Fresh from leaving unproductive afternoons working from his kitchen table, we'd like to introduce one of the newest members to join us here at PLATF9RM. We sat down with Member of the Week Paul Huckell of huckleberry.studio to talk about a penchant for Italian fashion, turning a hobby into a career and a fantastic invention that definitely doesn't encourage our alcoholism habits...
Tell us about Huckleberry.studio, what do you do and how did you get into it?
huckleberry.studio is a web development company, our USP is that we primarily work with start-ups or smaller businesses with less capital, who don’t really want to spend thousands on the website at the very beginning.
We make a website, and they don’t pay for it all right away - we take monthly payments, £99 a month for example, and once they’ve paid the start up fee it’s just a rolling payment for three years. After three years they can get a complete rebrand or rebuild free of charge and they get the basic maintenance along the way.
I got into it the first time round in the late 90’s when my Dad wanted a website. I lied and said I could do it when he asked, but in actuality paid a cut of the money he gave me to one of my friends who could build websites and then realised I could do it too. It became a hobby, and now all these years later I’ve turned my hobby into a job!
What attracted you to join us at PLATF9RM?
I looked at a few places, as I had to leave my kitchen - I wasn’t getting anything done whatsoever! This ‘headspace’ (I’d never heard that term used before and since coming to PLATF9RM I hear it all the time!) it has the right balance for me in that it’s relaxed enough but it’s still very much a working environment.
If you didn’t have to sleep what would you do with the extra time?
Quite honestly if I didn’t have to sleep it would be one of two things - I quite like walking around really early in the mornings, when you kind of have the world to yourself, and I’d probably do much more exercise because I’m paranoid about getting fat!
What job would you be terrible at?
I think any job where I feel like my opinion isn’t required, I have to at least believe my opinion is required! I worked in call centres way back when and I just couldn’t do it. I think you had to have worked in a call centre so you can truly appreciate why you don’t want to!
You find £10,000 and only have a week to spend it - what do you splash your cash on?
I could spend that in a day no problem! Ha! I’d love to say I’d invest in my business or a pension but I’d probably just spend it on clothes and shoes. I would fly to Italy and buy stuff there. I don’t really fit into Italian fashion, because I’m short and fat and Italians seem to be long and thin but I just really like the clothes there. I always take a half empty suitcase whenever I go!
What do you wish you had invented?
I found this really hard because I’m trying to think of something clever! I actually came up with an invention this morning of ‘Drinking Shoes’ - they have GPS built in and know where you live, and on the tops they have little flashing arrows that direct you back home!
(we need to trademark this quick!)
Do you like spicy food and how hot can you go?
I really like spicy but food, but yeah there’s definitely a limit. If it hurts your mouth I don’t see the point! I quite like it as you get a bit of a buzz from eating it, but anything too hot and you have to put toilet paper in the freezer overnight
(great tip chilli lovers!)
Describe your first date - how old were you and how did it go?
I think I was about 13, it was mid-Summer and we went for a bike ride because we lived in the countryside. At the end of the date I had my first proper kiss, but unfortunately it was right outside her kitchen window where her Dad was doing the washing up, and her Dad was a friend of my Dad’s - so it started a bit of a jokey beef between them!
Tell me about someone you really admire…
There’s a guy that I used to work for (I previously worked in the car-auction industry for years) and he seemed like a pretty run of the mill kind of guy, but he had such a fascinating life. He grew up in a mining town with nothing, and had a horrendous upbringing. From a really humble background he created a great career for himself, but not only that - he always went out of his way to mentor people before it was even a thing.
He always used to say ‘Only fight the battles you can win’ and I guess that means don’t bite off more than you chew, and if you get into some kind of dispute ‘Can you win this?’ and ‘What will winning this look like?’ - you don’t want to have destroyed your career for the sake of winning!