"Having Jason mentoring me has totally changed the way I do business."
The MD of a Gateshead design agency who left school with no formal school qualifications and now has high calibre international clients is helping a Middlesbrough design agency to gain major contracts based on his own unique path to the top of his profession.
Jason Knights is the Managing Director of Blue Kangaroo Design, a small, Gateshead based design agency that works specifically with entertainment character licensing and toy industry clients all over the world. His journey to working with some of the world’s top brands in films, TV and games began at the age of 16 when he joined the British Army. Following his army career, Jason was employed in a design agency, but his career aspirations weren’t met so he decided to form his own business- Blue Kangaroo Design.
A bet with a work colleague who challenged him to find work with the Walt Disney Company has now led to him working with household brands and travelling all over the world to discuss major contracts and commissions.
His ongoing work with businesses, particularly in the USA brought him to the attention of the Department for International Trade (DiT) who helped him build his business internationally to such an extent that Jason is now working with brands including Lucas Film,
Walt Disney, Universal Studios, Mattel, Tomy, and Warner Bros. His business acumen won him a Board of Trade Award and he was made a Northern Powerhouse Export Champion
Through a mutual contact in the DiT, Jason was asked if he would offer guidance to an up-and-coming young designer in Middlesbrough who was looking for business support.
Robert Bedford, (29) from Stockton grew up loving computer games and used to draw gaming characters as a hobby. His artwork progressed to the music scene where he designed logos and merchandise such as caps and t shirts for rock bands.
“I wasn’t business trained and Jason’s advice has been so helpful. He has been my go-to person when I needed support and my mindset has changed dramatically thanks to his help. One of the first things he helped us with was our own rebrand and his experience of dealing with big clients has had a very positive effect on my business,” said Robert.
Indeed, in just a few years, Robert’s business; Juiced has expanded into new premises at Middlesbrough’s prestigious BOHO 5 complex and he has taken on a new graphic designer in the form of Niamh Dixon.
“Having Jason mentoring me has totally changed the way I do business. I’m more assertive in my negotiations and every project we do, we try to make it bigger and better than the one before or we’ll add something to it to push the boundaries. That’s what I’ve learnt from Jason and I’m very grateful.”
“Having your own business can leave you in a lonely place,” added Jason. “I’m really happy to help Robert and Juiced get the work that they deserve. It’s good for me to share my
experiences and help someone on their way in business. Robert has a good, sound base for business and a great team behind him and he is building his brand in all the right places. If our small design agency in Gateshead can have a worldwide footprint, then there’s nothing stopping Juiced from doing the same.”
Photo1 : Jason and Robert (seated) with his dog Alf at BOHO 5 (The Bigger Picture Agency)
Photo 2: Jason, Robert and Niamh at BOHO 5 (The Bigger Picture Agency)
Interviews and more photographs on request.