Continuing with our series of Member Spotlights, we welcome Alex Holliman from Climbing Trees. Having spent a large part of his career working for other agencies, Alex sought personal freedom and a more fulfilling path. So, after working alongside other freelancers, he formed Climbing Trees in 2010. Passionate not only about excellent client experience and satisfaction, Alex also works tremendously hard at keeping the company’s sustainability at the forefront of every decision made. It’s what has led them to become B-Corp certified. Enjoy this Q&A where we get to know Alex and Climbing Trees better…
Tell us about yourself and your company. When were you founded? Where did you get the idea for Climbing Trees?
I spent my career working for large agencies. At one point I realised I could be doing this work for myself and give myself more personal freedom. So that’s what I did, I started working as a freelancer. At the time I had no aptitude when it came to running a business. But six or seven years later, having worked with other freelancers, I started seeing a functioning business structure in how we were working together. And so, Climbing Trees was founded in 2010.
What are you most passionate about in business? How do you continue to challenge yourself?
What really drives me is client satisfaction. Delivering exceptional work to our clients and helping them make a positive impact on the world. That to me is really gratifying.
But behind that, there is also our passion for sustainability. We’re currently on a mission to become net zero by 2030 and have just celebrated becoming a certified B-Corp.
We’re continually trying to treat our customers, staff, and the environment as fairly as possible. I keep learning more and more about how to improve our social and environmental impact, which has been a part of our path to becoming a B-corp.
What/who inspired you to establish Climbing Trees?
A fellow agency owner, Nichola Cane really encouraged me to go for it. She runs Voice Communications which she founded in 2005. She told me if I can do it, I should do it. That really stuck with me and gave me the push forward that I needed at the time.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
For agencies, some of the most sophisticated, delightful, and bespoke advice I’ve found is from a group collective of agency owners, Agencynomics.
They’ve given me insights into setting internal structures, how to qualify leads and manage your pipeline, and how to look at satisfaction and marketing. I think every facet of the agency world is better as a result of their input.
Who do you most admire and why?
Any agency owner who has set up their business as an impact model. It’s easy to only care about profits, but I’ve found looking at business with more purpose has made all our experiences, our lives, and the lives of all those around us just more pleasant.
At Climbing Trees, we really care about ensuring our clients are looked after and treated fantastically well, which led us to have a 91% net promoter score. We’ve also doubled down our giving to charity and now have 10 charities that we work with. And of course, we’re continually trying to minimise our environmental impact.
So, pretty much anyone who is on a similar purpose-driven path and especially those who are doing better than us – those are the people I admire and look up to.