolitan University. It was there that I came across web design for the first time. In fact, London Met was the first school where I had classes about computing alongside classes that were creatively-led. This was a very useful introduction into the world of web design since websites are not just about hard-core technical knowledge. After the university, I worked for one advertising agency in London in a position of graphic/web designer. I stayed there for a year and then left and started to work on my own.
What made you to start a business in London?
I always wanted to work for myself and run a business. In fact, although I always studied programming and did well, I wasn’t looking forward to becoming a programmer in a large company one day. Therefore becoming a freelancer felt completely natural to me.
Were the beginnings in business difficult?
The very beginnings were not very difficult. I had a lot of passion and excitement, didn’t know what is lying ahead of me, wanted big opportunities and challenges. I also started out very carefully. First two years I worked for myself as a freelancer. After leaving my first job I had savings for about three months upfront in case I won’t get any work. The worst case scenario, I figured, would be that if I ran out of money, I would have to get another fulltime job Fortunately, that didn’t happen. During my 2 years of freelancing I have “met” my current business partner Adrian Restantia over the internet We used to work on projects as freelancers together until we decided to “start the real business” – and we founded the digital agency Moove.
It was only then when the real challenges came along. I used to be promoting myself as a freelancer and now I had to promote a digital agency, a business. It was a totally new experience to me and I had to dive into it straight-ahead.
As a freelancer, especially in the digital media industry, you don’t have much problems with finding work (if you are at least average good and based in London). As a digital agency, however, you put yourself in front of a competition of many other digital agencies – with history, experience, connections, English people in the management, etc. The way I see it is that the true challenges are still ahead of us. Our agency is just 3 years old and has three employees except for me and Adrian.
What would you say was the biggest obstacle?
At the beginning, when I used to work as a freelancer, nothing much really. One doesn’t have any special expenses. You can find yourself enough work which you can deliver in your own time and capacity. It’s nothing compared to running an agency. I have to find work for a team of people now – that means that projects has to be bigger, more interesting, turnovers much bigger, one has to depend on people that work for us, has to teach them, lead them. As a company owner I have much more responsibilities and I’m taking much bigger risks.
What role does WordPress play in your work?
WordPress is our big friend. We started to deliver WordPress as a standard content management system to our websites a few years ago. That was driven by client’s demand really. We have just listened to them and now we market ourselves as WordPress experts. I’m quite happy to see that in England there is an interesting trend now emerging. State organisations and non-profits are moving away from expensive custom build content management systems towards WordPress. This is really good news and the fact that we have done quite a few WordPress websites in the past already helps us during pitching process where we compete with big digital agencies.
This year, we’ve developed a few amazing websites on WordPress that are a clear example that one doesn’t need to compromise on front-end when you use WordPress. One is the beautiful Marxent labs website.
and another the unique Chris Kerr.
Which projects are you most proud of?
Currently the above two plus one more that is just close to launch (website where you can download digital datapacks and reports – will be launched in early 2013).
Where do you take the inspiration from?
I personally do not do any design work anymore. But since I love design and it is still me who closes all deals and does our marketing, every day I come across new websites and consult them with my team. Personally, I really like the website siteinspire.net where you can see websites designed in what we call “London style”
And since my long term vision is to grow a successful company, I like to read blogs of successful entrepreneurs. The rest of inspiration comes from the fact that I live and breathe business every day and hence I come across inspirational business people, ideas, projects etc. that help me to learn and grow.