Starting a community-based creative media company

Disillusioned with the way bigger creative agencies operated, a group of young friends set up their own – with community at its heart.
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How it started

Launched in London in 2020, Here Still was born out of a frustration at the way bigger creative media companies and agencies were looking for talent. ‘They are exclusive in their mindset,’ says Scott Cruft, one of the four founders alongside friends Eddy Walker, Rob Harper and Matt Charles. ‘You have to know a certain person, fit a certain look, have a certain number of followers.’ Tired of what they perceived to be companies with the ‘wrong morals’ simply chasing money, the friends decided to set up their own thing: a hybrid operation that’s part media company, part talent management and part creative agency. 

The core members

The core community is made up of the four guys, who oversee the main functions of running the business (operations, talent management, commercial and creative direction) and a wider pool of eight or so close friends who all bring specialist skills to the table, from videographers to photographers, models, content creators and graphic designers. They work on content that ranges from producing brand campaigns (including projects with the likes of Dr Martens, HUF and Converse) to making YouTube shows.

Images courtesy of Here Still
Images courtesy of Here Still
How it works in practice

Though the four ultimately make the final decisions on what projects to pursue – and who works on what – it’s very much a collaborative exercise. ‘Whoever’s involved in the project is completely involved in the decisions of how it’s made and how we put it out there,’ says Scott. There’s no great expectation on members in terms of commitment if they can’t take on the job. That’s when the founders reach out to emerging creatives who are on the group’s radar. ‘We’re about putting talented people at the forefront. We want to open doors for people,’ he says.

Prioritizing projects

Due to past connections at previous roles, brand campaigns are the focus of the business right now. ‘When we started, we introduced ourselves to our contacts and PRs: this is who we are, this is what we’re doing now, here’s some of the content we produced before we formed Here Still,’ says Eddy. With brands increasingly knocking at the DMs, that’s meant a more considered balancing of workload. ‘We don’t want to be putting too much on our plates because we’re a small team,’ says Scott. ‘At the start, we thought we could do this [YouTube] show, this show and that show. We found that it slows other parts of the business – the parts that keep us in money.’ 

Aside from bringing in revenue on projects that resonate, the other focus is on growing the community in a sustainable and organic way. ‘We’re always looking for new people that want to jump in and have a voice – we just want to be careful because we’re a close-knit family,’ says Scott. ‘It has to make sense for the synergy of us.’

Images courtesy of Here Still

This article was first published in Courier issue 43, October/November 2021. To purchase the issue or become a subscriber, head to our webshop.

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