They say necessity is the mother of invention, so when Swindon-based IT provider Thirdline couldn’t find its perfect web design company, it had to create its own.
Phoenix Factory – which launches this week – was established after clients started asking Thirdline to recommend web design companies.
“We just could not find one that met our own high standards,” said Thirdline MD Jack Peploe.
“Some were cheap but failed to deliver on quality. Others were very, very expensive. And we didn’t find any that delivered on our high standards of customer service, which is the key to the success of our business.
“I felt unable to recommend outside contractors that could not deliver the customer experience my clients demanded from Thirdline,” said the entrepreneur. “So I set up my own.”
Phoenix Factory is based at Thirdline’s headquarters in Liddington, near Swindon. The team consists of ‘code warrior’ Dillon Smart, ’design warrior’ Ollie Robson, and James Pinnock, ‘the chief’.
Before Dillon joined the IT company, was worked with Windows of a different kind – as a window cleaner. But the 20-year-old had been teaching himself coding since the age of 12, and even developed his own version of online photo-sharing service Instagram. He is now a master of coding languages PHP, MySQL, jQuery, and WordPress.
Ollie (21) studied graphic design, photography and computing and New College in Swindon, and has a foundation degree in art and design. He joined Thirdline as a branding specialist from a printing firm in Swindon.
The stand-alone company provides three key services to SMEs: branding, print – business cards, flyers, leaflets and brochures – and interactive services, which include websites, apps, and email campaigns.
By employing a top-notch graphic designer and a brilliant coder, James says he has created a team that produces great-looking websites that work flawlessly.
To showcase their talents, Phoenix Factory have created a stunning brand for their company, and designed an ambitious website that showcases their talents to the full.
“As an example,” said James, “We’re big fans of Parallax scrolling websites, which invite the user to stay on a single page by scrolling down, rather than flicking between tabbed pages. This way of delivering websites to consumers is perfect for the tablet- and smartphone-browsing world.
“However, single pages are awful for search engine optimisation, so we set ourselves the challenge of designing a website that acted like a Parallax site, whilst keeping separate page identities for SEO purposes.”
Another challenge was seemingly child’s play – a chalkboard that invites visitors to the site to scribble their own design in the header.
“The chalkboard references our own chalkboard wall in the Phoenix Factory office, where creative ideas are born and explored,” said James. The chalk board on the website will remember your unique design, wherever you go within the site, and even if you go away and return later.”
Dillon said James and Ollie’s idea presented the greatest programming challenge: “Every time you change the chalk design, you change the code of the website. It was really tricky – but we’re all thrilled by the way it turned out.”
“Phoenix Factory is aimed at SMEs with a budget starting at £1,000 to £2,000 to invest in a website,” said James. “These aren’t templated websites; they’re built from scratch. With Thirdline as our parent company we can, of course, offer competitive hosting and support packages. There are even payment plans available.
“We’re trying to break the mould here, and prove that you don’t need to spend the earth to get a website with the wow factor. No-one has an excuse to have a bad brand any longer!”
Visit the Phoenix Factory website and play with the interactive chalkboard at www.phoenixfactory.co.uk
Pictured above from left to right: Ollie Robson, James Pinnock and Dillon Smart of Phoenix Factory