The Steel Vintage Story

They say that no good story ever started with a salad. Luckily for us, this one started with a phone call. One call, six months and a business relationship that has now spanned half a decade. So how did a single phone call turn into an office-load of furniture? It took two business owners, one discussion and an opportunity that neither of them could miss.

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March 6, 2020
The Steel Vintage Story

Interview multiple candidates

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Search for the right experience

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Ask for past work examples & results

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Vet candidates & ask for past references before hiring

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Once you hire them, give them access for all tools & resources for success

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Let’s scroll back in time. The year was 2015, and the night was young.

So, at the time, was the Kubix brand.

Our CEO Looay Gharib sat in an empty office on a Thursday evening, surrounded by furniture that he didn’t like very much.

Looay and the rest of the Kubix team had just unpacked the boxes in the very first Kubix headquarters. The sun had started to set over a busy day in Birmingham. It was an exciting and scary time, as it marked the start of our new home. Unbeknown to Looay, it was also the start of a long-lasting and trustworthy relationship between Kubix and a Bristolian gentleman. The gentleman? Jon Ball, the managing director of Steel Vintage.

Looay always had big dreams for the Kubix office. He’d spent time looking at other businesses who had launched their latest HQs and wanted to know where they’d got their furniture from. We were a long way off Google’s office or the YouTube headquarters, and he couldn’t find anything remotely inspiring on the internet for the budget that Kubix could justify. But Looay knew he had to bide his time. At that moment, the tables in the Kubix office were borrowed from the cellar of the Zellig reception. He sat amongst a sea of IKEA desks: white, boxy pieces that were functional, but not exactly beautiful.

A couple of pages into Google, Looay came across a name that caught his eye. Steel Vintage. Their tagline was “Bespoke industrial furniture made for domestic and commercial use”. Their website showed off beautiful dark oak desks, vintage-inspired tables and storage that made our IKEA stock look like children’s building blocks. Looay wanted them. He was sold.

So of course, Looay did what he does best. He told the Kubix story. Looay knew we couldn’t afford such grand furniture for our start-up, but he found the Steel Vintage number and punched it into his phone. Jon Ball picked up, and before long the pair of CEOs were busy talking over their businesses. Looay made it very clear that Kubix was going to have one hell of an office.

The pair continued to talk, and the plot thickened.

Both CEOs were having problems.

Jon’s levels of enthusiasm suggested that he hadn’t had the best of luck with marketing agencies. Whilst over at Kubix we were keen to turn our office into an Instagram-worthy marketing haven, Jon had been struggling to get his business up the Google rankings. Despite various agencies attempting to transform his website, they simply weren’t seeing the benefits of his search engine optimisation.

Before long, Looay realised it was the perfect match. Steel Vintage needed to transform their online space; Kubix needed to transform their physical one. Luckily for the Kubix team, we’d just hired a fantastic individual called Matt. Anything that Matt didn’t know about getting a business to the top of the Google search results wasn’t worth knowing.

Matt turned round to Looay the next day after being shown the Steel Vintage site. He scrolled up and down. Then he smiled and said:

“Leave it with me. I’ve got this.”

Before long, a relationship grew. Looay returned to Jon with some suggestions for the marketing of his business, and both teams got to work.

The first challenge? We had six months.

Six months of technical SEO - of blog writing, subtle website tweaks and link building. Half a year to get Steel Vintage zipping up the Google rankings until they hit the Number 1 spot for a variety of keywords. Jon wanted to rank for phrases relating to industrial furniture, steel furniture and bespoke creations. We had to make it happen.

It wasn’t going to be easy. We were the figurative new kids on the block, and after Jon’s previous agency experiences we had a lot to live up to. However the proof was in the Google webpage pudding, and in just three months Looay and Jon got together again to run through the results. Not only was Steel Vintage ranking Number 1 for the keywords that he’d set us as targets, they were also now gaining SEO momentum from the blogs that we’d written up. Jon made his calculations. We’d impressed him. And before long it was time for a Steel Vintage-shaped reward.

The first item on our wishlist? It had to be a Steel Vintage desk.

Jon and his team had just the thing.

