The simple ideas always work. It sure felt that way when we founded Class post-Uni sat in a Wetherspoons pub. The last decade has taken us from a bedroom business in Leeds to a team of six super talented designers and developers working with recognised global brands. We never imagined having the opportunity to work with the likes of Wimbledon, England Cricket, and Bentley when we first started all those years ago and we’ve forged some amazing relationships with staff, clients, and partners in that time. 11 years have flown by but how did it all begin…

The early days

After graduating with a degree in Graphic Design, I set up Class with fellow Leeds University alumni, Jonathan Tiernan. My passion for design and Jonathan’s love of coding was a winning formula and we soon realised that we had the skills and drive to build fantastic looking websites and apps. Working evenings and weekends, our work quickly started to get noticed by the industry and clients alike. Orders for websites from friends of friends came flying in and just weeks later one of our websites was shortlisted for Website of the Year. Working from my bedroom in Headingley – Leeds, but inundated with client recommendations, we decided to take the leap and quit our full time jobs. In 2010, Class was born.

The move to Brum and early success

In 2011, we bid farewell to Leeds and Class moved to Birmingham. Most of our graduate friends were in London but Birmingham appealed. Growing up in the local area, lower costs, and access to energetic young talent from 3 decent Universities swung it for us. Even in 2011 we felt Birmingham was a destination for start-ups, particularly in tech, but also a city with a strong and supportive business community that helps individuals and businesses grow. In 2012 Class was identified as one of the ‘Next Top Cats’ in digital by The Drum, and later in the same year I was featured in Insider Magazine’s 42 under 42, confirming our position in the city of Birmingham. In 2013 we beat Mars UK to a commendation at the DADI awards. Brimming with ideas and imparting creativity and enthusiasm onto others I was lucky enough to win the Technology category of Birmingham Young Professional of the Year (BYPY) in 2014.

Growing our reputation

In 2016, Edgbaston and Warwickshire County Cricket Club signed a three-year partnership with Class appointing us as their official Digital Agency. This was quickly followed by The SnowDome who exclusively appointed us in the same year. We maintain a close relationship with both these accounts and both have renewed their agreements since. Before long, our work started to get noticed further a field. Marriott Hotels, Oxford University and global fashion brand Anya Hindmarch all wanted a piece of what we could offer. London accounts started to become a big growth area for the agency and now account for 80% of our revenue. In 2018, we worked with the world’s leading social trading network eToro and in 2019 England Cricket approached us to develop their recreational cricket website Play-Cricket. Ahead of the summer Championships, The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club asked us to build the digital design system for Wimbledon.

The last twelve months

Make no mistakes the last 12 months have been tough. When you’re following up a record year in 2019 it was always going to be a hard pill to swallow. That said, the team have stood up and delivered. The chaps have been superb and all share the same passion for delivering high quality work that leaves clients glowing. Our culture gives the team an open forum to talk, share ideas and therefore learn and flourish.

The future

Business growth is exciting and Covid has taught us it’s never a straight line. Building a business with Jonathan has been truly rewarding and I’ve learnt a lot. Over the years Class’ product offering has varied but as we move forward we will continue to design and build digital products that people love to use. Everything that comes out of Class will always be aesthetically pleasing, functional and innovative.

Chris Pyatt

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