Advertising, Marketing & PR

Published: March 6, 2020 | Updated: March 6, 2020

They’re off! Flag raised as F1 fans, best mates and business partners race to “exciting” future

Joe Hayes and William St James, Co-Directors, St James Studio.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

They’re the best of mates and, from March 2, officially business partners – and they couldn’t be more excited.

In fact, such is the energy and passion of Joe Hayes and William St James for the future that if you plugged it into the National Grid, well half of Bournemouth would probably light up!

William’s entrepreneurial journey is already familiar to readers of Dorset Biz News where it remains the seventh most viewed story on our site.

From a difficult childhood, before being fostered by the ‘incredible’ Ken and Helen Warren, and then quitting a well-paid job to launch his own company, St James Studio, the 25-year-old’s inspiring story captured the attention of thousands.

William’s simple piece of advice for anyone thinking of starting their own business: ‘Just do it’.

And that’s exactly what his closest friend, Joe, 27, has now done, bidding a fond farewell to a high-flying accountancy career and buying a half-share in St James Studio.

For Joe, now a Director in the creative communications agency, it’s a dream come true.

He said: “We’re so excited and have big plans for the future.

“My job will be business development and laying down some solid foundations for the future.

“William has done an incredible job building the company in the last four years.

“My arrival will free him to totally devote his creative skills to our fantastic clients.”

Like William, Joe demonstrated his entrepreneurial skills at an early age.

From selling his Mum’s cupcakes to fellow pupils at St Michael’s Middle School in Colehill at the age of 13, before switching to cans of coke and chewing gum at Corfe Hills Upper School, his zest for business was soon apparent.

Joe, who comes from an Italian heritage, cites both his nonno – Italian for grandfather – and his dad, Frank Hayes, who has his own business, South Coast Pest Control, founded in 2012, as role models.

But before diving into the entrepreneurial world himself he decided to follow the accountancy route.

Joe worked for several companies before joining Poole-based Inspire Professional Services in 2013, qualifying as a chartered certified ACCA accountant three years later.

Since August 2018 he has been Inspire’s Client Services Manager, looking after the needs of 120 clients.

Joe said: “I’ve been incredibly happy at Inspire.

“It’s got a really good vibe and a friendly, happy team. I loved my time there.

“But the opportunity to join William and the business was just too good to miss.”

Now operating from new offices in Westbourne, St James Studio has built an impressive client list ranging from the Virgin brands and London-based First Wealth to companies closer to home.

The business, which delivers marketing, content and creative services, has doubled its turnover every year since 2017.

Currently drawing on the skills of talented freelancers, William and Joe – both Formula 1 racing fans with their own F1 podcast launching shortly – plan to employ three to four people by the end of the year.

“We’re looking to grow by 50 per cent in the first year as William focuses entirely on the creative side,” said Joe, who, on top of his new role is also getting married this month.

“Our aim is to build a business about 25-strong which not only provides an outstanding service to clients but really looks after its staff, offering good packages and a happy and fulfilling work environment.”

William added: “I have to pinch myself that we’re working together.

“To have my best friend as also my business partner is just amazing and we can’t wait to build the company together.”