One of the first tenants at The Coachworks, Ashford, Oak Creative operates as a creative partner to ambitious businesses. Having started life as a graphic design agency and the in-house design studio for travel company Holiday Extras, the company uses its brand building expertise to elevate its clients and now works on a partnerships basis.
Laura Bevan, Studio Director at Oak Creative, explains more about the company’s values and ethos: “We like to work as an extension of our clients’ teams - adding strategic value and innovative ideas. Oak Creative prides itself on delivering hassle-free results, which aids brand growth and this has helped us to grow as a business over the past 30 years. Our belief is that great design is of paramount importance in every sector, which means we work across a range of sectors including construction, agriculture, tourism and food and beverage.”
Having joined the Holiday Extras Group in 2020, the company operates as their creative partner to deliver all aspects of innovative design solutions from advertising to brand collateral. While Oak Creative operates across Kent and beyond, they have several key clients based in Ashford, including business management consultant, Utilitas; Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce; Produced in Kent; and 2gether Support Solutions, the facility management company for East Kent Hospital Foundation Trust.
When the travel market was significantly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, Oak Creative knew that it would bounce back and used the time to work on something new. Understanding the struggles faced by F&B businesses, the team developed a new e-commerce platform called FoodE. It has the ability to integrate with other softwares such as accountancy, couriers and marketing so it can adapt to suit each individual business and helps them to make the best possible business decisions. Having cleverly adapted, the company is emerging out of the pandemic with a new lease of life.
“Ashford itself is an economic powerhouse - there is so much here! It’s exciting to see how much is changing and there is so much for businesses.”Laura Bevan, Studio Director at Oak Creative
Laura continues to explain why having a base in Ashford and at The Coachworks was a positive choice for the business: “In 2019, we heard about The Coachworks development through Ashford Borough Council. We knew straight away that it was a good spot in the centre of Kent and it would be a positive step for our business to take, so we took the leap. The co-working space is home to a community of like-minded creatives, plus there’s a food and drink scene here, so we feel like we’re where the action is happening and it helps us to expand our network.
“Ashford itself is an economic powerhouse - there is so much here! It’s exciting to see how much is changing and there is so much for businesses. It’s got strong transport links if you need to get to London or elsewhere in Kent and the influx of people is bringing talent to the area, which is fantastic. I grew up in Ashford so I’m familiar with the area and I think it’s got everything you could need. You’re not far from the coast or beautiful, green countryside, but there’s still plenty of job opportunities and housing, so you can have the best of both worlds.”
Laura concludes to explain why the company is optimistic about its future in Ashford: “There are lots of brilliant initiatives to help us and other businesses grow. We took part in the Scale Up programme in 2019/20 and have joined Locate in Kent’s Future Forward campaign this year. We’ve also become an Industry Partner to Locate in Kent, offering our services to businesses new to Kent. We believe partnerships are key and the collaborative community in Ashford really helps us as a business. It’s really exciting to be based in Ashford and we look forward to the future.”