Birthday Bash/ Partnerships and Collaborations Event

At our June event we celebrated our first birthday with cocktails on the terrace at our new venue The Magistrates, Perky Blenders new cafe next to the Town Hall in Walthamstow.

Shelley and I Jun18 event.jpg

The evening was a celebration of partnerships and collaborations and we were delighted to be joined by guest speakers Shelley Bishton of Bishton partnerships and Victoria Cozens of Perky Blenders. Shelley led an interesting discussion, explaining the difference between collaborations and partnerships and how to go about approaching businesses, if you have an idea. She discussed the possible pitfalls but also the huge advantages of pairing up and sharing resources and audiences.

Victoria shared her experiences of the two and a half year journey, her and her husband have been on, starting out in a shed in their back garden to building Perky Blenders into an ever expanding, award winning business with a large subscription service and cafes throughout the borough.  She has managed various partnerships and collaborations with local businesses including Wildcard Brewery, Soapsmith and Keep Cup as well as large corporations such as Fennicks department store.

Victoria Jun18 event.jpg

Our open mic was fantastic, we heard from lots of local brands, such as:

Bini Bamba

Kindred Meets

Creche and Co.

Hanoi Caphe

Digital Marketing guru Laura


We’d love to hear of the connections you have made through Hive and if any meetings or collaborations take place please share these, via our social media channels with the hashtag #hivesuccess

An Evening of Marketing Insights

People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic - Seth Godin

Thanks to all who came to our January event ‘An Evening of Marketing Insights’. We know it can be hard to motivate yourself to come to a networking event at the beginning of the year so we were very happy to have a full house, including the Hive baby who made a special guest appearance on stage and even a tiny dog named Bear!

We were lucky to hear from guest speakers Wendy Aldridge from Homeplace and Accessories Designer Sarah Baily. Wendy spoke about how Instagram was transformative for her business, both in terms of exposure and also by the opportunities brought her way through brand awareness. Networking in this way led her to pick up a huge following in a very organic way. Planning is not her strong point which is really interesting- Wendy believes that not having a business plan actually stalled her plans somewhat, which shows that not everyone works in the same way.


Sarah had a different approach in terms of goal setting. As an effective part of her overall strategy she has found trade shows indispensable for getting buyers. It is important to focus on the right marketing technique for the industry you are in- it sounds obvious but one size does not fit all.

This extends to social media marketing of course. Not all channels are going to be right for everyone. Have a look at our social media tips from Emma of Good Egg Social (and Hive Collective!) for some quick pointers on the best way to focus your efforts.

We had a fantastic open mic session and heard from some inspiring people including the artist Sharon Drew, Henrietta Inman who makes delicious cakes, Zoe Bowring from Dinghy Insurance and Jacob Reimann who is a natural pain specialist. The variety of businesses and viewpoints made for a really interesting discussion and helped to connect people during the drinks.


The friendly networking then led to an after-party at Eckovision- it is always lovely to meet you all in person and learn about your endeavours. No matter what stage your business is at, it is always great to come out and meet people, especially in Walthamstow which has such a vibrant, creative community. If you didn’t make this one then be sure to come to our next evening event.


We also have a trio of Spring workshops starting on March 26th on how to make your online content look professional.

Thanks very much to our sponsors Stow Brothers, Eat17 and Perky Blenders- without whom we couldn’t have made the evening so special.

Thanks also to Indikidual, Homeplace and Sarah Baily for their wonderful gifts of discount codes! The evening was richer for your insights and generosity. 

What people said

'A wonderful and inspirational evening and I look forward to many more!'

'Great event to get to know local businesses and creatives. Very inspiring looking forward to the next one'

Creative Social Media Brunch

If you want engagement, be engaging - Darren Rowse

Hive ran the first of a series of social media workshops this month, with Emma of Good Egg Social. The discussion was based around the sometimes overlooked idea that social media is not only for your customers but can also be an excellent tool for you to understand and refine the story behind your business. Using social media as a sort of scrapbook or micro-blogging platform can be hugely creative, and if we remove the notion that daily posting is a ‘chore’, and see it instead as fun storytelling then it will be more interesting for everyone!


As social media is essentially branding and the story is always the starting point, we first tried to put what our businesses mean to us into words. Using Simon Sinek’s ‘Golden Circle’ we wrote down the Why, How and What of our work. We also had a really interesting open discussion about how to best use the different platforms and looked at some time saving tools. The subject is so huge it was hard to pack it all into two hours, and we hope to expand on some of the subjects we touched upon in a series of future workshops which will be more tailored to specific topics.


