When Rob Ellis’ agency Two Stories started to land some big clients, he didn’t hesitate to bring in outside expertise to help with the workload.

Ellis launched the agency with his co-founder Bekkie Hull in Lancaster just a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic struck but quickly started working with the likes of Channel 4 and Wax Lyrical.

The co-founders had ambitions to grow but wanted to resist the temptation to be a big agency.

“I’ve worked in lots of large studios in the past like Fat Media and Nublue. Large agencies are great, but we saw a market shift from the full-service agency to the smaller, more detailed studio,” he explains.

“We wanted to focus on brand and how a business brand comes across. The downside of that was there were only two of us at the start.

“If you want to work with very large businesses you’ve got to spread yourself very thinly. There were two of us working with the likes of Channel 4 and the Advertising Association.

“Our solution was to bring in freelance support when needed. We made it very clear we were bringing outside expertise into our studio, whether they were developers, videographers etc.

“We identified the skills we didn’t have but it’s important you don’t try and hide that, and the businesses have respected us for that.”

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The approach hasn’t stifled Two Stories as business has grown 70% in the last six months, having doubled turnover in year two.

It has just recruited four new members of staff and now has a workforce of seven.

“My co-founder Bekkie Hull and I want to be very active in the projects we’re working on,” he says. “The biggest challenge has been finding the right kind of people who fit that model.

“One of the things that we want to make sure is that our clients have direct access with the team.”

Two Stories is based in CityLab in Lancaster’s Dalton Square.