Meet the boss in yesterday's Northern Echo
There aren’t many North East businesses and North East England Chamber of Commerce members where the founders honed their marketing and business development skills on the road in the Australian outback.
Wander Films, based in Middlesbrough is run by 27-year old Chloë Clover and her business partner Lou Tonner. They specialise in high impact and engaging video for businesses looking to improve their online presence. Their work is designed to ‘beat the scroll’ on social media, otherwise known as ‘the kiss of death’ from boredom.
After studying fine art at Northern School of Art Chloë wasn't sure what to do with her life and spent time as a support worker in Middlesbrough. An opportune discussion with Lou Tonner, who had studied film and media at Teesside University, while they were in band practice prompted them both to pack up sticks and buy a one way ticket to Australia and try to work out their future life plan.
Chloë Clover said: “We were based in Sydney for a while and we got a lucky break when the owner of the cake shop I was working in, recommended us to help with a TV pilot for a new gadget show being filmed. From that we were able to fund a mega road trip, get a camper van, buy a camera and set off to grow our business on the road.
“We researched companies doing really cool stuff that might want short social videos for their marketing campaigns in the towns and cities ahead of our route, then pitched our services! Through this crazy approach to starting a business Wander Films was born and we earned our way round Australia, gathering contracts and experience en route.”
The unconventional marketing plan took Chloë Clover and Lou Tonner from Australia to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and eventually Europe, from where they returned to their native Tees Valley.
On the back of the substantial number of quick fire clips and engaging footage she had created for clients on their travels they set up their business. The entrepreneurs were able to use their showreel as a calling card and Wander Films soon picked up projects from clients such as Hampton by Hilton, Mabo and Teesside University.
Chloë said: “We realised there wasn't anyone else offering what we were offering, we offer video marketing not just ‘wham bam thank you mam’ videos. We got a lot of attention for our ‘Epic Vlog Packages’ and never looked back. The support of the Fuel programme we got early on was invaluable, it allowed us to be based in Victoria Building, our first business home. We also won a Digital City Fellowship for our work on the ‘Epic Vlog Package’, so that was brilliant.
“We’re now about to move into Boho in Middlesbrough which we’re really excited about, a lot is happening over there, it’s a big digital hub right now. Our business development is being supported by Gary Lumby who is incredible, he has heaps of experience in supporting ventures like ours. It will be invaluable to us and we are excited to see where it takes us.
“The focus for Wander Films now is to hit the accelerator and become international, but in a more focussed way than our initial ‘travel the world and see what happens’ phase, we want to work with companies & brands all over the world, creating short, high-impact, engaging content.”
1. Favourite North-East building and why?
Pacittos, Redcar, it’s amazing. An old school Italian, retro ice cream parlour which holds some proper ace memories and does the most incredible lemon top.
2. What was your first job and how much did you get paid?
Window cleaning, I lasted about two weeks, I was really bad. I sucked at carrying the ladders too.
3. What is the worst job you've had?
4. What would you cook for me if I came around for dinner?
Do you like Vegan food? I love tofu and veg!
5. What would your superpower be?
People call me Wander Woman.. I think it started from being able throw mad ideas all day long! That’s sort of stuck!
6. Name four people, dead or alive, who would be at your perfect dinner party.
My Grandma, she’s incredible and always brings great whiskey… to be honest I’d be happy just having dinner with her!
7. Most expensive thing you've bought - other than car or house - and how much?
Our editing suite, its like a spaceship! We love it, so brilliant, it’s insane.
8. Who is the best person to follow on Twitter and why?
@wander_films_uk – is that too cheeky?
9. Favourite book?
Oh my days! So many books! Not sure I can choose just one… I’m really into Greek Myths at the moment, Stephen Fry’s Mythos is ace!
10. What is your greatest achievement?
Creating this business. Going from two girls and a broken GoPro to working with big household brands is crazy!
11. What's the best piece of advice in business you've ever been given?
There is no limit! Dream as big as you can dream and then start working towards it.
12. Favourite animal and why.
Cats. I love cats but they don’t always love you back! They have their own mind and I can relate to that.
13. What was the last band you saw live?
Shakin Nightmares at Stockton Calling, they have an old school rock n roll vibe, it’s ace! I’m a local band scene sorta girl.
14. Describe your perfect night in.
A proper cult classic movie, chips and dip and an IPA beer. Oh man!
15. What would you be doing in another life?
In another life I would be happy to be exactly the same as this life.
16. Who would play you in a film of your life
17. What irritates you?
Watching myself on video! You’d think I’d be used to it!
18. What's your secret talent?
I make a mean latte. For real, a proper good coffee makerer… Barista!