This September our web design business, Make Hay, turns 5 years old. At this milestone it makes us very happy to take a look back and a look around to reflect on how we’ve grown and how responsible business is becoming more mainstream. There’s still a great responsibility for the business world (including us) to increase and improve our green and ethical habits but we should celebrate the achievements too!
How it all started
Make Hay was founded in September 2004. Well, that’s when all the official bits happened. But before it even had a name Make Hay had been whirring around in our brains for a long time. Disillusioned by traditional business models and encouraged by the potential of business driven by purpose, not just profit, we decided it was time to take our combined positive experiences and skills and make our contribution to changing the world. I know that might sound a bit cliché but that was, and still is, the driving force behind our business.
Back in 2004 the business world was a different place. As we excitedly told friends and family what we were planning to do we were often met with bemused looks or remarks like “that’s crazy, you’ll never make any money”. Concerned supporters suggested “why don’t you start off without an ethical policy and when you’re established then go down the ethical route?” – There was no question of that. We did have positive encouragement too and to those people we are massively grateful. Without it the beginnings of our fledgling business would have been difficult and isolating.
Connecting with others
It wasn’t long before we found a few other businesses that we could look to for collaborations and support. I remember very well one of the first businesses we discovered was Ethical Junction. In great anticipation of meeting more greeny business types we added our details to what was then a humble directory ran by a handful of folks. Now, I’m happy to say, Ethical Junction are a mighty force connecting responsible business owners all over the UK and we’re very proud to still be members.
Make Hay Highlights
Personal highlights in our Make Hay journey include setting up Make Noise, to help promote the work of our amazing web design clients and adding the Green Hosting arm to our business, which enabled us to provide websites powered on renewable energy. We also co-founded and became host to the Green Girls Global blog and later Green Guys Global and joined the steering group of a local Fairtrade campaign as business representative. More recently we launched our Make Mail service, providing clients with e-mail marketing newsletters so that they could reach out even further and our blog, another useful voice in sharing the work of our clients and news and views on responsible and sustainable business.
Green Seeping into the Mainstream
More widely we’ve noted some vast changes in the business world as you will have too. Nowadays we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to green stationery, equipment and furniture. We can have our offices powered by the wind and become listed in a wealth of useful directories and networks working hard to get green to the masses. Gone are the days when shop keepers look at you aghast for bringing your own bag and even the big supermarkets are hiding their plastic carriers under the till.
Let’s not be fooled or get complacent, there is a still a long, long way to go and it won’t be easy. But we can be buoyed by the way that green business has begun to seep into the mainstream, even in Make Hay’s short lifetime, and use that to drive us forward. Let’s see what we can achieve in the next 5, 15, 50 years!