Jordan Porter and Sean Thornton skipped a floor in their recent office upgrade.
The co-founders of Nufás Media, a full-service digital media brokerage providing 24-hour service to help grow and scale businesses, traded in their basement digs for a beautiful space above Flavour Fashion at 383 George St.
So much action has happened since the two go-getters launched the media firm in downtown Peterborough.
Nufás Media have seen tremendous growth in the last 12 months: Gold in the Peterborough This Week Reader’s Choice Awards, four new hires and a new office space.
Below is a Q&A with Nufás Media:
PKED: What has it been like growing a media company during this pandemic?
Nufás: I’m sure it isn’t news that building a business, even in the best of times, is not a small task. And the last couple of months could hardly be described as ‘the best of times’, that’s for sure. Funny enough, Nufás Media had its one-year anniversary at the beginning of March and didn’t really get a chance to celebrate. However, Sean and I really respond well to challenging situations. We are both adrenaline junkies and like to push ourselves in a lot of different aspects, so while it was scary at first, once we came to terms with the new normal of Nufás, we dug our heels in and started brainstorming on how we would reinvent our business model and once we got rolling, I’d venture to say we even enjoyed the COVID curveball. We really quickly positioned ourselves to be the help that businesses needed to keep their virtual doors open and it was received really well.
PKED: Has the sudden demand for more business to get online through e-commerce, social, etc been a good thing for your specific business?
Nufás: Yes, this is something that we are lucky enough to be able to provide to new and existing customers, so it was definitely something that we pushed for. We knew that our team would be able to come up with some creative ways for almost any business to transition online and continue to run. Once we got a few clients together and built their online presence through e-commerce, curbside pick-up or gift card sales, we felt really good about looking at these completed projects and knowing that we were doing our part to help out the business community that has been so kind to us throughout that first year. We could also really sympathize with some small businesses that reached out who may have faced closure otherwise, and the gratitude we encountered really made our hearts swell for this community.
PKED: It’s been quite the past few months, talk about the move from your office space below Kit to your new digs above Flavour.
Nufás: Sean and I are what some people would call ‘doers’ for sure. When we first started this business, we made a pact that we would do our very best to do it without any loans or assistance that would put undue pressure on the low overhead the nature of the business allowed us, at least until we got more established. In order to achieve this, we worked out of our homes for the first couple of months, had meetings in coffee shops and other public spaces, but once we hired our first couple employees, we knew we were going to need an office space of some sort. One of our early clients, Helen from Kit Coffee, mentioned that she had some storage space in the basement unit of her storefront. The price was right and Sean and I tried to look at what it could be if we put some elbow grease into it. So, in August of 2019, we signed a lease and started ripping out walls, pulling up carpet, chipping away tiles and hauling bag after bag of garbage out to the dump. It took a lot of work, a lot of cash, and literal blood sweat and tears but a few months later we had a space we could be proud of and house our staff. We promised ourselves one good year in that office we had grown so fond of, and almost a year to the day, we signed a lease for an absolutely beautiful space above Flavour Fashion at 383 George St. We make the joke that we actually skipped a level with this transition, from the basement to the 2nd floor – feels like progress, and we are extremely excited to make the space our own. Oh and still debt-free as our basement office allowed us to build our revenue by more than 60%.
PKED: How many new hires have you brought on board? Are you looking to add any new positions? What are your staff growth targets for 2020 and beyond?
Nufás: Because we consider ourselves a brokerage rather than an agency, we are trying to keep our team relatively small while still drawing on the vast and amazing freelance talent network that exists in this city. The team consists of 6 people in total (including Sean and I) and the rest are managers in their respective departments of Nufás. Andrew is our web development manager and Natalie is the general office admin manager, these two have been with us since we moved into the basement office and have stuck by our side through thick and thin, we owe almost all success to these two in one way or another and have been officially dubbed the OG staff who did their time in the basement. We just recently added two new managers to the team, Carina our social media manager and Katie the digital advertising manager. They will be coming into the basement office for the first time at the end of July before we move because we wanted them to know the roots of the company, and understand where we came from, in order to better appreciate where we are going. In 2020 I suspect that the team will remain generally the same, however we have been talking about bringing on a junior web developer to help lighten the load for smaller projects Andrew doesn’t have time for, as we have just landed a few national companies that will require a lot of attention in the months to come.
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PKED: What was it like to win the PTBO This Week Reader’s Choice Awards?
Nufás: Of course, it’s great we won Gold in the Reader’s Choice Awards. We actually didn’t even know we had won for a few days – I think my girlfriend sent me the screenshot of it, so it would have been nice to be notified, but we were grateful anyways! It was a great social post and gave us a bit of publicity but honestly, we aren’t here to make a huge splash and have awards plastered everywhere in the office. We just want to continue to grow organically while putting out good work with a smile and just have fun with it. We have suffered loss where we thought we deserved to come out on top and while it’s heartbreaking at first, it just drives you to do better and focus on what really matters- the team, the clients, the work. If all three of those aspects are happy and of good quality, that’s an award I would be happy to hang up, everything else is just gravy.
PKED: Are you noticing any trends or social platforms that are rising in value?
Nufás: Instagram has always been our favorite social platform and it has just been getting stronger in the last few years as a whole. It’s also the platform that our particular demographic uses the most, and ties to Facebook really well. I don’t think it will be going anywhere anytime soon so we really lean into that. Our Social Manager, Carina, I think would agree with me on this as well, and for the last month of her taking over our Instagram and Facebook accounts, it has really grown in quality so we are really happy with how it is evolving.
PKED: Have you had to change your business model at all because of COVID-19?
Nufás: Our business model hasn’t changed a whole lot when it comes to handling clients’ needs and being creative on how to fill those needs. However, what has really changed is how we are getting those clients. We are part of the Chamber of Commerce, and we absolutely love that community. Sean and I would always make a point of going to every PBX event held on the first Tuesday of each month, where you could mix around with all the other members, it was always a really fun time and we usually managed to drum up some interest with one or two businesses for our services. The face-to-face interactions are really something that Sean and I excel in and it has taken a bit of adjusting to now not be able to have those opportunities to interact with that community. The other thing that suffered was the comradery that came with collaborating with the team in the office. We adjusted by having conference calls and team Zoom meetings with no real agenda just to see how everyone was doing, but it doesn’t match up with the feeling of running out to the main area and asking a quick question and cracking jokes with everyone.
PKED: Any other things you want me to profile/highlight about you guys?
Nufás: We’re just really excited to start this next chapter on George Street. When Sean and I got the keys to the basement office in all its glory last August, we went down and sat on the stinky carpet with a bottle of whisky and just dreamed about what we would accomplish in there. We planned out where our future desks would be and imaged how cool it would be to have a couple people working around a conference table in the front room. If we were to go back to our past selves and tell them everything that would happen in there, we may not have believed it. Now as we move to the 2nd floor at 383 George, we will continue the tradition, but this time we’ll be drinking whisky sitting on polished hardwood with bright windows, and dream once again about what we will accomplish in this new place.