A few months back, we hosted our annual BDC quiz where our resident businesses went head to head to battle it out to become quiz champions, all in the name of The Brain Tumour Charity.

Eleven Hundred Agency at the BDC quiz

It was a very closely fought contest culminating in a joint win between the BDC management team (we promise there was no cheating) and forward-thinking tech PR agency Eleven Hundred Agency, which made three time winners and the ones to watch for next year.

With this in mind, we thought it was high time we found out more about our biggest competition. So, we sat down with Co-Founder Claire Ayles to hear more about the agency, their journey at the BDC, and what makes them such fearsome quiz opponents.

The beginnings of the agency

Eleven Hundred Agency is a PR and content generation agency that works for B2B technology brands. Claire co-founded the company in 2018 alongside Mike King, whom she met more than 20 years ago when she started working at his PR agency.

After working her way up to Managing Director, the agency was acquired by large US firm and both continued to work there for the next three years. But they had a hankering to start again from scratch.

“It’s more fun and we wanted a bit more skin in the game,” says Claire.

That’s when Claire and Mike took the big step to start Eleven Hundred Agency and set up shop here at the BDC, and they have been with us ever since.

Claire says the agency has come a long way from the early days and is steadily growing in the tech industry with a team of 12 and 11 clients on retainer.

“We moved into the BDC on day one of our business. It is our first and only home, starting with one desk in a co-working space. We then graduated to an office for four people, then one for six to seven people, and now to our current office, which fits the whole team.”

Their journey at the BDC

As long-standing BDC tenants, we asked Claire about her experience here at the BDC.

“The BDC team is fantastic, really thoughtful, kind, and cannot help you enough,” says Claire.

The reason Claire says she chose the BDC is for the sense of community. Starting the agency with just her and Mike, she didn’t want to feel isolated.

“We wanted to find a location where there are a lot of people around. There is a lot of variety at the BDC, with all the different trade shows and tenants. You can be a small business with a bigger business feel, so you have the best of both worlds.”

The biggest highlights

There have been many highlights for Eleven Hundred Agency since starting their business, with some very prestigious award wins along the way.

“When you work in PR, awards are important because it shows you know what you are doing,” says Claire.

“Within 18 months of starting our agency, we won a best new agency award, and last year we won the best tech PR campaign at the UK Digital PR Awards for our work with our client Norm.”

When it comes to a highlight here at the BDC, Claire says it’s not about one moment but the whole journey.

“The BDC has been our partner as we have grown, and they have really helped us along the way. They are always looking out for us and have also been very supportive,” Claire says.

So does Claire have any advice for businesses on the hunt for a new creative office space and may be considering moving into our venue?

“I’d say it’s not a typical landlord-tenant relationship. The BDC is invested in your success, really celebrates your achievements, and offers a lot of support.”

One of the many reasons that businesses choose the BDC is for our excellent location right in the heart of Angel. So we asked Claire if she had any recommendations of the best places to visit in the area (when Claire and the team are not hard at work, of course).

“We’re not loyal to any one pub because we’re spoiled for choice. But my favourites would be the Island Queen and Earl of Essex. They are both really nice places.”

What’s next for Eleven Hundred Agency?

Looking ahead, Claire says she is very excited about their new website launch in July along with a busy event season for their many clients, with events in Cannes, Manchester, and London.

Now onto the quiz…

Our annual quiz is a hotly anticipated event in the BDC calendar, and Eleven Hundred has been crowned the winner three times, the most of any of our tenants. So we asked what is their secret to success?

“The agency’s best category is English literature. Any Jane Austen questions they have down. Current affairs always serve us well too because we work in PR, so it’s our job to know what is in the news,” says Claire.

“Although we were joint winners with the BDC management team this year, they graciously let us walk away with the prize. It really was a joint win,” she says.

Thanks so much, Claire, for your time today. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for Eleven Hundred Agency and can’t wait for round two at next year’s quiz.

If you are looking for a showroom or office space to rent in Islington, then get in touch with our team. Or if you would like to browse our extensive list of upcoming events, visit our What’s On page.

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