The Workshop Modular Desk was and still is today one of the business’s most popular items. Beautifully simple and capable of seating six to eight employees, the desk arrived with a fresh Steel Vintage stamp that adorns all of their creations. After a small struggle to get the whole thing up the stairs, we were the proud owners of the first piece of our Steel Vintage puzzle. And what a desk. The Workshop Modular table immediately transformed our workspace from an off-the-shelf IKEA catalogue to a unique office that wowed our clients.

The wheels were in motion for both Kubix and Steel Vintage, and they continued to turn. True to his word, Jon created an account that accrued for our Kubix team each time we boosted Steel Vintage up Google’s rankings. And up they went.

Before long, we had enough saved up for our second delivery of Steel Vintage furniture, straight from their Bristol headquarters. We browsed the Steel Vintage website with interest, and went through to find the right pieces for us.

Five months later, and our office was filling up. Jon and his team had come on for a monthly marketing retainer that involved a mixture of SEO and content marketing. Another desk, a breakfast bar and some beautiful oak stools later, our office was getting rather full. Jon and the team commented on our space when they delivered their latest creations.

“You’ll be needing a bigger office soon,” they said as a team of five attempted to get the packaging through the door.

We laughed, but they had a point. Our place was cramped.

What do you do when you outgrow an office? You move onto something bigger. Already Looay has his eyes set on The Old Bank, a listed building just across the road and a huge step up in space for our growing team. By the time we hit April 2018, we were ready. A full day of office furniture moving took place, and the entire Kubix team were finally settled in the space that we call home.

But our work with Steel Vintage was far over. To keep up with the new orders coming in, Jon and his team were in desperate need of a website that would cope with the amount of customisation available for each of their products. Our development team got to work on a custom project that defied everyone’s expectations and the new website still remains one of our finest custom developments to date. And now that Steel Vintage builds furniture for the likes of Fred Perry, Expedia and Jamie Oliver, it has never been easier for their brand to get their name out there, transforming commercial and home spaces in the UK and beyond.

To say that we’re now well and truly kitted out with the Steel Vintage collection ourselves is an understatement. Every room in our Kubix office is filled with their finest creations, from boardroom tables, to filing cabinets, desks and more. The Steel Vintage van arrives every few months or so, and is received with a sort of nervous excitement. Their stock is breathtaking, but boy is it heavy. Getting each piece up to the first and second floors of the Kubix office takes a lot of manpower, but we all agree that the results are well worth it.

And of course, we get it. Upgrading your desk doesn’t make you any sexier, nor does it necessarily land you any more deals. But anything worth doing is worth doing in style. Now five years down the line, Kubix and Steel Vintage have enjoyed half a decade of trading together. Both Looay and Jon have a relentless desire to see each other’s businesses grow. Every time we’ve needed to expand, Jon is available for great conversations, suggestions and time frames for what we need and when. None of our team will ever forget the moment that he took an 8-man table and hacked straight into the middle section to turn it into a sprawling 4-man desk. Jon is a true craftsman, and once you’re in with him, you’re in for life.

The growth of these two businesses remains a testament to what can be achieved when you think outside the box and aim high. Here at Kubix we often talk about our growth like a tree, with branches that blossom and expand. Much like the solid oak that our Steel Vintage furniture is made of, our relationship with Jon, Martin and the rest of the team has grown solid roots in the past five years. We spend more waking hours sat at our Steel Vintage desks than we do at home every week, which is precisely why our team say it’s so important to feel inspired by your surroundings. Our office is an environment where creativity can thrive, and Jon’s team made that happen.

Kubix will never step away from the Steel Vintage ecosystem. Honesty and transparency is something that both teams share, and has allowed not only our office to expand, but our culture too.

Sometimes the strongest relationships spring from the most unlikely places. And the Kubix - Steel Vintage story is one that we hope we can tell for years to come.

The Kubix Promise.

Here at Kubix, we want to take our clients on a journey.

Our promise to you is simple.

If you come to us with the desire to grow, we’ll do all we can to make it happen.

Smart thinking for smart businesses.

All it takes is a conversation. Give our Kubix team a call on 0330 808 8444, email, or head to our Contact page to start yours.

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