Size of team at creative marketing agency Yellow Cherry in Inverness has doubled thanks to growing demand

Yellow Cherry managing director Sarah Francis.

City center office brings a lifestyle which sustains cafes, hospitality and other businesses, says Yellow Cherry’s managing director Sarah Francis:

Q How would you describe your business to a stranger?

A Yellow Cherry is a creative marketing agency based in Moray House, in Bank Street, offering a comprehensive range of services to companies and organizations of all sizes. Our staff of 12 can create graphic design and multimedia items including videos, design and develop apps, websites and software as well as create strategies for digital and print advertising and promotions.

It is all aimed at bringing in business, creating awareness and helping organizations get their products and services to their customers. We work with clients in a transparent way, so they see exactly what they are getting for their money, whether a small or large project.

Each member of our team is from this area and has a specialist skill. Most have gone to university, studied a creative industry subject, but never thought they would be able to get a job in Inverness. All were expecting to have to stay in Glasgow or Edinburgh for work.

Q What inspired you to start the business?

AI worked for a large marketing agency in the south of England and I moved to the Highlands in 2009 with my husband. There were no marketing jobs, so I started on my own doing the basics for small companies and charities and focusing on digital marketing and designing and building websites.

It all just snowballed from there. I made many contacts and word of mouth has been vital. Around 90 per cent of our income is in repeat business and referrals.

My proudest achievement is creating the jobs here for talented young people and it was a conscious decision to take city center office space. Young people don’t want to go to work in retail parks and country houses. When you are young at the start of your career you want the buzz of that city center lifestyle which in turn sustains cafés, hospitality and businesses there.

Q How has your business developed?

A Since 2009 we have dealt with almost 500 clients, the majority based in the Highlands and Islands.

The agency has just evolved as the range of services was gradually added to. I concentrated on website design and building and digital marketing. In 2015, we took up office space in Baron Taylor’s Street and the next year hired our first member of staff as we moved more into graphic design. Business grew and we required more staff and space and moved to Moray House in 2018 and started software development. We expanded the office in September 2020 to meet Covid regulations and allow space for more staff.

Q How are you moving forward post the Covid-19 pandemic?

A We were a team of six up until lockdown. Like everyone else, we were terrified to pick up the phone because it was another client putting a project on hold. Most of the team had to be furloughed.

But because we host websites, these required support. A lot of businesses were also really busy during the pandemic and needed to innovate because they suddenly had to improve their digital offering and add online booking or delivery software. The volume of business grew, and we have now increased the team to 12.

Q What lessons have you learned from your time in business?

A Don’t compare yourself with others. Do what you are passionate about – and do it your way.

Q What’s your vision for Inverness City Center?

AI would love to see a growth of continental-style cafe culture and more outdoor events.

Q Tell us something interesting about yourself?

AI was a bit of a Del Boy at school selling stuff to my friends. I even bought Chewit sweets which I softened in my mouth and then molded, dipped them in chocolate, and then sold them on to my parents. Gross!

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