I’m not alone in missing family, friends and our personal tribes and support networks as we go through this time. And I'm guessing I'm definitely not alone in reassessing how much those people mean to us, and also having a little quiet think about those people or things that might not make our life better 🤔.
So I thought I’d take some time to celebrate some of the groups that help me run my business. I might be a solo brand, but it takes a village to run an indie business.
I had a lot of perceptions about the business world before I came into it. It always seemed very alpha and cut-throat, but, and this might be the new generation of female led businesses, I have found it to be completely the opposite.
One of the best things has been finding a community who knows the highs and lows of starting from scratch and growing a business in all its complexity. They are there to support you, give advice, celebrate your wins and just listen if you need a moan.
I wanted to shout out those communities today, hopefully you might find some other small businesses that you love. And if you're an indie check them out and join the gang.
My Dinner Gang
I'm so lucky to that these three women that I came across through business - and my wedding - have become real friends and confidantes. I call them the Brenhines (Queens) in my phone but they are Rachel Burgess (who took a chance on me and signed me up to her bridal boutique when I was just starting out), Kirsty Patrick (we met doing the Sunday night Milgi markets) and Mel from Penylan Pantry (did the cheese for my wedding and I've held onto her). Our regular dinners/breakfast are a real joy and are very high on my list of post lockdown firsts.
One of the biggest changes to my business was when I had my son. Time becomes a lot more limited when you have a child and my focus needed to shift to really try and grow Claire Hill Designs, especially if I was going to split my workload between being a mum, a business owner and a producer/director in TV. When I came across Diana Bardega and her group The Mamahood, I knew I wanted in. Championing businesses run by mothers it is the best place to find some of the coolest indie brands in the UK. Behind the scenes it is a the biggest support network I have found, with women across the UK generously sharing and supporting on daily WhatsApp, and now Slack chat, masterclasses, amazing pop up shops and more. It's free to join at the moment if you are a mum-run business.
Who would have thought joining an advertising course would put me in the path of another great community ran by Amanda Perry. Her ads course, Facebook group and business podcast has added another level to my business and has allowed me to find more great indie businesses to be inspired by and support. And you can even now Shop the Hub and find some new cool indie brands to fall in love with.
You might know that I just signed up for studio space of my own days before we went into lockdown - my pod is at the right of the picture. It’s ready and waiting for me when I can go and work in there and become part of another community that I'm looking forward to joining properly. Run by sister's Julia and Sarah there isn't really a lot of suitable studio space in Cardiff, apart from The Boneyard (where I had a space before maternity) and this old wartime munition's factory is home to a whole host of artists, ceramicists, clothes designers, jewellery makers and more. Soon I’ll be in amidst them.