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Office Cribs: Aro Digital

Once home to one of Wellington’s most exclusive fine-dining establishments, level 2 of 232 Oriental Bay now houses a team of eight incredibly ambitious, talented and innovative 20-somethings creating digital marketing magic from their own little eagle’s nest above the bay.

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Emblazoned with neon sign “AroHQ”, there’s no mistaking Aro Digital’s home, located just across the road from the golden sands of Oriental Bay beach.

The founders of Aro Digital aren't about lavish staff perks, foosball tables or free fruit on Fridays. Instead, they’ve created an open, comfortable and collaborative work environment that attracts the city’s brightest talent, and where their small team is able to support each other to learn and grow.

Founder and managing director, Tim Dorrian, aged just 26, says his main focus is on growing his team’s capability internally.

“I think the opportunities for personal and professional development are what keeps the team around. Having a culture of constant progression means we get to try new things all the time, and everyone gets a real kick out of that learning.

“We run a heap of education sessions, and pass the team opportunities to run education workshops with universities and the wider community. There’s always more to learn, and the industry is always changing. It’s great to be a part of that,” he says.

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Aro Digital’s culture of learning and development is supported by a comfortable, welcoming, home-away-from-homey work environment. There’s nothing flashy, designy or over-thought about it; infact, Tim and co-founder Jonty Hodge have taken a surprisingly grassroots approach to their workspace design.

“We’ve arranged our desks in a horse-shoe shape to encourage communication across the team. 

“There are standing desks, lots of screens to be able to discuss and reference what we’re working on, little breakout areas for meetings, and a chillout room out back that’s great for a quiet conversation, phonecalls, or a jam on the Xbox,” Tim says.

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And then there’s that deck with those “sweet views” over Oriental Bay.

“We’re pretty spoilt to be based in Oriental Bay. Having a moment of fresh air or sitting watching the sunset is unreal. We’ve even been lucky enough to see dolphins a couple of times. 

The CBD is just a short commute by scooter...and they have toys! 

“Well, sports gear,” Tim says.

“During summer we jump on the beach for a little backyard cricket or to toss the ball around. We’re also considering getting our own kayaks so we can commute to meetings across the other side of the harbour…”

“I’m not going to lie, the coffee machine is also a team favourite - although our flat white competitions have bordered on too-competitive. We’re also super lucky to have Beach Babylon downstairs supporting us with great food and craft beers,” he says.

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Established in 2017, Aro Digital is the brainchild of Tim and co-founder Jonty Hodge. The pair met at a Victoria University Mentors evening, went for a couple of beers, then Jonty quit his ‘real’ job and together they embarked on their passion project.

The company has since grown from a two-person business stationed out of Tim’s old flat (featuring a desk made from an old door and some fence posts) to a reputable agency with a high-profile client base that includes the Hurricanes, Weta Workshop, InvestNow and more.

The company specialises in Google ads, analytics, and social media advertising but Tim says there is plenty of room for expansion and growth.

“Just today we had two team members presenting an education seminar at a local university. We see there’s huge potential to expand on the education and workshop side of things, which is very exciting,” he says.

Tim credits his outstanding team for the company’s rapid growth and success. 

“We’ve gotten where we are today because of our awesome team. It’s been so great to see everyone we’ve worked with give 100% and really push their technical and interpersonal skills to the next level. We definitely wouldn’t be where we are without our epic Aro family,” he says.