‘I Like to See My People Get Ahead’: Brant McNaughton Celebrates 25 years of ecce.

2 weeks ago

ecce. is celebrating turning 25th this year.

Brant McNaughton founded ecce. as a web design agency before evolving into a specialised software development company. A quarter of a century later, the Kent-based agency still creates beautiful, completely custom websites and applications for a global client base.

In an interview with AHNews, Brant shared his journey and the evolution of ecce. over the past 25 years—from his career beginnings to turning a hobby into a successful business.

He began his career in finance, but eventually realised it was not the enjoyable environment he had hoped for. “I worked as a money broker, I mean it was fun and chaotic initially, but I grew to dislike the industry due to its toxic atmosphere,” he explained.

  • “We also weren’t really making or producing anything, it was all just money from money.”

He eventually grew disillusioned with the financial sector and decided against renewing his contract with his employer. Instead, he turned his tech hobbies into a new career path.

The early days were humble and hands-on. Brant originally had to single-handedly manage all aspects of the business, from design to code. His first major project was an e-commerce website, launched in 2002, for a client based in
Boston, Mass.

I employ people who are smarter than me, which is the wise thing to do

Brant McNaughton

He shared: “We built this e-commerce website for The Red River Trading Company. It lived on a server under my desk, not in a proper cloud – just a dusty box connected to the internet complete with a dodgy power cable.” It was featured in a newsletter and the box almost melted!

Over the years, ecce. has shifted from simple web projects to more complex software solutions.

  • “As our products got bigger, we moved away from doing everything and simply focused on building the websites and platforms” Brant said.

This transition was driven by a pivot towards integrating with complex mission critical ERP and MRP systems and concentrating exclusively on custom software development extending these systems capabilities. “We’re purely engineering now. We outsource a lot of the design to other agency partners… We’ve got the bespoke e-commerce stack that gives us the flexibility to do whatever mad things our clients want to do.”

“We’re not just building out an e-commerce website, or sticking it on Shopify. Everything is custom-built for the client.”

Reflecting on ecce.’s growth, Brant highlighted the significance of slow and steady development. At its peak, the agency grew to about 14 members and is currently a tight-knit team of eight engineers. “We grew glacially slow… I didn’t want to become a 25-person agency overnight – it would be all about managing people and not the work,” he noted.

This controlled growth has allowed ecce. to maintain stability and cultivate a team that deeply understands the company’s core operations and ethos. One of the hallmarks of ecce.’s success is its long-term relationships with clients and employees alike.

“I like to see my people get ahead,” Brant shared, “I employ people who are smarter than me, which is the wise thing to do.”

Brant started ecce. 25 years ago

As for the future, Brant sees more of the same challenging, rewarding work on the horizon. With no plans to retire soon, he remains committed to steering ecce. through the evolving digital landscape.

The key to running a successful business is keeping clients happy, motivating, enabling and empowering your team, and monitoring the finances.

  • “I’m solving people’s problems and like seeing people get a good return on their investment from what we do. If you deliver good work, clients will stay with you and recommend you to others, so don’t spread yourself too thin.”

But loving your agency is more important than anything regarding longevity, with Brant fondly sharing: “I’ve loved it. I think fondly of all the people who have come and gone throughout the years and contributed to who we are today.”

“I want to say it’s fun running your own business. I won’t lie, it’s challenging, frustrating sometimes, but the culture is now an extension of me and vice versa. If I didn’t have ecce. I would probably be a completely different person.”

ecce.’s 25th anniversary isn’t just a milestone—it’s a testament to adaptive growth, enduring relationships, and the relentless pursuit of technological solutions that drive client success.

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