Jason Knights dropped by Newcastle University last Thursday to talk about Blue Kangaroo, UK based creative agency that worked along Disney, Pixar and Warner Bros.
Blue Kangaroo’s designers have created some of the most recognizable characters from Despicable Me, Frozen and Secret Life of Pets.
Recently, they finished the latest project for Cars 3.
The agency has clients from around the world, including Australia and North America.
During his speech, Knights told how he established Blue Kangaroo from scratch ten years ago.
The company is based in Gateshead and has only 13 employees.
Knights said that he never sought to employ experienced specialists from other parts of the world – his employees come from Tyne and Wear.
Knights as an employer always considered personality and attitude as decisive factors.
He said: “We have invested in the latest technology and applications to make our lives easier and our quality second to none.”
Knights said he was as dedicated to his work as loyal to his employees. His door is “always open” if one of his employees is going though hard times. A crucial element of a successful team, Knights pointed, is to build a strong, trustful bond between each other.
He said: “I can’t draw anything, but I’m full of ideas. What we do is we all sit down as a company and talk about the project.”
Ten years ago Knights had only an idea, he believed in, and no business plan. He said: “It’s my first business attempt and it succeeded.”
It took Knights about an hour to draw the business plan sitting in a café Nero and he headed to present his idea to a bank to get a loan.
His first breakthrough was when Blue Kangaroo started working for Disney Store and when those, who were already familiar with his work, recommended him to others.
Asked what made people choose him, Knights replied that it was about managing people’s expectations. He said: “There will always be someone cheaper than you, better than you.
“Just give something that is exceptional and nobody can think of.”
Knights added, what kept them on the market and reinforced the company’s name was that they proved themselves as a responsible organisation, delivering impeccable service and outstanding quality.
Knights’ main advice read: “Look after yourself. You are the best asset you’ve got.”
Some students believe Knights is an inspiration for young entrepreneurs.
He is a proud father of three children and has his wife’s support during every achievement.
After the talk Knights treated his guests with boxes of pizza and beverages.