The challenges and joys of being your personal boss

As three product design students at Liverpool John Moores University in the late 1990s, Nick Howe, Nick Bentley and Pete Thomas entered the creative industry during a buoyant period of city renewal. With a sense of energy and opportunity in the air, Bentley and Howe – both originally from other parts of the country – were determined to stay here.

"We talked about joint projects and I was of the opinion that I wasn't going to leave town entirely yet," says Howe, who was about to graduate at the time, while the others were entering their third year. “I was looking for jobs, I had a couple of interviews, but I felt that the opportunities out there weren't right for me. They obviously felt quite young, as graduates and also quite restrictive. "

Before either of them had even finished their studies, they had the opportunity to work on a real project. “We were offered a job to design an interior for a hair salon. The customer wanted to work with us, liked our ideas, but they would only get involved with us if we were set up as a company, ”recalls Howe.

Armed with the "naivety and optimism of the youth and the lack of constraints and responsibility" they started a long-term company in the form of uniform. The business has existed since 1998 and during that time has worked with clients such as Innocent, Unilever and Canary Wharf Group. Of the three founders, Bentley and Howe are still involved in the business, which recently announced its development from Uniform design agency to Uniform Group, which consists of two separate businesses: Continuous, the branding advisory arm, and Somewhere, the real estate and space-creating projects .

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