Updated: Nov 5
Every company needs an identity, and Hamlyn is the man that has made Tote beautiful. Coming from a rich creative background of Graphic Design and Marketing, he is one of the founding members of the Tote team. Every company starts as an idea, but how do you start to bring that idea to life? We catch up with our very own CMO to find out his story so far, and what he sees for the future of Tote.
Would you like to introduce yourself?
Hi, my name is Hamlyn. I’m 26 years old and I’m part of the team here at Tote.
Tell us about your role at Tote?
I’m the Chief Marketing Officer, which basically means I’m in charge of how we present ourselves as a company. Up until now I’ve been focusing on building the Tote brand and website from the ground up so we have an identity, but my role also includes product design. The role is really varied, especially with the company at such an early stage, but that’s one of my favourite things about it.
How did you get into Marketing?
I came into marketing completely self taught, starting out as a freelance Graphic Designer when I was a student at University. Back then I was living in Manchester studying Music, so was lucky to work closely with artists and promoters in the nightlife scene to create branding and marketing material, making a name for myself over the years. I eventually got my first proper Marketing job once I’d built up a decent portfolio. I grew up in Swindon, so it made sense to move back here and scope out some opportunities. That was over two years ago and since then I’ve gained some really great experience, so it seems to have worked out well for me so far!
How did you end up joining the team at Tote?
So the idea of Tote really started with Shane, who I knew from work. We were both working for an App Marketing Agency at the time, and I was still learning all about the world of Apps and what makes or breaks a successful campaign. We both got on really well from day one, so when he told me he had an idea for an app of his own, naturally I felt like I needed to be involved. Working on an app was something I’d always wanted to do since my freelancing days - so to have the opportunity in front of me with all this new experience just felt too good to be true. I told him I wanted to be involved, we shook hands on it, and here we are six months later.
So you’ve never designed an app before?
It’s something I’ve always wanted to try, and I think because I was so keen to give it a shot there was never any worry about underdelivering. I’ve been designing things for long enough now that I’m confident in what I can produce - sure I know I can make something that looks good, but I also know we need to build something that really resonates with people and is a pleasure to pick up and use. It’s been a lot of work and a pretty steep learning curve; I’ve had to learn how to use completely new bits of software and become an expert overnight, but I’ve loved every minute.
What makes you so confident about Tote?
There are a lot of things that give me a good feeling about this project. We have a really strong team now which gives me a lot of confidence, and Shane is very good at giving us the freedom we need while keeping his initial vision for the company intact. We’ve also been incredibly lucky with this Nationwide Mentorship Scheme, which has given us an awesome place to work and a really strong sense of purpose on the whole project. We’re in an incredible position where we feel like we have everything we need to succeed, and when all of these things come together it enables us to make real progress every time we get to work. It’s a really fantastic feeling, and I know it’s still just the start.
It may not seem like much on the surface, but Swindon has got immense potential to be a great hub for innovation. It sort of adds to our disruptive nature to be building the app here and not a startup hub like London. Tote is all about connecting and helping local people, so I think Swindon is a great place to start. We want to prove that something truly innovative can come from here, and that not all those great ideas are confined to the big cities. We’ve been lucky to be able to operate from our own office at The Workshed, which is a perfect place to work for us. They have done an amazing job converting the old Carriage Works space and it feels really good to be innovating in a space that was previously at the heart of this town’s industrious past.
What are you looking forward to most?
There is so much to look forward to, but we have to take everything one step at a time. The scope for Tote and how it can make people’s lives better is pretty vast, but we have to start small. At the moment I’m most excited to see the Tote app come to life. We have two really talented developers on the team working to turn what I’ve designed into a real working app, and that’s very exciting for me. I think the moment I’m most looking forward to is when we release that first version of the app, because that’s when the story really starts. The moment that first job is posted will be a huge milestone for us, and even though I have no idea what will come next, all I know is I can’t wait to find out.
The Tote App is due for release in early 2019
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