This time last week I was sat in Pot Kettle Black in Barton Arcade, Manchester with a Cappuccino, notebook and pen on the table and my headphones in listening to the Conversations of Inspiration podcast with Holly Tucker and Fearne Cotton. This was my second day in Manchester and I was looking forward to going to the Conversations of Inspiration LIVE Podcast recording in Manchester Catherdral in the evening. I was feeling uplifted and inspired…
The day before was spent with the other Digital Advantage trainers [and a surprise visit from Randi Millard from YouX] celebrating the achievements of around 100 young people that took part in the Digital Inc programme which was delivered in SEND and PRU settings across Manchester earlier in the year.
I’ve spoken about Digital Advantage on my blog before which you can read here, but what stood out for me at this recent celebration was that by supporting the additional needs these young people had, they were able to get fully involved in the programme; they all came up with fantastic business ideas and their videos showcased the work they’d done to research the idea, design the logo and suggest ways to make the business sustainable. Within the programme, they also got a chance to visit The Sharp Project, meeting employers and taking part in a number of workshops.
I’m incredibly passionate about everyone having access to opportunities like this, ensuring they are accessible and working hard to remove any potential barriers.
Whilst I had some free time I was fortunate enough to get a last-minute appointment at Fenty Beauty in Harvey Nichols with makeup artist Jema and went on to meet Becky from Textile Candy to have lunch at Mackie Mayor. Whilst strolling through the Northern Quarter we spoke about physical spaces for the whole community to come together, the fear around change and how we’d love to see more artwork on the walls around Morecambe and a delicious food hall similar to Mackie Mayor…mmm!
We both agreed that it felt good to be out of our usual surroundings openly talking about our challenges and how we could turn them into opportunities.
Before meeting up with Becky again for the podcast recording I took another stroll through the Northern Quarter, passing a beautiful mural just outside Piccadilly Station which was jointly designed and painted by local artists and homeless people. The quote “a hand up, not a hand out” really stood out to me.
From there I visited the Manchester Craft and Design Centre, home to the studios of some of the region’s most talented artists, designers and makers. It was converted from a Victorian former fish and poultry market building in 1982. A light, airy space where you could see people at work and purchase directly from them. Whilst making my way back to Pot Kettle Black [I had my eye on their Salted Triple Chocolate Brownie that I’d seen in the morning!] the rain came and I retreated into Paperchase. It was handy as I was also looking for some end of term gifts for the teachers. Strolling up to the first floor I spotted “Curated Makers” and quickly found myself looking at items made by small, independent makers of which I already followed a few on Instagram but had never seen the physical items. I couldn’t work out if it was curated by Paperchase or not but that question was quickly answered when I spoke with Megan at the till who went on to say that she set up and runs Curated Makers which champions Northern makers, artists and small creative businesses via our curated marketplace and pop-up events after leaving the world of digital marketing for a large eCommerce brand. We quickly found out we were both going to the podcast recording with Holly Tucker and with a bag of Besty & Els laser-cut sunflowers, I said I’d see her later…
The rain stopped, the brownie was eaten and Becky and I were making our way to Manchester Cathedral. The Conversations of Inspiration podcast series has helped to physically lift Becky off her studio floor and given me a midweek boost when my energy levels were feeling low. I love everything Holly stands for and have shopped on notonthehighstreet.com numerous times and helped clients with setting up their stores on the website.
Immersed in the conversation between Holly Tucker and Mark Constantine [founder of Lush!] I didn’t make many notes but it feels that so often the courage it takes to follow your passion can come from a situation where you find you have no other option or a feeling that the worst has already happened, so what else is there to lose? I’m sure there’ll be exceptions but personally, I’d love people to have that courage before they hit rock bottom and also to know that if it does fail or something does go wrong, they can learn from it and still keep going.
Listen to the podcast by clicking here. It’s worth it!
From an early age, we are pushed to do our best, but our best is measured against our peers and I think we can quickly start comparing ourselves to others, be frightened to get things wrong and scared of taking risks. Every human is unique and often our situations mean we are not getting those opportunities, but I truly believe for all of us to be able to do what we love [even an opportunity to find out what we love doing] we need to be able to try, fail and learn and on more than one occasion, whether your 5 or 55.
I wasn’t expecting to meet Holly but I had the opportunity to speak to her twice [!!] Once to THANK her for her honesty and for sharing these stories [pictured below are other CWS Creatives members and Morgana Loze Doyle who set it up!] and secondly to invite her up to Morecambe to come and see the wonderful work Becky at Textile Candy has done to her studio and other shop fronts in the West End.
Earlier in the night, I was asked to write some advice to other business owners, writing, “Trust your gut” and “It’s ok to say No”. I wrote “It’s ok to say No” because I’ve been told numerous times to say “Yes” to every piece of work that comes my way but I started this business believing that if that work/client isn’t aligned to my values that it is ok to say No. It takes courage to do that and comes back to being in a position where I have the opportunity to be able to say No.
What opportunity could you give someone today or create for yourself?