- Course studied:
- Computing and Information Systems
- Year of graduation:
Wayne Foster is a freelance web developer with an international client base and a revolutionary new product for high street barbers. The Staffordshire University alumnus has remained in the region since graduating with a first class degree in Computing and Information Systems in 2001. After working in one of the area’s biggest ceramics manufacturers, Royal Doulton, he set up his own company and hasn’t looked back.
“I set-up Neway Technology Limited six years ago,” Wayne explained. “It came off the back of working at Royal Doulton, where I was the global team leader for ecommerce. They decided to outsource the work and my technical ecommerce department was, effectively, made redundant. Several non-ecommerce websites were still in place and needed attention, so I set up Neway so I could continue working for them, as well as other businesses.”
With expertise in ecommerce software, Wayne has picked up work for a wide-range of other retailers, including California-based women’s footwear company Rocket Dog. He is also now selling his own product, Queue Watch, which aims to cut waiting times at barber shops by allowing customers to see how busy their barber is online.
Wayne has always lived in Staffordshire, having attended Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College and then Staffordshire University. It was during his degree he gained a part-time job at Phones 4U, where bosses quickly noted his talent and interest in IT and promptly offered to sponsor him. They also employed his skills in helping to develop a system for monitoring performance across the firm’s nationwide stores, which he completed as part of his dissertation.
After graduating, Wayne joined Xchanging UK Ltd. “That’s where I cut my teeth on enterprise level IT systems. They had a massive contract with BAE Systems, developing software to handle their payroll and HR. Then they got me working for a client in London and the company just kept on growing, resourcing in India and opening offices in Germany. I met my wife at that time and we were buying a house, and I didn’t want to be living out of a suitcase travelling a lot for the company, so I started looking around for other opportunities.”
Wayne joined Royal Doulton in 2004 and remained through a number of acquisitions and sales until 2010. He was responsible for ecommerce across several brands and microsites, selling products online for customers around the world. “The system was turning over quite a few zeros by the time we were done with it,” he said. “When the company went into administration, however, we sold more products than ever on the website.”
After leaving Royal Doulton and setting up freelance, Wayne also spent 18 months as a part-time lecturer at Staffordshire University, teaching computing and IT. He is now busy with Neway and marketing Queue Watch, with support from the Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce mentoring scheme.
“I launched Queue Watch about three years ago and it had great success for a Stoke-based barber called Mehmet, who’s now getting 30,000 hits a year on his website and has grown seat occupancy by 35%,” Wayne said. “Working with a Chamber business mentor, we’ve decided to produce a consistent marketing plan to sell Queue Watch to other barbers. It offers real benefits, allowing customers to go on their websites, see how busy the salon is and choose the best time for their haircut.”