About Carl Hopkins and kloog
The ‘business’ bit
My marketing and business experience spans 28 years during which time I seem to have acquired a bit of a tough, no-nonsense reputation.
I originally joined Judith Donovan Associates (now JDA) in 1984 as a junior designer and rose through the ranks to take over the business in 2000 as MD after a successful management buy-out.
From 2000 to 2005 I grew the business from 48 to 75 staff, took the turnover from £9.6m to £19.4m and tripled profits to £750,000. In 2003 I also coordinated the acquisition of Warrington-based advertising and PR agency Blueprint, without receiving any external support or funding. In 2005 I took over the role of chairman until the sale of the business in June 2007.
Rather than ‘retiring’ as I originally planned, I am now busier than ever, having become involved with a variety of Yorkshire businesses. I have been often been referred to as ‘one of Yorkshire’s up and coming entrepreneurs’.
I launched kloog, a business ‘angel’ service in September 2007 to share some of the experiences garnered in my career with other businesses. kloog offers the following services: business audits, business investment, personal mentoring within business (The Tor-mentor) and off-site presentations and workshops for a variety of topics such as creativity, sales, advertising, marketing, success and management.
I also created Coffee with kloog, a ‘no-froth’, marketing advisory ‘clinic’ in association with Forward Ladies, the North’s premier women’s networking and business support group. Since launching kloog, I have worked with over 280 businesses and stay in touch through a regular newsletter – the klooguide.
In November 2010 I was hand-picked to join a new forum of 26 high profile entrepreneurs created by Business secretary Rt. Hon. Vince Cable whose purpose it is to advise the government on business and enterprise policies. The Entrepreneurs’ Forum meets four times a year and complements other groups, such as the prime minister’s Business Advisory Group, the business secretary’s Business Advisory Group and the Small Business Economic Forum.
In 2011 I became the first founding patron of ‘Are you ready?’, enterprise education programme which aims to prepare young people for the challenges and opportunities of life in the 21st Century by inspiring teachers to integrate enterprise skills and culture into the life and curriculum of schools and colleges.
I was also recently invited to become a trustee of the Leeds United Communities Foundation which aims to deliver CSR initiatives in the local community.
The ‘other’ stuff
Not being the shy and retiring type as you may have gathered, I am quite a regular face in the media, best known for my appearance on Channel 4’s popular philanthropy programme, ‘The Secret Millionaire’. This saw me living undercover in the former North East mining town of Easington with the task of finding and helping out groups and individuals involved in community projects. At the end of my time in Easington I ended up giving away £42,000 of my own money to worthwhile causes.
In order to promote the programme I was invited onto This Morning and Richard and Judy’s sofa (C4) and gave countless radio interviews. I’ve also appeared as an expert guest on BBC1’s popular debate show ‘The Big Questions’ and have made several appearances on BBC Radio Leeds.
For two years I was the resident ‘agony uncle’ for marketing publication The Drum. My ‘Uncle Carl’ column, was read by more than 8,000 people every two weeks since January 2008. The first 18 instalments have been published as a book called ‘The Gospel According to Uncle Carl’.
In 2012 I was voted in the 35th most influential marketer outside of London by readers of The Drum.
I am proud to be one of 300 Welcome to Yorkshire Patrons, a group of influential business leaders and celebrities taking the Yorkshire message to a global audience conveying all that’s best about Yorkshire as a place to live, to be educated, work and play.
The ‘random’ stuff – 10 things you won’t know about me
- I taught myself to juggle clubs and ride a unicycle – sadly I cannot do them both at the same time.
- I have over 3,500 Spiderman, Hulk, X-men comics (and others).
- For my 40th birthday, I bid £1,200 on e-bay for Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine to play a private gig in the front room of my house. The proceeds were donated to charity.
- I am a huge Elvis fan and have been to Gracelands and wept. I also have a dog called ‘Presley’ in his honour.
- I am the Lifetime Honorary President of a Miners’ Brass Band even though I cannot play a note on any instrument and have never been down a mine.
- I am the same age and grew up on the same notorious council estate as fellow ‘Secret Millionaire’, Terry George.
- I failed my driving test four times. I like to blame this on the fact that a) nobody in my family had a car, let alone could drive and b) I only managed to save up for a few lessons at a time so by the time the test came round, I was out of practice again!
- I went to the same art college as Henry Moore, Damien Hirst, Ricky Wilson, lead singer of the Kaiser Chiefs and Leigh Francis of Bo’ Selecta.
- I have never drunk alcohol, smoked or taken drugs. My one vice is caffeine (tea, then coffee) …and biscuits (and cake).