Lauren Higgs, co-founder of Good as Gold, talks about starting, running and growing a business.
My background is in digital media. I spent five years at DMG Media working in my later years as head of ad operations for MailOnline Ireland and Evoke.ie. Danielle (pictured right) worked for a variety of startups including Offset when it was established in 2010. Her background is in design for screen and user experience design. She worked as head of design in an app development house, as well as more recently teaching and lecturing Design for Screen in IADT for the last two and half years. When we started ‘Good as Gold’ back in 2015, it was beneficial for us to have both the corporate and startup experience.
We’ve been Good as Gold for the past two and a bit years – moving into a much broader range of digital services combining digital design with digital strategy.
The great thing about digital is that at any one time we can be working on a cross-section of projects, from beauty, tourism and food to software and tech. Right now, we’re working with some great established brands like Showtime Analytics, Fetch, CA Design, Crypto Coast and some exciting new businesses. Our projects entail anything and everything digital related including branding, website creation, content strategy and social media strategy.
“We collaborate a lot in the studio, coming together to formulate content strategies and wireframes.”
A typical day
A typical day for us begins at our studio in Killincarrig, Greystones. We have a dog flap as there are three canine visitors (Howard, Walter and Noel) who clock in when we arrive. We have a team catch up outlining goals and tasks for the day. Due to the nature of our business, a lot of client communication can be done online or over the phone, so every day we catch up with our live contract clients.
Greystones is an ideal spot for meeting with new or potential customers because there are so many lovely places for coffee. The Bearpaw Deli in Theatre Lane is our spot for local business meetings, and out of office catch-ups. We schedule all other meetings for the same day and once a week make a trip to Dublin to catch up with existing clients or to meet new ones. We collaborate a lot in the studio, coming together to formulate content strategies and wireframes, we talk openly about all of our projects in the office so every team member can contribute their thoughts. We’re also lucky enough to have access to a beautiful garden, which is great for creative inspiration.
Greystones is jam-packed with a vast range of business owners, innovators and entrepreneurs. For years, we’ve wanted to get involved with something that encourages us all to get together; Founder Friday was the absolute perfect fit (thanks, Bank of Ireland). Every single week, more and more exciting attendees come out of the woodwork, and the community word-of-mouth spreads. The format of the evening really works.
Having attended a wide range of networking events over the years, this is 100% the first one that doesn’t feel like networking. The atmosphere is extremely relaxed; there is a natural flow to the room and to the conversation that doesn’t feel forced, awkwardness at these things is a big turn off for a lot of business owners. The fact that people can kick back and grab a pint in a pub-like venue helps. I guess what we’ve learned is that by removing the ‘formalities’ associated with these type of events, the content of what we discuss is much more open, honest and relevant with the audience. When you strip it all back, you’re left with real opinions and a sounding board for new ideas – which is both fun and exciting as a host.
“At our core, we value good people, honesty and hard work.”
We’re family people through and through. Danielle married my brother at the end of 2017, making us not only business partners but sisters-in-law, which can be quite confusing in a small community like Greystones. So we spend a huge amount of time together outside of work as well. We’re driven by making our families proud and by creating a business that we can be proud of ourselves. This stops us from getting notions, at our core, we value good people, honesty and hard work.
Creativity is a huge passion of ours. We’re always looking for new opportunities to develop our talents and get the creative juices flowing. Challenging ourselves and problem solving through code or design has helped keep us on our toes. Danielle’s third level teaching has meant she’s had to keep a constant eye on industry trends and we learn a lot from the students who have their finger on the pulse regarding what’s crisp and fresh. Being at the forefront of creative tech is our goal, and never fails to drive us from one project to the next.
“It would be great to see Ireland as pioneers in client servicing on a global level in the creative tech field.”
From the very beginning, we’ve wanted to see more businesses taking ownership of their digital presence and less smoke and mirrors in the industry in general. A term we’re moving away from more and more is ‘telling your story’ as a service offering. It implies a level of passivity on the client’s side. The reality is, if we (as agencies) listen enough to clients and place value on the experience they’ve amassed, we should be equipping them with the tools to tell their own stories. In tech, in particular, service providers are all too quick to work on a solution that locks the client out of their own website or marketing plan – and whack a big price tag on any maintenance that’ll be needed. We’d love to see more suppliers taking the time to learn from their clients and to invest time in building a trusting business relationship. It would be great to see Ireland as pioneers in client servicing on a global level in the creative tech field.
We see more and more cross-business integration which is terrific. Rather than viewing businesses in a similar field as competition, there seems to be much more room for collaboration and strategic partnerships – where numerous parties can work together to create great solutions for clients. This is better for all involved, allowing us all to play to our strengths and give the best response to the project instead of trying to be all things to all men and women.
“That’s another reason why we do Founder Friday, to support this great place.”
There was a time where we thought being close to the city centre was very important to our business, but over the years this has dissipated. We both grew up in Greystones and live locally. We started our first jobs here, we know the community, and we see the potential for keeping employment local. Both Danielle and I have done the dreaded commute for employment in the past, and once you get used to a two-minute drive to the office, it can be an extremely difficult thing to give up. Danielle also has a one-year-old, who is as we mentioned, also my niece. We catch up with her and our families most days for lunch which is a huge bonus.
Greystones in itself has become an exciting place to do business. In the beginning, we used to travel to Dublin a lot more but find now that clients want to come to us, partly to visit The Happy Pear, but also because it is a beautiful town. Although our customers come from all over the country, the business community in Greystones has been some of our best and longest standing clients. Often local entrepreneurs will deliberately put work our way because we’re from the area and it means a lot to us. That’s another reason why we do Founder Friday, to support this great place.