Will Hudson

Founder & director, It's Nice That

Building It’s Nice That

Will’s talk will shed light on the behind-the-scenes work that has made It’s Nice That the success it is today.

It’s Nice That has been championing interesting creative work for a decade. Will oversees the creative output across multiple platforms, events and partnerships.

Starting as Will’s university project, It’s Nice That now has over half a million readers a month. Will hasn’t stopped there. Since founding the company in 2007 he’s been at the helm of its expansion; overseeing the creative output across all sides of the business, building creative agency Int Works, and constantly developing new opportunities. 

Dots Live

Work hard and get lucky - the secrets to It's Nice That's success

As the penultimate speaker at Dots 2016, Will Hudson, founder and director of It’s Nice That, took the Dots audience on a journey, describing how his company went from a start-up to working with the likes of Nike.

Founded in 2007, while Will was still at university, It’s Nice That believes passionately that creative inspiration is for everyone. By championing the most exciting work online and in print, it strives to open up the world of design to the widest possible audience.

Will said that the original university brief was “to put something in the public domain to make people feel better about themselves”.

When the company first started, the website featured just one main image, and the headline was the name of the person they were featuring, with a few sentences. In Will’s words the emphasis was, “there’s something here… check it out if you’re interested”.

Growth, luck and perspiration

It’s Nice That has grown very organically, and now has nine studios. While growing, Will and the team took small steps. They never borrowed any money, never took any loans and therefore own all of the company.

What does Will attribute most of their success to? Luck.

When they launched, Twitter was a year old, Tumblr was two months old, Instagram was three years away, and the iPhone was about to be launched.

“In 2007 it was easier to build the actual thing than to build mock-ups,” said Will. It was affordable to get a CMS back end and to get a guy in the year below at university to do the coding. Not many other people were doing it at the time, so there wasn’t much competition. People really embraced the website. It was a level playing field, as traditional competition was still trying to get to grips with being online.

Will also attributes their success to consistency: posting at the same times each and every day, so people knew to look for it. Will thinks that the biggest bit of luck was that people liked looking at it and so it gathered momentum.

“100% of CEOs had a first job … until now,” said Will. What the Internet did was allow people to build things from scratch and become CEOs at 20.

Working hard

“The harder you work the luckier you get,” explains Will. For a long time, It’s Nice That was made before work, after work and at weekends. Will said it’s now what they look for in people who come to work for them.

“The truth is you don’t get taught business stuff as a child or at university and sometimes it’s really difficult when things go wrong. You don’t judge people when things go really well, you judge people when they go badly.”