Celebrating 15 years and saying thank you


Posted by: Stafford Sumner on 6th December 2018


Celebrating 15 years and saying thank you

2018 has been a big year for me. It was a time for milestones, celebration, and reflection.

Not only did I celebrate turning 40 but Jarrang, the business I first started in 2003, at the tender age of 24, turned 15. And as we head towards the end of the year, I think it’s only natural to pause and reflect on them – chiefly, thinking about what I’ve learnt in 15 years of business and the journey I’ve been on.

It all started 16 years ago when I was sat on the Northern Line commuting to my day job in the City, when, with a blank sheet of paper, a pen and a head full of ideas and ambition, the concept of Jarrang was conceived.

Fast forward 6 months and I left the security of a well-paid job, set up a company, packed my bags and moved to Cornwall in the hope of making a go of things.

15 years later, here I am, and this adventure’s been more than that bright-eyed 24 year old could ever have imagined – I’ve worked alongside some incredible people to build a business I’ve always believed has been on the cutting edge of email marketing

Jarrang continues to grow from strength to strength because we’ve had the support of good people but we’ve also continually evolved our offering to meet the demands of an ever changing market.

As many of you know, at various points over the years we’ve made temporary forays into other channels, but our core product, everything we do, and where we stand today, is email marketing.

We’re passionate about helping people to create and send better email marketing campaigns. Emails that deliver results, are compliant with the law, and look good in the process. It’s what we do and we like to think that we do it well.

We made the decision earlier this year to merge our two brands, MailAway and Jarrang; bringing the whole family under one roof so we can provide the same award winning services to all our customers with the same talented team of experts.

This means we are now servicing clients from start-ups and family businesses to multinational brands, all from our base in Falmouth.

With GDPR having such a huge impact on businesses and their marketing databases, many organisations previously unknown to us before this year, have turned to Jarrang for help, and working with legal partners like our friends at Stephens Scown, we’ve been able to provide independent guidance and support to a whole spectrum of clients.

This action of throwing the doors open has also led to new opportunities, which means we are now able to support clients regardless of which platform they use. Historically, we only supported a couple of platforms but the world is changing and we’ve found that people want the option to choose their own software be that Mailchimp, HubSpot, Campaign Monitor, or the plethora of other providers out there.

It’s an exciting time for the industry and for us as a company. I’ve learnt so much in 15 years it’s incredibly difficult to narrow it down but, if I were to pick out the key points, they would be:

Believe in yourself. If you have a dream then follow it. Take the risk, have the courage to see it through, always back yourself and don’t leave yourself asking: “What if?”

Surround yourself with good people. It’s a hard lesson to learn (believe me, I know) but you can’t be the best at everything. There are people out there better than you at doing things. Whether it’s your network or your team, surround yourself with people who inspire you to be better and who you can learn from.

Say thank you. It costs nothing but its value is immeasurable.

Deliver on promises. If you say you’re going to do something, then do it. As an individual and for Jarrang as a company, I’ve always been guided by this principle and it’s been one of the cornerstones our success has been built on.

Don’t be scared of change. It’s said the only constant is change so embrace it, own it, and don’t be scared of it.

Never give up. Whether it’s in life or in business, there’ll be times you want to throw in the towel. But if you still believe in something then don’t let it go and don’t give it up without a fight.

In the spirit of saying thank you, I’d like to extend my thanks here to everyone who has helped me over the years. There are too many people for me to thank individually but there are some key people (15 in fact!) who really deserve a special mention:

1. Andrew Finley. My good friend and mentor, Andrew, has stood by my side through the good times and the bad, steering me in the right direction to carry on and go again.
2. Tony Everett. For his pragmatic guidance and encouraging me to ‘think bold.’
3. My Parents. From my first office in their spare room, to the counselling and mugs of tea to celebrate and commiserate, the personal sacrifices they made to help me to realise my ideas, and to pick me up when I was down, can never be fully repaid.
4. Tommy Tonkins. For his boundless energy and ideas and helping to give me a voice by telling my story.
5. Sam Normington. Brother, friend, confidant. By my side when many others would have walked away and knowing what I needed before others even realised what I was thinking.
6. Martin Williams. For his intellectual thinking and for bringing big brand ideas to our small agency.
7. Thad Cox. For opening up the doors to us with what’s possible in terms of brand. For giving us an identity and a purpose.
8. All the naysayers. For those people who told me it couldn’t be done. Thank you. Your perspective combined with my dogged determination helped to prove you wrong.
9. My Team. Past and present, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with many talented people over the years who have given their all to me, our company and to our clients.
10. Jeremy Richards. From Falmouth University, who, back in 2009, sat around the kitchen table with me, helped bring together a collaboration to create MailAway, giving us access to a wider audience and a pool of fresh graduates.
11. Neil Roach. The first business person I met in Cornwall at a Chamber breakfast back in 2003. That one chance meeting went on to open up a series of seemingly unforeseen doors for us. Thank you for seeing something in that nervous young stranger all those years ago and for helping me to build lifelong friendships as well as establishing a foothold in the local business community.
12. British Council. For their digital pioneers programme, coaching, and giving me the opportunity to go to be ambassador for the UK’s digital media industry in Hong Kong.
13. Jean Christie. For giving a 19 year old the confidence to realise his goals and sign up to studying business and marketing at university.
14. Henry the Spaniel. For keeping me sane by demanding walks and giving me the down time I need to think and consider my options.
15. “Nanny” Sumner – For her lifetime of hard work, inner strength, thought for others and attention detail – she lives on in me and the work the we do. From a very young age I watched her work and learned the value of hard graft and pride taken in a job well done.

If our history is anything to go by, I know we’ll continue to evolve and respond to ever changing needs and I look forward continually sharing our story with you over the coming years. Here’s to the next 15 years!

About the author

Stafford Sumner

An expert in developing businesses through email marketing, Stafford founded Jarrang in 2003, and since then has worked with hundreds of business across the globe helping them grow and succeed.