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My Influences: Joe Gradwell, CEO and co-founder, Campfire

Joe Gradwell

Joe Gradwell is co-founder and CEO of Campfire.

He previously worked at Social Chain for nearly four years, where he worked in a number of roles from Head of Social to Media Director.

Social Chain was where he initially met his fellow co-founder, Alex Brown, with the duo working together to grow well-known social media pages from Gamebyte to Student Problems. 

The duo teamed up in 2019 and decided to launch their own digital agency, Campfire, from a spare room. Since launching, Campfire has moved to MediaCity and has since grown to over 40 employees, working with a number of brands including Elemis, Dermalogica, Neom, The INKEY List.

He shared his top three influences that have shaped his working career…


The person that has inspired my working career the most, and why

I would have to say my dad. Not so much what my career is in or why I do it, but how. The way in which we do business is plastered across our office and website, with honesty and with integrity. My dad is someone who, unknowingly, instilled this in me. He’s the most exemplary model of what a hard working man with honesty and integrity looks like to me.

The place that has inspired my working career the most, and why

Horwich, Bolton, my home town. It’s easy to look down on Horwich, there’s not a lot there, there’s not a lot going on, and historically if you’re born there, you stay there forever. It’s a small place that you don’t imagine much of, or the people in it. I quite like that people think that, because it allows people like me to try and prove them wrong. In recent years there’s a number of people from Horwich who’ve done great things, I hope to be one of them to set the record straight for Horwich and Bolton.

The thing that has inspired my working career the most, and why

Seeing previous teammates burnout in horrific fashion which has resulted in some great talent being lost. Since seeing this, we’ve aimed to grow responsibly at Campfire, to not grow too quickly and overburden our team, or place unrealistic expectations on them to further the business. We believe it possible to be ambitious with balance at Campfire, and we stand by that.

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