14 July 2022

Pioneering Yorkshire-based marketing agency Sowden & Sowden (Sowdens) are marking 40 years in business and looking ahead to the future.

At the heart of the company’s summer celebrations, Sowdens will be holding a celebration in mid-July for clients old and new. The 40th anniversary celebrations come at a time when the agency is welcoming new business from local and international clients, as well as expanding its digital marketing operation.

A family business

Sowdens was established in 1982 by Paul Sowden following time spent at major design agencies in Leeds and London. Returning to Hull in the early 1980s, Paul set up his own design consultancy, and since that time, Sowdens has proven its longevity and weathered many storms including several recessions and lockdowns, as well as a fire at its old premises on Beverley Road (Hull) that nearly brought the agency to the brink.
Instead, Sowdens has gone from strength to strength, and current Director, Polly Sowden, joined her father in the family business as a media buyer in 1997. Having worked across all aspects of the agency from the age of 16, Polly eventually became joint owner of the business in 2009 and the Sowdens team has continued to grow. More recently, the agency expanded its ranks to include a team of digital specialists, broadening its digital marketing offering as demand for online services continues to grow.

Evolving and adapting

Alongside its roster of regional clients from various sectors (education, technology, healthcare and sustainability), Sowdens has attracted several international clients over the past year, showcasing its ability to connect high-profile companies to their customers. Such organisations include VUBA (one of this year’s FEBE high-growth companies), a global green energy giant (who recently launched the world’s biggest offshore wind farm), the UK division of Japanese tech brand NEC, as well as other international partners and suppliers.

To complement its recent growth, Sowdens moved into new offices in Hessle in the summer of 2021, refurbishing a 19th-century former coach house. It will be here that the Sowdens 40th anniversary event will take place, and the agency is currently working hard with local suppliers and artists for the occasion, ensuring that everything is locally sourced, in true celebration of the agency’s roots. Guests will be taken back to where it all began with live musical performances and an immersive time tunnel experience, as well as art and creativity around every corner.

Looking back, looking ahead Sowden & Sowden Director, Paul Sowden, says: “It’s a hugely exciting time as we celebrate four decades in business and our long history and experience is one of our USPs. We’ve come a long way since the early 1980s and I think our longevity comes down to the fact that, while we have always evolved, we’ve never dodged the basics of our industry. Working hard and thinking up creative solutions that really inspire our clients – that’s why they keep coming back to us.”

Fellow Director, Polly Sowden, adds: “The 40th celebration will be a special occasion: bringing clients old and new together and being able to showcase our incredible new offices. While it’s a time to reflect on what we’ve achieved since 1982, we’ll also be looking ahead. Whatever happens, our people will remain a key part of the Sowdens story: we encourage our staff to be passionate about their work and we know that none of this would be possible without a strong team behind us. If we can keep our unique culture alive, we’ll be set for the next 40 years.”

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