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Mill workers to digital entrepreneurs in four generations

Red-Fern Media Digital Agency Story

As we’ve been navigating our way through the challenging times of 2020, we wanted to publish this article that details our story of success, growth and innovation, helping the businesses we partner with to flourish and will see Red-Fern relocate to its brand new, state-of-the-art 3,500 sq ft destination in Burnley, helping to accommodate our ever growing team of 20 creatives, developers, marketers, strategists and digital specialists.

But why Burnley? Well, as we’ve mentioned in previous articles, this is no ordinary office move - and the story behind our relocation cements that mantra too.

The decision-making behind building this new destination for our brand, clients and events in Burnley is one of a heartwarming tale. So, let’s get into it! Here’s how Red-Fern and our history have evolved from mill workers to digital entrepreneurs!

Red-Fern’s historic Burnley roots

Trafalgar Street Burnley
Trafalgar Street, Burnley, Early 1900s

As a proud Burnley boy, our CEO and Founder, Sean was keen to move Red-Fern back to his hometown. Red-Fern’s ties with Burnley date way further back than before Sean was even born, with a rich family history in and around the Burnley area Sean grew up around Accrington Road, which is a 5 minute walk from the new Red-Fern HQ.

During the 1900s and first industrial revolution, Burnley was one of the largest producers of cotton cloth, known as the weaving capital of the world and recognised for its grit and determination as a leading industrial town.

Red-fern Media Family
Great grandmother, Ada Spencer; Great grandfather, William Joseph Spencer; Grandmother, Ethel Monks; Grandfather, Stan Monks and Uncle Wilfred Monks

Sean’s Grandmother, Ethel Monks, worked as a cotton weaver in the mills on Trafalgar Street - which is exactly where Red-Fern has invested in developing its new HQ.

Sean’s Grandfather, Stanley Monks, worked as a labourer for Massey’s Brewery all his life - apart from when he was in the army during the war. Although the brewery closed in the 1970s, it backdated centuries of brewing in Burnley. The last remains of Massey’s you’ll find is an advert at the bottom of Sandygate from a 1920s photograph - a two-minute walk from our new location.

Four generations on, the town seeing many changes and now in the midst of Burnley becoming one of the leading towns in the UK for digital innovation and education, there’s still the same core grit and energy around the town.

The once of a day renowned, bustling cotton milltown regarded for its extreme hard work and quality, is now a hotbed for innovation and growth.

Life as a cotton weaver or brewery labourer in those times certainly wasn’t glamorous - and they certainly didn’t have the top of the range facilities that we’ve instilled in our new office. Who’d have thought that the same premises of blood, sweat, tears and manual labour, would one day be home to our flourishing digital agency? Certainly not us - which is why it’s so special.

“I’ve always had my heart in Burnley, with so many fond memories of growing up in and around Accrington Road.” says our CEO Sean Redfearn. “Walking down to the Mitre and then into the town to do the weekly shopping. The fact that my grandmother actually worked in the mills on Trafalgar street and we will be running the business I founded from the very same mills holds many happy and proud emotions for me”.

Sean goes on to say, “The journey and growth Red-Fern has seen over the last 3 years is incredible, the investment into the new HQ is one way I would like to give back to the town. As one of the UKs leading design, technology and marketing agencies, we’ve created a great name and strong brand for ourselves, partnering with global manufacturing, retail and technology companies to achieve their growth goals. Locating our HQ in Burnley is the next natural step, employing talent from the town and surrounding areas gives me great pride and I cannot wait to see how Red-Fern will work in partnership with the town to create growth”.

It’s a family story - and one that we’re extremely proud of. The fact that Sean grew up around the streets near our new headquarters with such a memory-filled and loving childhood, while his family worked hard to contribute to the town’s economy and global outlet, was a huge motive for us moving back to Burnley. Now it’s time for us, as a leading digital agency, to give back to Burnley and propel our business forwards in our new home.

The destination for creativity, innovation, technology, education, events and brands

As we’ve mentioned, our new destination is situated on Trafalgar Street and accessed via Sandygate - which acknowledges both Sean’s Grandmother and Grandfather’s previous working lives. We’re so excited to be moving into the old mill that was once a contributor to the global cotton market share.

Not only is it exciting for us - but our partners and clients too. While we’re making all of these changes, we’re doing them for you! That way, we have the facilities and space to create an even higher standard of work - whether that’s technology, development, design or marketing - for all of our partners. At Red-Fern, we value delighting our partners in very high regard - as it should be.

So, how are we going to do that? Well, let’s give you a little glimpse into our new home.


Red-Fern Media Offices

Firstly, let's start with the location, as I am sure you can already gather, we LOVE Burnley. On the western side of the town centre, Trafalgar street is situated at the very heart of the re-developed weavers triangle.

Red-Fern Media Offices

With easy access to all the local amenities and the railway station on our doorstep with links direct to Manchester and Leeds, we are perfectly positioned.

An ultra-creative and inspiring space for our team

With a nod to the hard work and history that has come before us in the mill, we’ve created a working environment that allows us to create a similar working ethic. While the environment is a world apart from a cotton mill full of large weaving machines and dangerous equipment, we’ve kitted out the workspace to allow our design, development and marketing teams to maximise their efforts on every project and partnership we create.

Red-fern Media Office
New studio area ready for 24 designers, developers and marketers

At Red-Fern, we prioritise collaboration and working together - especially in our line of work. Our close-knit team has an incredible workspace that can spark inspiration, creativity in an unparalleled creative, innovative and collective environment.

Video recording studio

Our in-house videographer Alan Noble and Sean are super excited about our state of the art facility - developing video strategies, filming and audio recording to deliver world-class video and audio content.

Red-Fern Media Offices

The studio will see our podcasting and video capabilities enhanced to an all-new level. It’s fitted with top of the range equipment, as we’re investing in our facilities so we can provide unrivalled value to our existing and potential clients. We’re incredibly excited to see the fantastic productions that come out of there in the future!

A brand new events space

We’re aiming to transform the way that marketing, design and development events are held and hosted - and our new events space allows us to do just that. Quite often, we attend events and are greeted with an impersonal and non-immersive experience. To us, this poor experience really holds events back and is counterproductive with some of the amazing guest speakers we’ve seen down the years.

Events should be remembered for the actual event - not its lack of competence. Our events space allows ourselves and other businesses to hold events that create the perfect environment for a personable experience. That way, we can interact with all attendees and it’s not a case of awkward networking with people who aren’t fully invested. The events space will add great value to all - our partners, us and all attendees.

Education space

One of the next key steps in our journey is to develop the apprenticeships and educational side of our business, we are working closely with the local university and colleges, developing the processes to consistently employ apprentices and develop their skills and experience.

Two generations later

With an insight into a true and heartwarming story of how a deep rooted family from Burnley have gone through four generations, over 180 years of family history and industrial change, plus the that fact they are still part of the community and helping to shape the future of the town and its residents, Sean and his family are proud to be mill workers to digital entrepreneurs.

redfern company culture

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