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

Sarah Francis, CEO of Yellow Cherry.

The downtown office brings a lifestyle that supports cafes, hospitality and other businesses, says Sarah Francis, Managing Director of Yellow Cherry:

Q How would you describe your business to a stranger?

A Yellow Cherry is a creative marketing agency based in Moray House, Bank Street, offering a full range of services to businesses and organizations of all sizes. Our team of 12 people can create graphics and multimedia elements, including videos, design and develop applications, websites and software, as well as create strategies for digital and print advertising and promotions.

All of this is aimed at attracting business, creating awareness and helping organizations get their products and services to their customers. We work with our clients in a transparent way, so they see exactly what they’re getting for their money, whether it’s a small or large project.

Each member of our team comes from this region and has a particular skill. Most have gone to college, studied a creative industry subject, but never thought they could find a job in Inverness. All expected to have to stay in Glasgow or Edinburgh for work.

Q What inspired you to start your business?

AI worked for a large marketing agency in the south of England and moved to the Highlands in 2009 with my husband. There were no marketing jobs so I started on my own doing the groundwork for small businesses and charities and focusing on digital marketing and site design and building website.

Everything snowballed from there. I made many contacts and word of mouth was vital. Approximately 90% of our revenue comes from recurring business and referrals.

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

Q How has your business grown?

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

The agency only evolved as the range of services expanded. I focused on designing and building websites and digital marketing. In 2015 we moved into offices in Baron Taylor Street and the following year we hired our first member of staff as we moved more into graphic design. Business grew and we needed 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 to make room for more staff.

Q How are you doing after the Covid-19 pandemic?

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

But because we host websites, these needed support. Many companies were also very busy during the pandemic and needed to innovate as they suddenly needed to improve their digital offering and add online booking or delivery software. The volume of business has increased and we have now increased the team to 12.

Q What lessons have you learned from your business experience?

A Do not compare yourself to others. Do what you’re passionate about – and do it your way.

Q What is your vision for Inverness city centre?

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

Q Tell us something interesting about yourself?

AI was a bit of a Del Boy in school selling stuff to my friends. I even bought Chewit candies which I softened in my mouth then molded, dipped in chocolate, then sold to my parents. Raw!

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