FanFinders Team Spotlight – Meet Raf

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Name: Raphael Marsh

Position: Creative Director and Co-Founder

Years with the company: 7 years and counting

What was the initial motivation behind creating FanFinders…

After Al [Alec] became a dad, we were looking at a way to take the traditional in-person baby club sign-up online, reducing the data list-selling and the spam. So the initial seeds were born out of solving that problem and keeping ourselves busy. We also wanted to build something with freedom – plenty of blue sky thinking – but that was useful.

Any points in the journey so far that you felt were a milestone for the business…

There are two that come to mind. We were doing lots of testing and experimentation early on between our ‘real jobs’ and there was a moment where it began to shift towards being more of an offer site. A bit further down the line, we managed to attract Mamas and Papas to use our platform. It was like ‘here is a brand we really respect and they are willing to pay us to distribute their materials’. I’ve still got the grainy picture of that cheque on my desk.

And the other moment…

After signing the lease on our new office, the whole team was together. It was just before Christmas and everyone was interacting – working hard and having a good time. Myself and Al were standing in the back and it was like, here we are with all of these skilled people working in our office. This is real now and it’s cool.

Balancing FanFinders with family life…

I justify the hours I work by the thought that I’m in a box in my garden, wearing shorts – I’ve been able to see my children grow every single day of their lives. They bang on the door of my shed and say ‘Zombie attack’ and I get to be a zombie. So, I’m on call days, nights, weekends, even Christmas Day, but because I’m here with my family, I get to switch between the two. It somehow feels like I’ve got it all.

On the FanFinders’ brand…

To some extent, the tech has always been front and centre, then everything else has been dragged along behind it. We have been reactive as opposed to proactive. But over the past year, we have become much more strategic with the Your Baby Club brand and content site, and moving forward it’s going to be such a large aspect. It feels like we’ve done our 10,000 hours now.

And what the future holds…

I think we can begin forecasting what will take us to the next level. We’re going to get a lot more visibility as a company, so I want to see Your Baby Club and FanFinders in parallel get to the market-leading level, as a recognised brand. We’ll consider where we want to go and what represents an appropriate stamp to display everything that we offer as a business, tying in across different geographies.

Favourite thing about working at FanFinders…

Working in a unified team looking to achieve the same goals.

If you could switch your job with anyone at FanFinders…

I’d love to do sales, but I can’t. I’m in awe at a good orator, someone that can hold the attention of a room, and that is not me.

One thing you want the people you manage to say about you…

That I’m optimistic *laughter*.

One thing you’d like your kids to say about you…

That I’m fun, present and available.

If you could have any superpower…

Mind control is a strong consideration for business *laughter*, but probably flying. To take more interesting breaks in the middle of busy schedules.

How do you unwind…

My son has recently become very enthusiastic about LEGO and I introduced him to stop motion. We started off with an app where you could just string together single images. He, like most kids, wants to be a YouTuber, so it’s going to the next level – I’ve already bought him the lights and cameras.

One scene from your life to turn into a LEGO set…

My back garden, which has become my kids’ world for the past few months. They have swings, a trampoline and a raft they’ve been building while pretending to be lost at sea. I sit here watching them play, so I’d love a set to visualise that.

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