A brief history of Creatomatic



In the beginning

James Miodonski leaves his online marketing role at a local forestry supplies company to set up as a freelance SEO consultant. An email he sends round his network catches the eye of Kit Allen, working as a freelance developer, who recommends him to an ongoing client.

The two start a working relationship which swiftly exceeds their capacity as freelancers. A number of ideas are explored at this stage – Bookomatic (a commission-based accommodation booking engine) and Menumatic (a visual drag-and-drop restaurant management system written in JQuery UI), but Creatomatic wins out.

The name, incidentally, derives from Gilbert Ratchet – a recurring character in Viz magazine who creates ludicrous machines in the manner beloved by classic British comics, frequently ending in the ‘-omatic’ suffix.


The team takes shape

A discussion with the local college – where Kit previously worked as a lecturer – becomes Creatomatic’s first foray into recruitment, with ex-student Chris McWhinnie joining the team.

Initially recruited on a part-time basis, Chris starts out in a design role, working from home as the company begins to grow. The first job as a team is for a self-published author who writes children’s books about her chinchillas.

Meanwhile, the hunt starts for office space to make things official…


Creatomatic HQ opens

The doors open on our first office at the fantastically monikered 2 Butts Street, Annan, on 1st August 2012.

Furnished with £500-worth of second hand furniture from a reclamation charity in Manchester, and draughty enough to not require a fridge for the entire winter, our first official HQ is not a thing of beauty by the kindest of standards.

The office is noticed by a local young developer, James Hall, who gets in touch and joins our team a few weeks later.


Levelling up

After a hectic first six months, Creatomatic move on to Bridge House. Compact but beautiful, the 17th century building houses our growing team (up to five at this point) in comfortable if not entirely spacious surroundings.

With the landlord’s blessing, the team take two days off in the summer to haul several tons of topsoil into the car park, creating a small but functional garden. We also set up a wifi mesh to enable us to work outdoors – which, not coincidentally, reaches across the road to the local pub. Good times.


The mobile revolution begins

Creatomatic’s web framework is rebuilt from the ground up for full responsive website development, to enable us to build mobile-first websites.

The first batch of websites built on this system include Annan Athletic FC, Peters Fraser Dunlop and Natural Power – putting Creatomatic in front of a global audience and bringing in new business enquiries from around the world.

While it’s undergone numerous revisions since then, the foundations we laid in 2013 are still in use for much of our work today.


Building on the foundations

2014 sees Creatomatic continuing to invest in technology (and, it appears, a lot of plaid shirts) to bring stability and further investment into the company.

The offices are fitted out with new, fast Macs and HD displays; our backup and hosting networks begin the journey away from shared hosting space to our own cutting-edge managed network.

During this time, the company launch sites in sectors as diverse as literary agencies, energy sector clients, corporate hospitality and estate agency – with an early foray into what will become our Gen property management platform.


Acquisitions and further growth

Creatomatic increases its already diverse customer base with its first of several acquisitions – Sigma Internet, a boutique agency whose owner is looking to move away from the tech side of the business. The successful acquisition brings a range of new sectors into the company, including clients from the music and fashion sectors.

During this period, future studio lead Paul Gardner joins the team, and Creatomatic become Living Wage accredited employers – earning a mention in the Scottish Parliament for our leading role in Scotland.


A new, larger HQ

Demand for our services means that Creatomatic need to recruit new staff – and we finally admit that Bridge House is too compact for us.

A new office is sourced in the town centre, with three offices, a workshop and a boardroom. While the previous occupant’s decor takes a while to shift – thanks, Clydesdale Bank – Creatomatic spend the latter half of 2016 prepping the new building, and a fresh-faced Alex Barbour joins the development team early the following year.


A bumper year for awards

Creatomatic’s work is recognised in the CX Project awards, where we win the Best Employer and Best Overall Business trophies.


The SuperControl connection

Creatomatic are approached by a self-catering accommodation agency in the Cotswold to build a custom integration with SuperControl’s API.

Our development team spends a summer building a WordPress interface to pick up property data and availability. Using the API to supply property details and media as well as property search results is an instant winner, slashing admin time for agencies and creating an incredibly powerful marketing tool.

Though we don’t know it yet, this is the first iteration of our powerful Sam system, which today generates tens of millions of pounds of revenue for clients around the world every year.


Celebrating five years in business

Creatomatic celebrate our first five years in business with – for no particular reason – a trip to Diggerland.

What was initially approached with cynicism soon evaporated into deep joy, and it’s still talked about to this day. Just look at their little faces!

The experience sparks something in James H, who – never a man to do things by halves – will eventually buy his own digger as a result.


Three more staff

Another busy year means even more new faces in the team, and 2018 sees three new members joining.

Jonny Tait joins the team early in the year to man the support desk and learn the dev ropes, while Zoe McMillan and Jack Ogston start in the same week in November, in design and content departments respectively.

While all this is going, Creatomatic officially launch our new managed hosting package, to provide website hosting security in our own fully automated and backed up network, and introduce the new Gutenberg editor into our websites for a new rich editing experience.


Accreditations, trade shows, and lots more launches

Creatomatic joins the Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers and the Good Business Charter among others, opening up networks and further reinforcing our credentials to existing and new clients.

A branding refresh is rolled out to include trade stand designs and new workwear, sported here by James M and Jack at an ASSC event in Glasgow this year.

Meanwhile, our new launches include full design and build services for Covanburn, C&D Rural, Kilmartin Castle, Discover Scotland and many others.


The pandemic hits

Just as we’re shaping up for another busy year, Covid-19 hits with a vengeance. Lockdown shuts the office, and for a few weeks no-one’s quite sure what’s going to happen next.

Creatomatic manage to pivot to remote working fairly swiftly, though, and business picks up faster than ever before as clients take advantage of the enforced downtime to review their digital footprints.

One job we’re particularly proud of during this time is developed for the NHS, to provide a comprehensive set of digital manuals for remote health workers. Creatomatic produce this as a high-priority project over the course of a month, later expanding the system for wider usage as the sector adjusts to a new way of working.

Another two new faces join the team in 2020 too – Kelsey Paterson in support, and Iona St Joseph joining us full time in content and marketing.


Goodbye Annan, hello Lockerbie

Creatomatic purchase their very own new, larger office – another ex-bank, this time in the centre of Lockerbie.

The best part of a years refurbishment commences, as 25 High Street is re-roofed, re-modelled, and refurbished from top to bottom.

Just as we’re readying the building to start work properly, a further two staff join the team – Chris Goodfellow in the dev team and Jamie Stryker in our design and branding team.


Celebrating ten years

Creatomatic celebrate their tenth year in business with a full rebrand and website – not to mention an epic opening party for the official opening of the new headquarters.

Yet another staff member joins the family – Business Development Manager Amy Gibson – taking us up to a team of fourteen.

And the new Creatomatic brand and website finally roll out, to great success.

…And beyond

Into the future

We hope you’ll join us on the journey.

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