Evan Harding Is Mr February

Profession: Marketing Consultant

Company: Barefruit Marketing

Birthplace: Luton, Bedfordshire, UK

Family: wife Claire, son Cian (6)

Star Sign: Capricorn

Favourite Food: Indian

Although he was born in Bedfordshire, Evan grew up in Norwich and went to Bournemouth University where he studied advertising.

Not long after graduating, he travelled to Australia with some mates in 2000 to see the Olympics. It was a life changing experience, and like so many others who have visited here, he fell in love with Oz.

‘But I was out of money and my visa had expired, so I went back to the UK and started applying for jobs,’ he says.

One of those was at an advertising agency where a manager called Claire interviewed him and gave him a job. For a while she was his supervisor, later she would become his wife.

‘When Claire and I got together we moved to London and both had a range of jobs at big agencies. But in 2005 we had the London bombings not far from where either of us worked, and that sort of changed things for us, and we started to think of getting out.

‘We went to an exhibition during this time called ‘One Life’ and there we met some immigration lawyers from Brisbane who helped us start the 18 month process of getting a visa to come and live and work here. In February 2008, we arrived. That’s 9 years almost exactly.’

‘We had what was called a ‘regional visa’ so we had to work in a regional area. At that point we really didn’t mind what kind of work we did and for a while we both worked in HR/Recruitment before starting our marketing agency Barefruit Marketing as a part-time business and then finally going full time with it 4 years ago.

One year ago the Barefruit team moved out of their home office and into Ballina near the Post Office. Since then, says Evan, the business has continued to grow.

‘We’ve grown our business every year since we started, and we’ve had some big wins along the way. We now have 5 employees plus a range of contractors. Last year was amazing for us, we won or placed in several local and state awards including Best Home Based Business Ballina, Best Small Business in the Northern Rivers, Lennox Head Business of The Year, Best Professional Service Business in both Lennox Head and Ballina. We were also a finalist in the national Optus My Business Awards Marketing Agency of the Year category.’

‘The really big difference for us having our own business, where we deal personally with clients, is we get to see the results and the impact our work has for these local businesses. That is really very rewarding.

‘We’re now getting to the point where we are working with national brands — we have clients in South Australia, Queensland and we just talked via skype to a cattle station in Far North Queensland who want us to build their beef brand.

‘We believe in integrated marketing, so we use a range of platforms across digital and traditional media to get results.’

What’s the best thing about your job? The creativity – to come up with an idea, produce it and then see the end result.

Worst thing? Being so passionate about your own business, you don’t really want to stop.

Hobbies? Running marathons, DJing

Work Life Philosophy? One life, live it!

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