From the club to the boardroom, Office Monster looking to roar

Office Monster, Commercuial Street, Rothwell, Leeds..Steve Hanley (left) and Ryan Ward pictured in the office.16th October 2017 ..Picture by Simon Hulme
Office Monster, Commercuial Street, Rothwell, Leeds..Steve Hanley (left) and Ryan Ward pictured in the office.16th October 2017 ..Picture by Simon Hulme
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What started life as a side-project between two friends DJing in nightclubs around Europe has now grown to a business turning over £1.58m.

Service-led online office supplier Office Monster has reported its strongest results to date, achieving a gross profit of £430k, showing an increase from £1m in turnover and double-digit growth from £272k respectively when compared to audited figures from 2016.

The business was first started by Ryan Ward and Steve Hanley in 2013, who were first acquainted as members of the dance music scene in West Yorkshire and along the Costa del Sol.

“I knew Steve from past lives shall we say,” said Mr Ward.

“We used to be DJs around the Leeds circuit and Wakefield. We used to live together in Spain.”

The pair’s paths first crossed when they both DJ’d at the Cube nightclub in Wakefield.

“We were following on from each other,” said Mr Ward.

“We became friends through that and started a club night together.”

Mr Hanley studied at Leeds College of Music in music technology and wrote his own music, some of which Mr Ward played on a radio show he had in Spain.

Mr Hanley also previously worked as a financial adviser for HBOS before moving out to Spain to join Mr Ward and to DJ together.

They met their partners there and started families before deciding to start their business.

Following its launch in 2013, the business has consistently invested in its infrastructure, with a significant £40k spend in the last year alone.

A move to a new office, which has doubled the square footage of its previous premises in Rothwell, means the company now has the space required to meet with its expansion plans.

These include an increase in turnover to £3m and the planned appointment of five additional members to the team in the next 12 months.

Mr Hanley told The Yorkshire Post: “We are predominantly web based, we do have a small shop in Rothwell purely because it is in between where we both live.

“We do not aim to be a retailer.

“We are a service business. That is how we grow it. We do focus on the customer first. Pricing is a given. We do a lot of work on that. We can be high turn- over.

“We constantly put the customer first, always calling them to make sure they are happy.

“I get great feedback on service.”

Mr Ward added: “Being in a position to report our best performance to date, while we also move to our new offices and extend our team, is a real achievement. Like many businesses, it’s rare we take the time to look back and to celebrate just how far we have come.

“We have strong plans in place for the year ahead and know that our focus on service is what sets us apart from others in the market as we work with an increasing number of customers. It’s about providing a web based platform that people can order from at the touch of a button, with the help and support of a real person when needed.”

Office Monster now boasts more than 20,000 products available to customers nationwide, selling everything from paper and pens to shredding and water coolers, along with a full selection of office furniture.

The company’s main clients are home offices, schools and larger businesses across a range of sectors.

It is a far cry from the early days of the business in which Mr Ward employed the most pure form of direct marketing.

“When we started in the very early days I used to go out with a flyer. We still have customers to this day that came from that.”

Mr Hanley added that a lot of the approach work came from essentially the process of trial and error.

“We looked at Google Shopping campaign.

“You can throw money at it but you just need to box clever. That great thing about the growth was that there was no outside influence. We used no outside agency, it was ours.

“A lot of businesses going into the market will think I can set up a website and start doing it. But a lot of work went into it.

“I take a lot of joy from looking at reviews from customers. I saw one at 5am today which said ‘why can’t all companies be like Office Monster?’.”

Office Monster currently employs eight people full-time in its office. Both of its owners’ wives work there, although not managed by their husbands.

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