Video production agency Cherryduck has enjoyed a meteoric rise in its seven-year history.

Former professional photographer James Vellacott left his job at The Mirror after 16 years to focus solely on the business he’d co-founded with wife Michelle in the spare room of their Wapping flat.

Staying local their company now occupies a 21,000sq ft office equipped with studios, props, recording equipment and editing suites in Sampson Street. There James employs 21 full-time members of staff and 10-15 freelancers.

The company now has a turnover comfortably in seven figures but its creation was not without sacrifice – James had to put aside a career he loved.

He said: “When I left The Mirror, being a photographer was the best job in the world, it still is.

James in Iraq in 2003

“I went to Albania during the Kosovo conflict, I went to New York to cover 9/11, I went to Afghanistan and Iraq. I’ve had numerous trips to the West Bank.

“I did some fun stuff too like going to the Far East with the Beckhams and to the set of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

“It’s still a great industry and I’ve seen it all change. I love it so much and I miss it but my photography is dead in the water now.”

Cherryduck, however, is anything but, offering a wide range of services including the production of brand videos and TV commercials as well as renting out studio space to clients.

James said: “It’s grown and grown and grown. We are looking at £1.7million turnover for this year and it’s all our own money, no outside investment.

Cherryduck Studios now turns over £1.7million per annum

“We just have a great team, everyone has a great life here. We are a small business but we want to continue to grow and we’ve got some big pitches on the go at the moment.

“The reason we have been so successful is because we have everything we need in one place.”

Originally, James was still carrying out some of the photography duties for Cherryduck but he then made another difficult decision – to give up the camera, get some business coaching and focus on being the managing director so he could grow the company.

He said: “I love what I do now. I call photography my other life and that’s what I say to the guys here. It’s just completely removed from being a managing director.

“There is a lot of nostalgia whenever I get a new camera, but I don’t take pictures professionally anymore.”

Cherryduck will be capturing The Wharf Innovation In Business Awards 2016 on Thursday, September 29 and is available for a wide range of video commissions.

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