Thanks so much to all who came, and look out for upcoming sessions! We know that staying motivated in Autumn can be tricky so if you are struggling then feel free to post on our Facebook group. Thanks also to Perky Blenders for supplying us with coffee, fruit and croissants :)

What people said

'A relaxed and friendly session. Really helped with my motivation and confidence'

'Really made me think about our business and what we're trying to achieve'

'Super inspiring workshop! Emma is friendly and asks you the kind of questions that really get you thinking about your business. Fun and helpful'

Becoming Self-Employed

The only thing worse than starting something and failing… is not starting something. -Seth Godin

We had such a good time at our second evening event ‘Becoming Self-employed’. Although it was a rainy Autumnal night the turnout was great and once again we met some really interesting people. 


Thanks so much to Syreeta Johnson of kid’s clothing range Indikidual- it was so interesting to hear how she set up and developed her brand. Thanks also to Antony Smith of Providus Financial who ran us through some basics of how to manage your finances once you have made the decision to go it alone. It was also great to have Phillipa from Enterprise Enfield who told us a little bit about the Inspiring Women Start Up Programme.  A special shout out also to Hive's Nat Harrison, who brought along the youngest Hive member (just a few weeks old) Owyn who slept through the entire event!


Finding support

It seems we all have similar fears about the mechanics of setting up a business, worries about pensions and mortgages- can we support our families how we would like to? Also on top of this is the question of whether we believe we can make a success of our venture.

One of the reasons we set up Hive was to create a network of people who can be open about the difficulties they encounter and provide each other with support. That is why we have set up our Facebook group, to ask questions or to buddy up with someone to keep motivated. We are soon introducing weekly threads for this purpose. Please join if you haven’t already!

Thanks to all those who came. Watch this space for our next event which will take place in January next year. We also have a social media workshop coming up on October 9th, and we are planning to run a visual branding workshop in November- details coming soon.


Thanks also to Stow Brothers and Eat 17 who provided the drinks and the Italian Deli who gave us a lot of olives! Also thanks to Leyla from Bloom of the Block who decorated Central Parade with her gorgeous plants. See you at the next event!

Business Planning & Strategy Brunch

If you talk about it, it's a dream, if you envision it, it's possible, but if you schedule it, it's real. - Tony Robbins

Our first brunch event went really well. We were so pleased that we had attendees from both Wanstead and Tottenham- it is great to think that people outside the borough have heard of what we’re up to!

As usual, the idea was to create a relaxing, inclusive space in which we felt free to talk openly and honestly. Although there was some trepidation around the formality of planning a business, everyone warmed to the subject thanks to Nat’s inspiring exercises.


Interestingly, what seemed to come up was that some of us felt a certain amount of emotional resistance when faced with writing a business plan. We realised that it may be helpful to try approaching it in a more visual way if that’s something you feel more comfortable with.

Someone also said they felt quite emotional talking about the vision they have for their business, which shows that it can be a fairly sensitive subject. For some, it is the culmination of a lifetime of soul-searching. Putting your dreams into action is extremely daring when you think about it. No wonder we feel resistance!

The challenge is to think expansively, dream big, then break it down into achievable stages. We all want to be efficient and make more money and it is only with a well thought through plan that you can achieve these things. Once the plan is there it will give you the freedom to run with your ideas and be assured that your short term goals are aligned with your long-term vision.

We highly recommend that you take the time to do this. Turn it into a project! And most importantly remember to ask for help. Post to our Facebook group if you feel you need someone to check in / meet up with every so often, and if you have any questions then that is a great place to ask. Have a look at our 'Useful stuff' page for some links on how to start.

What people said

'A great introduction to business planning and strategy - lots to be thinking about and the kickstart I needed to progressing my business'

'A relaxed, informative session with a supportive group of businesswomen. Not been to anything like it before. Has really opened my eyes as to what/how I should be thinking and planning'

'Brilliant session for new business owners. I have gained a lot of clarity about where I'm going and what to focus on next'

Hive Collective Launch - The Fear of Freelance

We must travel in the direction of our fear - John Berryman

It was a pleasure to launch Hive Collective last week at Walthamstow’s Central Parade. We found it a real privilege to meet so many of you and hear your stories.

An incredible spread from Eat 17 as well as plenty of Prosecco set us up for a good night, as did the gorgeous flowers from London Flower Farmer. Mostly we were happy that thanks to our attendees the evening felt so warm and inclusive- which was exactly what we were aiming for. If you didn’t make it, here is a brief overview.

A Different Type of Networking

We started by asking ‘what is Hive Collective?’. Business coach Nat Harrison went on to explain that our collective came about organically when she offered some coaching tasters through Facebook which brought a number of local business women together through mutual help and skill swapping. We wondered whether we could use our skills to help others somehow- knowing that we had all faced a varied array of challenges and were in a good position to lend support and advice. Would it be possible to create a non-intimidating network to talk about these challenges as well as a fun, learning, collective environment? We realised that the idea was important.

The Collective

 Everyone on the evening’s panel faced their own challenges on their way to becoming self-employed. From confidence issues down to the actual practicalities of living with a certain amount of uncertainty, working for yourself can sometimes be a bit of a roller-coaster ride. Through our introductions and the following panel discussion we hope the audience were given a good idea of the sorts of difficulties some face, as well as some of the benefits that come your way once you push for a different type of lifestyle.

