Behind the Box: Celebrating 13 Years of Boxclever Brilliance

As Boxclever turns 13, we’re taking a moment to reflect on our journey, growth, and the amazing people who have been part of this adventure. Our co-founders, Sam, Claire and Kathryn shared their insights on the following 13 questions, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the heart and soul of Boxclever:

1️⃣ What inspired you to start Boxclever?

Claire: A really strong desire to get back in touch with client problems and using insight to help tackle challenges faced by brands. Alongside a desire to create an agency that made it genuinely possible to do amazing work and have a life outside of it.

Sam: I’d seen how happy my dad was when he set up his own company and so I always wanted to set up my own business. Market Research is a great industry to be involved in. It’s really varied, creative and also geeky which I love. There are also low barriers to entry so once I had the experience I knew I had to go for it. Having great business partners helped too!

Kathryn: Wanting to get back into project work. We are all people people and didn’t want to mange teams, we wanted to get our hands dirty. That and the fact we quite like each other!

2️⃣ Can you share some key milestones and achievements that you are particularly proud of during the company’s journey?

Claire: Winning best new agency in the early days, seeing the ever expanding team when the whole company get together, winning big projects and seeing those employee engagement results every year, getting Flexa… there’s so many…mostly, to be honest, looking around / jumping on calls every day with genuinely amazing, bright, funny people that make everything we do enjoyable and worthwhile.

Sam: Our very first board meeting which took place at my dad’s office (because we didn’t have our own office) to moving offices. Winning best new agency was a real milestone too. It came at the end of our first year and was a real validation that we could make a success of this new business, and the epic 10-year anniversary celebration.

Kathryn: I still feel really humbled by the recommendations we get. There’s nothing better than getting a call or email from a new client who has had a recommendation. We get almost all out work this way and it’s such an endorsement of all the work the team do.

3️⃣ What 3 words would you use to describe Boxclever?

Claire: Supportive, Fun, Challenging (in a good way).

Sam: Quirky, Genuine, No-nonsense.

Kathryn: Fun, Clever, Fair.

4️⃣ If Boxclever were a movie – what genre do you think it would be?

Claire: Well that’s a hard one…..definitely not a comedy, saga, thriller…..maybe a ‘journey’ type movie!

Sam: Musical! Boxclever The Musical!!!!

Kathryn: Comedy – especially when Rich is in the office.

5️⃣ Who would play each of you in the Boxclever movie?

Claire: I’d like to think Meryl Streep would play me! Once got told I look like her!

Sam: Leonardo DiCaprio – myself, Catherine Tate – Claire, and Jimmy Krankie – Kathryn.

Kathryn: Nicole Kidman for Claire, the Chuckle Brothers for Sam and myself.

6️⃣ Can you tell us something you have learnt over the past 13 years?

Claire: I’ve learnt that the best strategy is to employ people way better than you! And to laugh.

Sam: Have faith! Running a small business can be stressful and it’s taken most of 13 years for me to truly have faith in our clients, our team etc… You can waste a lot of energy catastrophising, but 13 years of success has finally shown me that we’ve genuinely built an amazing business that clients come back to time and time again.

Kathryn: Treat people fairly and you’ll get it back in bucket loads.

7️⃣ Funniest moment at Boxclever?

Claire: Sam’s ‘get in motherf**ka’ response to a client (by accident) when we won the first project with them.

Sam: When I accidentally called a client a “motherf*cker” – in the nicest possible way. Or… when Kathryn was sick on a train back from London. Maybe not so funny for Kathryn (or the guy sat next to her!)

Kathryn: So many. I still laugh at Sam’s ‘reply to all’ email when we won our first big project. Luckily the client then took it very well and we still work with her now despite Sam’s potty mouth.

8️⃣ Worst Moment at Boxclever:

Claire: Ripping my trousers up the back in the middle of a client viewed focus group.

Sam: When I realised I’d called a client a “mother*cker”.

Kathryn: Covid. The uncertainty. Knowing we had to make tough decisions which were going to impact the families of our team. Luckily for us, it was short lived but there were some tears from all 3 of us.

9️⃣ Where would you like the company to be in 13 years time?

Claire: More of the same please – bigger, but nimble, fun and rewarding for all .

Sam: Truly famous across the sector for being an experienced, trusted pair of hands.

Kathryn: I really don’t know. I love what we have now. We have never been greedy and really want to create a place that’s great to work for and with.

🔟 If Boxclever were to have a mascot – what do you think it might be?

Sam: Ken definitely!!!

1️⃣1️⃣ What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs or professionals looking to start a business?

Claire: Just do it, best thing you’ll do, be brave.

Sam: Don’t procrastinate – just do it… so often people are put off from going for it because they’re afraid of failing or because they haven’t worked out all the steps, but if you have a good idea then get stuck in – once it’s your day job you’ll work it all out. And equally important – find yourself good business partners with complimentary skills… going it alone is very tough and having a sounding board / someone to share the load is vital.

Kathryn: “Screw it let’s do it!” In the words of Richard Branson. I’m not going to lie, it is hard work and you can’t ever really switch off but I think most of are like that working for someone else anyway so why not!

1️⃣2️⃣ What is the strangest request you have had on a project?

Sam: We once had a client change his entire advertising campaign because his wife happened to attend the meeting and she didn’t like the campaign. Even though the research said the campaign was really strong!!

1️⃣3️⃣ What do you think makes Boxclever such a special place to work?

Claire: The people.

Sam: We don’t take ourselves too seriously and we’re all really humble even though we’re incredibly talented. These two traits don’t often go hand in hand and I think it makes us really fun and exciting to work with.

Kathryn:The senior model has so many benefits. We are efficient with our time, we respect each other massively and above everything we like each other so we really do work as a tight team and I think that translates to great client relationships as well.