2016 marked Scruffy Dog’s first appearance at the IAAPA Attractions Expo, after having made a big splash at EAS earlier in the year. Though they’ve been doing work in Europe and Asia for years, the design/build firm is looking to grow in the North American market. IPM sat down with founder and managing director Joe Bright to learn more about the company.
IPM: How did Scruffy Dog get to be where it is today?
Joe Bright: It started with just 22-year-old me eight years ago in a small garage studio in East London where I was doing film and television set design. Some of my clients came to me asking if I would do some theme park and attraction design for their IP’s, which was new to me at the time. To accommodate that I moved into a studio and hired a small team of three in London and quickly outgrew that in the first year growing to a staff of ten. At that time our focus was exclusively on design and I wasn’t happy with the quality of production from our clients’ existing suppliers so we decided to invest in a new facility in Birmingham to produce our own designs. Now with an 18,000 sq ft manufacturing facility and 2 design studios (one in London and the other in Birmingham UK), our theme park and attraction design & build is a significant portion of our work and we have nearly 35 staff in design which will increase to 40 with our US division next year and up to 60 in our UK workshops.
IPM: How do you differentiate yourselves?
Joe Bright: I really feel like Scruffy Dog is a passion company offering designs that push creativity boundaries. I love what I do and our team members are here because they love it and they all excel at what they do — from designers to skilled craftsmen. We also understand that ultimately our client is the guest in the park or attraction and our job is to provide the best guest experience to compliment that.
IPM: What sort of impact do you as a design/build firm feel you have on the end user experience?
Joe Bright: We are storytellers in a physical format and our aim is to immerse the guest in the experience – removing them from reality from start to finish. Our work is becoming renowned for cutting-edge designs enhancing guest experience with out of the box thinking. We are offering something different that is highly attractive to the next generation of visitors.
IPM: Tell us more about your expansion plans.
Joe Bright: We’ve had all organic growth to this point, but now we are ready to expand our design services into the United States and build our American clientele. Projects are built on a different scale in the US and I and my creative team are ready to add a fresh and exciting take to these projects. We are planning to open a small creative office in Orlando in early 2017.
IPM: What should people who may be interested in working for you do?
Joe Bright: We are looking for an exciting, experienced creative director to head up our US division based in Orlando so would love to hear from your readers who fit the bill! Visit our careers page: http://www.scruffydogltd.com/careers/