Hello, my name is Conor Tomkins – I was born in Sheffield and am currently 23 years old.
Since I was young I have been extremely creative, enjoying and excelling at art in a variety of different mediums including pencil, ink and water colour.
Whilst at Parkwood high school digital media became my passion – in the newly built media suit I gained my interest in video media and short films in which me and a fellow student placed second in Steel City Globes film awards for our comedy short film which utilised green screen. Our short film was displayed in the Showroom cinema Sheffield.
After leaving school with 15 GCSE’s grade A – C, I was advised to attend Sheffield College, Hillsborough. I initially enrolled on 4 courses, A Level Art & Design, Graphic Communication, Applied I.T & Media Studies. After 4 months of juggling the work required from the 4 courses whilst honing my skills for digital media I decided to withdraw from Art & Design, despite thoroughly enjoying this course due to the creativity, I had already decided my future was with digital media so the conventional artistic mediums of pencil and paint were no longer relevant to my career.
Finding the extra time extremely valuable I set to work improving my grades in the remaining 3 subjects, in which I finished with an A/S grade C in all 3. Although these pass grades were acceptable, I felt extremely disappointed knowing that I could have achieved so much more but college just was not satisfying my needs for digital media.
After enrolling for my 2nd year in college I was approached by a retail company who utilised an eCommerce store to retail their goods. The company were currently hiring a Junior Marketing Assistant. Feeling that college was not the right direction for me, I took the opportunity and started work.
In the beginning, the company used an Actinic platform to retail their goods, the management of this platform was outsourced to a marketing agency. Initially it was my job to write articles and publish them on relevant article websites, when this was beneficial for SEO.
The company decided to switch their eCommerce platform to Magento. That’s where everything changed.
At this stage, I had absolutely no website development experience, I can still remember the first problem I solved on the company’s eCommerce store, a simple edit of a hard coded telephone number in the header. At this point my employer realised my potential. Everything moved so quickly after this stage, before I realised what was happening I was visiting eCommerce Expo’s in London & enrolling on short university courses to learn foundation HTML, CSS & PHP.
With my own segment of a VPS to practise on, I found my new passion – website development.
In the end, I solely managed and customised the company’s website with no outsourced agency. Editing their template and functionality when required.
When my employment ended due to the company dissolution I decided to offer my services freelance. During this period I worked on a variety of projects which further enhanced my web development knowledge along with server management & graphic design.
After 6 months of freelance a relative asked me to assist in their retail business, I accept a permanent position as Creative Director, managing everything from their eCommerce store, print media, paid advertising (PPC) & social media. Even though this work is on-going the online presence of the company is outstanding and no longer requires the time it once did.
This was my biggest project to date and I feel this is where my skills really excelled. Given full control of the marketing of a business opens up your creativity and allows you to explore ways of driving traffic and increasing conversion.
Even though the majority of my time was spent on promoting and managing the marketing of the family business venture I carried on producing websites & graphics for a variety of charities & good will organisations free of charge.
After taking a step back from the family business to focus on my website design agency, I found myself travelling the USA visiting my international clients for business consultation and training, I advised on every aspects of their business from website design, development, SEO, order management systems.
Throughout my entire journey I have found my creativity and passion to progress my skills have been invaluable. I’m exciting to see where my journey leads to next.