Spitfire Inbound: one year later

Our content strategist and co-founder, Samantha Steele, reminisces on the first, breakneck year of Spitfire Inbound.

A few confident strokes, a pensive pause, and Spitfire Inbound’s first logo was done: sketched on a serviette in Roco Mamas by our MD, Darren Leishman.


Here, framed, our MD @darrenleishman's first sketch of our logo on a napkin after a @hubspot HUG. It's official, we've launched!

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 This was a few months before our official launch party at the War Museum, but this dinner, after a HubSpot HUG - with Alison Leishman (Inbound Strategist), Darren Leishman (MD), Lucille Moreton (Senior Inbound Marketing Consultant) and me (Content Strategist) - really cemented the start of Spitfire Inbound.

When I first joined the team, we weren’t even a company yet. We were the inbound marketing division of of Penquin, an integrated marketing company started by Darren over sixteen years ago. In a series of rapidly escalating events in 2016, our busy division split off and become a budding company with a passion to do marketing the inbound way. This miniscule team was spearheaded by Alison Leishman, an analytics enthusiast and process innovator who started her career as an occupational therapist and academic. She used her knowledge of people and qualitative research to develop an intense, one-of-a-kind buyer persona process, which evolved into the unique Spitfire interceptor strategy.

The ‘starter kit’ team are all creatives who love baking, knitting, doodling, scrapbooking, amongst other things; have a passion for knowledge; and a sense of humour. When Spitfire started to expand, it was these more intangible qualities we sought out in new staff members.

Our quiet corner into the office has bubbled into a happy spot. We embrace our #SpitfireCulture with board games, coffee in a cone, flower crowns, themed days at work, and yes - a lot of pranks too.


#GamesandBraai🏆 with the #SpitfireInbound team.

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A Friday is not complete without a coffee in a cone @grindcoffeecompany #spitfireculture

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My awesome new Spitfire pin chilling with my pen. Thanks @sebear1 !

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There have been challenging times too. Exploding from a small nucleus into a multi-celled, developing company means things have had to change from our intimate first days. Nurturing new staff while keeping our joie de vivre was one challenge we loved, helped by having a fun, dedicated team, but a more difficult one was developing company-wide processes that work for a range of personalities and work styles while leaving us room to grow. By every day striving to live our core values, not only in our work ethic, but also in our interpersonal relations, we’ve developed a solid core that guides the company like a compass.

Our values:

  • Authentic
  • Collaborate
  • Purpose built
  • Freedom

One challenge for me that boosted personal growth is working with clients. Spitfire’s focus on proactively looking at customer needs, truly dedicating ourselves to understanding their and their customer’s pain points, and developing a strong working relationship with clients that face their own challenges, has been deeply rewarding. With Alison and Darren’s guidance, I’ve learnt that our relationships with these fellow marketers is a gift for both us, and our clients too. We have one goal in mind: success, and merging company and inbound insights into a comprehensive strategy reaps many rewards.

It’s been a privilege to both help and watch our small team grow into a thriving business, and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings for all of us.

In the spirit of our birthday, we've made some of the team's creative work available for download as part of our CSI initiative. Click here to see what it's all about!

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