Staff in Spotlight shines a light on the creatives, designers, editors and executives who make Factory Media happen on a daily basis. Our company values – authenticity, inspiration, access and insight – are never more apparent than when you meet the real people behind our business.
“We’ve always been really lucky to find great talent at Factory, and we’re brilliant at attracting some of the best and most innovative people in media and action sports,” says CEO Darryl Newton.
Read a little bit about the about the experiences and unique personalities of Factory’s staff, in their own words.
This month: Ian Gunner, Creative Director.
What was your start date and position at Factory?
I started at Factory Media way back in the October of 2008. My starting role was to primarily pester the BMX industry for advertising spend, which in all honesty I wasn’t very good at. At this time print was still in full flow, so the monthly magazine targets kept everyone very busy. Fortunately the powers that be realised that my full potential wasn’t necessarily in telesales, so tricked me (over a nice lunch) into taking on an editorial role (Editor in Chief of Ride UK BMX magazine), which without any prior knowledge or experience was actually pretty fun and very rewarding for a number of reasons. With a few changes in the business and the commercial opportunities growing from strength to strength I was more recently asked to take on a more creative role supporting the consumer sales team with ideas and brief responses. I am still in this Creative Director role today and trying to make a difference wherever I can.
What has been your favourite Factory project?
This is a tricky one as there has been various projects that I have enjoyed, across a varying number of areas within Factory. The first would have to be the office revamp from a few years ago. I’m not too sure how I got the task in the first place, but it was super rewarding seeing the final execution and the amazing difference it made from our original drab and cramped office space to the new fresh look that we created. Secondly Ride UK’s Ride To Glory would have to be up there, as I was there from its initial inception and now in its 7th year has been an outstanding success and a real standout focal point for the brand. So many stories, stressful moments, after parties, people, locations and most of all so much fun was had and is still to be had on Ride To Glory and future projects. Lastly and one of the most recent projects was the EE Action Cam campaign we created last summer. Each idea, 5 in total, was something a little different and once again fun! From filling the pool at Harrow skatepark with real snow, to BMXers backflipping Fire Engine driving elephants, to tearing through the South Downs on daredevil drift trikes it was non stop and really worked. We had a laugh, made some cool content and the brand was super happy.
What has been the weirdest job you’ve ever had to do?
Not sure if I should admit it here, but I once spent a few months working in the Body Shop (smelly retailer) making sure the scented ‘everything’ was all in order and the store in tip top condition. It wasn’t great, I didn’t enjoy it, so I didn’t last. There was also that one time where I was a corned beef inspector, making sure each slice didn’t have too many white bits in, (but that was just a lie).
What’s the best place you’ve ever travelled to?
Another tricky question, as I tend to rate my travel destinations on the actual overall experience had. Who went, what went on, and the stories and memories to tell. Based on these guidelines, for years and years I have always ended up in the South of France, Marseille to be more exact. From skateboarding in the 90’s in the now legendary bowl with a whole host of friends from all over the world, to more recently taking in the abundance of BMX tracks located in the Provence region, with the bestest of friends. It’s an amazing place, feels like a second home and I still have the most amazing memories and stories spanning almost 20 years.
Who has influenced your career the most and how?
I don’t think I could narrow it down to just one person. In all honesty the people closest to me over the years, best friends and family, have always been there for me and pushed me to achieve my goals whenever I’ve had stupid ideas or wanted to try and better myself. Back at the start of my ‘career’ I was given a book by a certain Steve Douglas (skateboarding bigwig) called Raving Fans, which at first I booed at, but after a few pages actually got into and I think it subliminally made a difference in the way I looked at business situations.
If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be? (dead/alive/fictional/famous/not famous…)
Well as my Factory friends know, I don’t really drink anymore, but I have my moments (and an interesting youth!). So with that in mind, it wouldn’t really be a ‘person’ but I want to cheat and say ‘people’. I would be at a makeshift bar, in an abandoned warehouse, somewhere in the middle of Essex or Buckinghamshire with about 10,000 people, reenacting some of the best nights of my life. The drink would probably be a bottle of water (crazy!), but those nights were some of the best ever and I have always said that if time travel was invented I would take my friends and myself back to experience it one more time. So not really stuck to the brief, but answered in a roundabout way.
Greatest personal achievement?
Again I’m going to test the brief on this one, and choose a few. Firstly having the opportunity to see the world on a useless wooden toy with wheels on. I still have a board with my name on, which growing up was something you can only dream of. My second was achieving a further personal goal by becoming the BMX National Number 1. I started racing BMX way back in 1982 and getting that number 1 plate was the ultimate. Roll on 23 years (and the odd skateboarding achievement – see above) and I finally achieved that goal. Finally, and the most cringeworthy, was finding my soul mate in my new wife. It took time, patience and a lot of effort, but was definitely worth it as we have a wonderful life together in a beautiful house, with a bright future ahead.
Three things people would be surprised to know about you:
- I have never smoked a cigarette of taken an illegal drug in my life (even with my Acid House rave request from question 6).
- That a good friend and myself started the clothing brand Fenchurch, back in 2000.
- That I own almost 100 pairs of Vans shoes.
Best thing about your job?
Without sounding cliche, the best thing about what I do is the fact that it doesn’t actually feel like a job (at least most of the time!). I get to work in Action Sports, in a creative way, surrounded by like minded people. It really is a dream situation and I’m very grateful to everyone who has given me the opportunity to be in my current position.
Treat people the way you would like to be treated. (and try not to fill in too many of these self promoting questionnaires).