Shopify office Graftstudio will be based in Hoults Yard

Richard Forbes Simpson, founder and director of Graftstudio, had been running the growing business from home, but it was time to open his first office – so he returned to Hoults Yard, where he had previously worked in a co-working Space first worked on Tyneside.

“I wanted to wait until Graftstudio was at the right stage to move into an office, and that’s where I am now. I have a growing global client base, primarily in the fashion, lifestyle and beverage sectors.

“I previously worked as an agency contractor and worked on projects for brands such as Gymshark, Victoria Beckham and Florence by Mills. The experiences and exposure I gained working for some of the biggest brands in the world gave me the confidence to focus more on my business and build my own customer base.

“My services range from helping startups with MVP projects to developing fully customized Shopify Plus themes for enterprise-level businesses.”

He combined his love of surfing and technology through a degree in Surf Science and Technology and Natural Sciences from the University of Plymouth. As part of his studies, he had to create a website and that was the catalyst for his career in technology.

“I became really interested in website development and the websites I was building were becoming more and more complex. After graduating from university, I further developed my skills through online courses and lots of reading,” said Richard.

He worked in various web-based roles for several Northern Ireland-based technology companies before joining a Shopify Plus agency as a freelance developer. At the same time he founded Graftstudio, where he worked with his own clients.

“I first came across Shopify while developing a website for a client and was intrigued by the platform. I chose to specialize in Shopify because not many agencies or freelancers were working with the platform and I felt there was a gap in the market. Now I can offer a full service – occasionally in collaboration with partners – so customers can get any Shopify service they need through Graftstudio,” said Richard.

Richard, who is partially deaf, moved from his native South West to the North East nine years ago when his wife got a job at Newcastle University. She is now an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Northumbria University.

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He had worked as a freelancer in the Hoults Yard co-working space a few years ago.

“It was one of the few co-working spaces in Newcastle and I loved the working environment there – the place was really vibrant and supportive and very different to other places. It was also very close to the city center and the quay, where I like to walk,” explained Richard.

“When I felt it was time to open my first office, the first thing I did was look at Hoults Yard. I knew I would find my way back here and if anything it’s even better than it was a few years ago. “The range of businesses is wider, there are many more places to eat and drink and there is a real entrepreneurial spirit here,” he added.

While he works on his clients’ websites, he’s also developing his own, which will be ready this fall. Customers now find him via LinkedIn and through word of mouth. Shopify office Graftstudio will be based in Hoults Yard

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