What did you want to be when you were young?
A record cover designer (this is the dark ages when music was still in vinyl format) or a golf professional. Quite a contrast!
What are the main career stepping stones you have taken?
My first job back in 1988 as a studio junior at an Aberdeen advertising agency (aged 16) was a major break. I travelled for a couple of years in my early 20’s and was fortunate enough to land a job at a leading design firm in Sydney. When I returned home to Aberdeen, Mike Hampton approached me with the idea of starting a new design consultancy – Hampton Associates was born. This was in 1996, I was still only 24 and we had a grand total of two employees (myself and Mike) and literally no clients. The consultancy has grown to be one of the most respected in Scotland. Last year was another new chapter for Hampton’s with Mike leaving the business and The Urquhart Partnership investing – exciting times with a new management team and big opportunities ahead.
Like most people I have a few, but number one has to be laziness. All of the talent in the world comes to nothing if you can’t back it up with a positive attitude. You can imagine how my two kids love my ‘get up and go’ attitude – I have Xbox time out on a regular basis.
Best achievement so far?
Helping build Hampton Associates into a leading consultancy is something I’m proud to have been a part of. Client projects continue to deliver a real sense of achievement. Being told that your branding or digital work has made a direct contribution to the success of a business is incredibly rewarding and the main reason why I do what I do.
What has motivated you?
People. The opportunity to learn from the Hamptons team – working with creative and digital people provides you with a continuous source of knowledge and innovation – and also the chance to meet with new clients and be part of their business vision is always motivating. It’s an inspiring environment to work in as I get to meet so many interesting people.
What's the best way to motivate others?
Listen and learn. Allowing your team the space to grow and have regular input into project and business strategy is the ultimate motivational tool, I believe.
Your favourite stress-buster?
I like to pick up the guitar on a regular basis (just as long as no one is listening), golf, following the Dons, mountain biking, red wine and regular DIY projects (hiding in my shed is a favourite pastime) all contribute to my stress relief.
What's your best career advice?
If your instincts are telling you it’s the right thing to do – then do it. Go against your gut reaction and 99% of the time it will be the wrong move.
Is there any day in your career you would like to live again?
Sitting in a tiny office, day one of Hampton Associates, staring at the phone waiting for it to ring. Knowing what I know now, I would be able to tell my young self to be calm, as all will be well in the end.
Is there a time in your career you miss most?
I wouldn’t say miss necessarily, but when you first start out in business with a small, young team it is an adventure. Most of the time you are flying by the seat of your pants, looking for the next opportunity and learning along the way – a nerve-wracking but hugely enjoyable time for me.
What's your dream job?
Many people tell me that the creative nature of my job is their dream so I always feel pretty lucky. I would love to be able to write and illustrate for a living – being set up in a cottage in the middle of nowhere sounds ideal too. I’ve even tried getting published a couple of times, but no luck…yet!