Here are some takeaways from the discussion:

Carmel King, Freelance Photographer:

‘My biggest challenge has been taking time out to have three children and maintaining my client base. After my last maternity leave I met with Nat and she helped me with a business plan to direct my work in the direction I wanted it to go, that’s how the Makers project came about which has sent me in a completely new direction, working on my own self initiated projects and working with brands to develop their visual identity and marketing material’.

Recommended reading: The Craftsman by Richard Sennett.

Emma Hammond, Freelance Social Media Manager:

‘Know your worth- everyone has something unique to offer- it took me ages to work that out. Meet people! Network and be yourself. If someone doesn't 'get' you then there will be other jobs. Read about your heroes and other business people. Listening to podcast interviews with people you admire is hugely inspiring. Learn from everyone you meet and be open to criticism. Always be kind to yourself and remember that mistakes are how you learn’.

Recommended reading: How to be Idle by Tom Hodgkinson

Sophie Richardson, Freelance Designer:

‘I fear being out of of work too long and running out of money. I sometimes fear being out of 'the game' of employment too. This makes me say yes to too much work and losing the work life balance which was ironically the point of freelancing! I was juggling a 9-5 job alongside my own business creating illustrated products for in evenings and weekends - for 5 years! I decided to go fully freelance at Easter to work more flexibly and choose projects I really enjoy’

Recommended reading:

Coming up roses by Cath Kidston

Build a business from your kitchen table by Sophie Cornish and Holly Tucker

Nat Harrison, Business Coach:

'Learning to accept that fear is a part of running your own business was a big thing for me. The way I deal with it, is by putting strategies in place to help me through those times of doubt. Support is my biggest help - I have a work buddy who is another coach and we have bi-weekly meetings to talk about our objectives for our businesses and support each other by coaching each other through tough times. I also have a supervisor who I see once a month - she is 20 years further down the line that me and is always able to offer useful tips and challenge me to step outside my comfort zone and grow. 

Recommended reading:

Feel the fear and do it anyway by Susan Jeffers

Q&A with Emma Morley

We were lucky enough to have Emma Morley, the  Founder & Creative Director of Trifle Creative along to answer our questions around the subject of fear. Trifle Creative are a bespoke design consultancy who have worked with top name brands from Moo to Coco de Mer. It was so helpful for us to hear about what difficulties Emma has faced as she created a successful business from scratch. We have included some of her tips here for you to look at.

A Note on Fear

Fear will stop you becoming the best version of yourself. Although going freelance or starting your own business must always be a calculated risk, it is important to ask yourself whether it is financial issues or a lack of self-belief that is stopping you from taking the plunge. Our brains are hardwired to resist anything that makes us uncomfortable but it is a fact that only through exposing ourselves to difficulty can we grow. Every single entrepreneur that you have read about has had to face up to themselves and make a consistent effort to improve. We are all human and have the same fears of looking stupid or failing. It is only through practice that we become better, stop feeling like an imposter and can celebrate our own uniqueness. We all have something to give to the world. What do you have to offer?

What’s next for Hive?

Our aims are as follows:

●      To create a space where business owners and freelancers can meet in a relaxed, inclusive                      atmosphere and be authentic. We don’t want to shy away from the difficult aspects of being              self-employed, but want to actively raise and discuss them and help each other to overcome              them – be it work-family balance, over-committing ourselves or never relaxing.

●      To provide personal development opportunities practically through monthly events and group          coaching brunches. We plan to invite speakers from established businesses to events and                    together we will coach and learn from each other.

●      To encourage other’s success through networking and skills swaps – to inspire our members to          tell their story- bring their business cards and marketing materials along to events and                        actively seek out people who can help them or compliment their business and to suggest                    follow-up coffees and skill swaps.

Join our mailing list to hear about our next brunch event that is coming up on July 10th. Places will be limited as this will be a smaller event.

What People Said

 'A lovely informal meeting of like minded people where thoughts that I believed were only mine to worry about were voiced by several others'

 'Lovely event, intimate, relaxed and inspiring. Looking forward to the next one'

 'Completely refreshing, different from every other business start-up event I've been too... friendly, welcoming, inclusive and genuinely useful'

 'Wonderful, inspiring and supportive group of women who are open, creating a trusting space to explore business/freelance ideas'

 'Potentially life-changing! What this space...'


We would like to say thank you to everyone who helped make the night such a huge success. Sean from Central Parade was an absolute star. Thanks also to Stow Brothers who sponsored the drinks and our goodie bags. Eat 17 provided us with the food and London Flower Farmer made the room look very pretty indeed. Thank you to Daisy, who was there on work experience and helped us to set up and took some stellar photographs.

Lastly, thank you to all those who took the first (or second!) step and came along. Every single one of you is an inspiration.