Director & Founder: Tale Production Ltd
Alex Lees graduated in 2015 with a degree in Product Design Engineering. He has since incubated his business, Tale Production, in The Studio on campus. Find out more about his experiences as a student and a founder of a business in his profile.
From finishing school and college, I was always torn between engineering and a degree that was more creative. When I came across Product Design Engineering, it provided me with the opportunity to discover the best of both worlds. The dream before starting the course was to be able to, in the future, work with a company to design and engineer new innovative exciting products. As a sports enthusiast I thought the design of sports equipment would be brilliant, and hence why I chose Loughborough.
The skills that I have gained from my degree and Loughborough may not have lead me to the initial dream of designing sports equipment, but the development of myself as a person to become independent and self-sufficient because the environment at Loughborough was invaluable.
The way that Loughborough enabled me to try something different within enterprise, made something such as starting a business seem less daunting and more of a reality. There are so many people with great ideas out there, and I personally think without Loughborough and the enterprise team, I wouldn’t be where I am today. They were therefore a real inspiration to the beginning of the journey.
Would there be one piece of advice that you would give to current or prospective students looking to study the same course that you did?
As well as the degree look to gain as much experience from everything, create connections with people and take opportunities that will enhance things not only for your degree, but personally as well.
One of the hardest things I personally found was deciding on career direction without knowing all the possibilities of things that are out there. The best way to find out about these are to connect with people and to try different things.
Did you take part in any extra-curricular activities during your studies? If so, how did this impact upon your Loughborough experience?
Sport was the main extra-curricular activity that I did, but as well as that, liaising with the Enterprise Hub within the Students’ Union was the main thing that impacted upon my experience. After working a corporate job within engineering, I realised I wanted to work for myself rather than the person at the top of the chain; that I would probably never meet. Therefore, the knowledge, time and networks that the enterprise team provided truly impacted upon my experience and to make this journey possible.
As Loughborough has been a great influence in getting me to where I am today, I felt like I wanted to give back. I am therefore part of the student enterprise committee whereby we look to determine how best to help enterprising students. I try to connect and provide opportunities, where possible for anyone that can help with projects to gain experience. For example, actors from the ‘Out of Hours’ acting society and graphics designers who have done some great work within some of the projects we have carried out.
One of the hardest parts about setting up a business was moving away from the norm and expectation of what your career path should look like after finishing University.
It is difficult for family and friends to understand why you’re doing what you are doing, and it leads to a lot of sacrifice along the way. However, surrounding yourself with likeminded people and communicating with the right people really helps to move things forwards. There are a lot of barriers and unexpected things along the way, but most of the time it can be those failures and barricades that help to build the business and improve on successes.
A recent development was expanding the business, to help increase overall capacity of projects, at any one time. To assist with this, we have connected with the talent pool at Loughborough in many ways to improve the business but also to give back for them to gain experience. This has led to alumna, April Pass, who graduated with a master’s in Management, joining the team to take things to the next level.
Every day is something different. I love being able to go out and meet new clients, visit their amazing facilities, find out about innovation and meet some incredible people along the way.
Being part of big milestones in companies, such as NHS reaching 70 years and helping companies to raise large amounts of money to help continue with their amazing projects, is incredible.
As a company we are looking to continue to expand and develop people to increase the offering our business provides. We want to continue to grow our expertise and showcase that we are the go to company for tech-based companies.
I can’t pick out one in particular, because every project we work on I feel proud to say that we have influenced the direction of that company.
Find out more about Tale Production online.