DANNY Campbell founded Hoko, a Glasgow based residential architect who now works across the UK. Campbell has seen a massive surge in people who chose to stay in their home instead of listing it, using lockdown as an opportunity to upgrade their home and make more space for their family.

Position: founder

WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?
Hoko

Where is it based?
Glasgow

WHY DID YOU START THE BUSINESS?

I’ve always been an entrepreneur, but after leaving university there were limited options of where to work. You have to jump through hoops to be chartered as an architect. You need to do big projects that are boring with no customer satisfaction and require less design. I’ve set up my own and made additions. I wasn’t qualified as an architect yet, but I was competing with architects. I realized there was a niche in the market. We have gradually developed our model and introduced it in 2019. We secured an investment of £ 400,000 and our growth has been phenomenal. We went from a team of eight to 18 in three months.

There is such a demand for it and we are approaching it from a new perspective. Getting the right build is a huge risk and it helps to use it internally. We want to improve the customer experience when working with an architect. The majority of the people doing an extension don’t have the time or experience to look around. It makes sense to put everything in one place. If we stay true to this, we will become the market leader.

Running my own business was not something I put my heart on. I was very disruptive at school and had a lot of energy. I started several small but successful companies and had an odd job as a student.

WHAT IS YOUR TARGET MARKET?

IF only you are the only target market to target the business to are private individuals – you won’t get large hotel developments. It’s about standardizing the process but making the experience superior. We all have five-star ratings on Facebook. People love to deal with us because we are easy to contact and we have integrity. We have a John Lewis approach to customer satisfaction.

HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM COMPETITIVENESS?

I would be surprised if people knew where to go to find an architect. Most will ask friends and family for a recommendation. We only carry out extensions and renovations to ensure that everything runs smoothly. We take away the boring parts of the process and focus on what an architect does best – design. The way we work is unique and produces great results.

IS SCOTLAND A GOOD PLACE FOR THIS TYPE OF BUSINESS?

Two of our architects are from Scotland and two from England. Scots are generally very nice, but because of the climate and the way architects are governed in Britain, being an architect is very difficult. The project trip with the local authorities in Scotland can be longer compared to England. We are great ambassadors for Scotland and our base will always be here.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST about running the business?

The most rewarding thing is keeping customers happy. People are upset, but the best thing is to get through to the end of the project.

I really enjoy running the business. I am a purpose-driven person and I have to be fully invested in something to do this.

What is the biggest challenge in running the business?

We went through a long funding process with Scottish Investment Bank and Scottish Enterprise, but it didn’t work out, but that’s part of the risk. We’re incredibly ambitious and I have great people around me – caring for them and keeping them motivated is something I take very seriously, but it’s not a challenge. We have increased our workforce by 900% in two months. We’re redesigning the industry, but we’re focused.

WHERE DO YOU HOPE THE BUSINESS WILL BE IN 10 YEARS?

In five years we could become the leading company in the UK. In 10 years we will have accelerated massively. We try to create an amazing customer experience that they can benefit from. We want to solve the problems in the construction industry.