Simon Griffith has never forgotten the joy he felt on completing his first building project, restoring an old Scottish school built in 1894. That project ignited a passion for construction that still fuels him after more than 20 years.

Returning to New Zealand with their two young sons in 2007, Simon and his wife Sophie Stewart established Thistle Building Company in the Wairarapa district to continue their mission of building outstanding homes and commercial spaces.

They don’t do cookie-cutter and have beautiful architecturally designed plans to suit all needs and budgets. They have built a reputation for being both professional and enthusiastic, willing to listen and offer suggestions and, most importantly, as trustworthy and delivering first class workmanship. In fact, 99% of their clients rate them as the Wairarapa’s best home builders, which has given Sophie and Simon the confidence to expand their boutique business into the Hawke’s Bay region.


When they established Thistle Building Company, Sophie and Simon retained a local business, Satellite Design, to create and maintain their website and look after their graphic design needs.

The Satellite team continues to play a key role in Thistle’s success, but Sophie says as their business grew, so did the realisation that they also needed an excellent marketing specialist.

Someone they trusted recommended Ark Advance and they began working with Chris Price and his team in 2019.

“Our goals were to grow Thistle in the Wairarapa and expand into other regions. The housing market is hugely competitive, with the franchise home builders having much bigger marketing budgets than Thistle,” Sophie says.

“We knew that we needed to move away from conventional marketing and that we did not have the knowledge about effective online marketing to give the best return on our investment.”


Working with Ark Advance

Ark Advance teamed up with Satellite Design to optimise Thistle Building Company’s website, so it ranked higher in search results. While building a greater organic reach online, Chris also launched Thistle on Pinterest, an ideal platform for a home builder given its popularity with users interested in architecture and home design.

Sophie says it’s important to know that Ark Advance and Satellite Design are both on the same page, and they get the job done simply and effectively. From the very start, she found Chris and his team professional, and most importantly trustworthy, and felt they took time to fully understand Thistle’s needs.

“We now work closely with Guiann, and his passion shines through,” she adds. “We really look forward to our monthly catch-ups and feel confident that Guiann is working away for us behind the scenes.”


The results

With a presence on various social media sites, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Houzz, Thistle Building Company is no longer solely relying on its website to attract its target market. Through multiple social platforms, Sophie and Simon are growing the Thistle brand and directing potential clients back to the website.

“The best way to show how Ark Advance has helped to grow our business is the fact that in the last two years we have quadrupled the number of homes we are building,” Sophie says.

“A lot of our new clients are moving into the area, and it’s thanks to Chris and his team that they approach Thistle as their first port of call.”


Looking ahead

Thistle Building Company is now expanding into the Hawke’s Bay region and using the expertise of the Ark Advance team to get its name out there.

“We have huge confidence in Ark Advance to deliver.”