A Brief History Of GAIA

"It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile." Sting, from 'Englishman In New York'.

When we talked about forming GAIA, we wanted our organization to mirror and compliment our personal life-style... Not everybody has imagination and insight, though, as we discovered. We wanted to reclaim words and meanings. We wanted a 'multi-media' business. Not a newspaper group, or television company. Multi-media, in the true sense of the word 'media': plural for 'medium'. We would work in many different mediums.

With some reluctance to be thrown into a foreign world, and the realization, that, our projects would attract more attention and finance if we had some secure formalization we took the plunge and incorporated GAIA in 1999. Despite many 'media' accountants' free advice to "not set-up a company" that had film, design and art all under the one roof, we went ahead. We wanted it all under the one roof. There was nothing to hide. No corporate tax profits hidden in different companies. No complicated dual interest directorships. We were simply the Mama and Papa of a new clan!

We had no experience of running a company, or experience of business forms, rules and regulations. But, we had vision and enthusiasm. This, alone, gave us the determination to follow our dream. We could learn as we went along any technical form-filling!

No other company, that we knew of at the time, has gone into the arts world as an ethical company. We were continually told it could never be done. We would sell-out. We would compromise our principles. Our work would be low quality. These comments even came from some companies, that, pertained to be ethical and were on the fringes of the 'arts' and had 'sold-out' themselves. The difference for us was, that, we believed in ethical and ecological issues as a life-style, not a gimmick or marketing accessory. It was not a matter of jumping on a faddish bandwagon, it was about earning a living working within a medium and field, that, we enjoyed and in a manner that was part of our life-style already.

GAIA is not so much about the products we sell or the projects we do, but, about the working and living space we create to do these things and the life-style we project to others. It is, also, about the journey: not the finished product.

We did not find any business centres, that, understood this. Consequently, they had no advice for us! As we struggled through the mire of corporate etiquette and dialect, we forged our own rules of communications and behaviour. For us, starting a business was never about 'sinking' money into an 'investment'. We did not have the intention to 'sell' a product and see our 'capital appreciate'. We were starting with nothing and aiming to earn a living from a life-style. After nine months of deliberation and hearing points of view from a variety of solicitors, accountants and business advisors. We had as many differing opinions as the number of people whose opinions we sought.

We know, now, that the problem was that nobody had our vision for GAIA, so none of them could advise us properly or appropriately.

It seemed, that, they went out of their way to put people off and make the procedure sound more complicated than it actually is. There has to be caution, of course, but, their failings lie in their poor communication skills and limited business imagination.

But, we made it and here we are!

As GAIA's eleventh year anniversary gift, we 'de-registered' GAIA as a limited company: freeing GAIA from the chains of conformity. Bringing it back to its roots of working outside conventional establishments. GAIA Unlimited is, now, truly unlimited by the ties of Companies House, Annual Returns, borders, boundaries and non-lateral thinking.

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