News Release: Zebra Uno Ltd Celebrate Our 15th Anniversary
- December 2018
New website launched to proudly mark a special milestone for Zebra Uno Ltd, an independent company specialising in Media and Communication.
“This is a great milestone and we are amazed and proud to have come this far, especially when there are very few female deaf entrepreneurs out there that have traded as long as we have. Both Marilyn and I have similar visions and both have experience as media practitioners and translators, so we were determined that our ‘little’ business should thrive. And here we are – we are still thriving and growing!” Zebra Uno’s Co-Founder and Co-Director Nikki Stratton
“Wow, how the 15 years have gone by in our company, Zebra Uno! Nikki, my business partner has said it all, but looking back, we have faced many barriers in the business world. We refused to give up our ambitions and have striven to achieve our goals. Our deafness hasn’t stopped us from achieving our dreams. I would like to thank our staff, volunteers and the community, who have supported us over 15 years and have continued to believe in us.” Zebra Uno’s Co-Founder and Co-Director Marilyn Willrich
Deaf entrepreneurs, Nikki Stratton and Marilyn Willrich launched Zebra Uno on the 10th March 2003 and at that time they did not have an office of their own – they relied on libraries and Internet cafes. A couple of years later they proudly got their own office at Sparks, located at the Wolverhampton Science Park. 15 years later the company is still growing, aided by a great team who provide both Media and Interpreting services for clients all over the UK.
Zebra Uno is unique business which has successfully sourced and developed a team with specific talents and skills to suit the nature of our services, especially in the media field, where our team, who are deaf, produce high standard quality work for our clients.
Prior to launching Zebra Uno, Nikki Stratton attended the Universities of Bristol and Wolverhampton, where she obtained her B.A. (Hons) degree in Deaf Studies and Linguistics, and it was at the University of Wolverhampton that Nikki became acquainted with Marilyn Willrich, who was then a Senior Lecturer in BSL/English Interpreting at the University.
“Thinking about our earlier days brings back many memories of our journey on the path to establishing the business. This includes experiencing communications barriers, for example, once we were unable to source an interpreter for an important interview. We agreed that we would work with our strengths. Marilyn, is undoubtedly a better lipreader than me, and I have clearer speech that is comprehensible to those in the hearing world. We managed to get through this interview without an interpreter (there were lots of delays in the communication as the interviewer was speaking English with a German accent (poor Marilyn!) There were lots of pauses and several instances when we needed to repeat phrases. Nevertheless, despite the awkwardness of the situation, we were successful in the interview and it highlighted the importance of having communication support to successfully grow our business.” – Nikki Stratton
Nikki and Marilyn’s passion for supporting the Deaf Community led them to establish Zebra Uno’s sister company, Zebra Access, in 2015, a charity whose vision is to have ‘communities without barriers’ for deaf people. This same passion subsequently led to the launch of Deaffest, the UK’s leading Deaf-led Film & Arts Festival in 2006.
With more than 11 million people in the UK with some form of hearing loss, our goal is to break down barriers by raising awareness of deaf people, across the UK, from our base in Wolverhampton.
Over the years, our interpreting service has gone from strength to strength, ensuring that both deaf and hearing people are provided with high quality communication access in a range of settings. With our hardworking in-house and freelance interpreters, Zebra Uno continues to meet the growing demand for interpreting and translation services.
We are committed to combining innovative ideas with the latest technology in our multimedia and film production services. Various projects have been undertaken, some which can be viewed on Zebra Uno’s YouTube and Vimeo channels, and we are truly privileged to have worked with so many great organisations and talented people.
We would like to thank everyone who has helped us reach our 15th Anniversary, including those who have supported us from the very start of Zebra Uno. We also owe a debt of gratitude to our employees, both past and present, interpreters and to our clients. We look forward to continuing to provide our services at a high standard throughout our 15th year and long into the future.