Interview: Kingston’s Barret and Coe Discloses Business Award Success

Barret and Coe, Kingston’s photography franchise, is the winner of this year’s Best Creative and media Sector Business Award.

Owner Paul Milsom, who had a “great evening” with his team at the Kingston Business Awards, took up photography in sixth form.

Mr Milsom started his company eight years ago and has won 45 photography awards including Barrett & Coe Photographer of the Year in 2011 and 2012.

For the latest award, Best Creative and Media Sector Business Award, he had to demonstrate a comprehensive marketing strategy, a clear strategy for business growth and an innovative approach to being creative in the photography.

He said he enjoys both the creative and the business side of his work

Mr Milsom’s previous career as a marketing manager has put him in good stead for promoting his business.  He has over 10 strategies to get the Barrett & Coe brand known. These include hosting drawing competitions and selling portrait vouchers to students at schools.

“A lot of parents say, ‘oh we’ve been really wanting to have our family portraits done’ and when you’ve got something like that [vouchers] it’s a great opportunity for them to come and do it,” he said.

Barrett & Coe have 100% of customers saying that they’ve enjoyed their portrait experience with Mr Milsom’s team. 

Reflecting on why families enjoy having their portraits taken at Barrett & Coe, Mr Milsomsaid: “We pose the family in such a way that is really close and loving, to show that real family unit and the parents really like that experience.” 

With portraits booking out the weekends, Mr Milsom has a couple of clients at Westminster mid-week. 

Delegates attending seminars and conferences, with speakers such as Annie Lennox and the UK’s previous Prime Ministers, use his pictures for their own publicity in newsletters and in house reports.

What seemed to set him apart though at the business awards were the numbers: “We’re on top of our numbers in terms of our marketing,” he said.

Barrett & Coe enjoyed a 50% increase in sales between 2011 and 2012. 

Mr Milsom continued: “We know what percentage return we get from all of our different strands and I think that was the key thing, numbers.”

Image courtesy of Paul Milsom

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