Happy New Year!! I know, I KNOW it’s FEBRUARY…. but I’m assuming everyone has spent the past month hibernating, watching Netflix and avoiding human interaction… whether it be down to sickness, no booze, the fact it’s bloody freezing or just because January is a nice excuse to be anti-social…
I completely lost my voice for the first couple of weeks of this year and I took it as a sign to take it SLOOOW. I decided not to worry about “not showing up”, not to worry about not having planned my year ahead, not to worry about the fact I hadn’t written a blog post in over a month… I mean January’s a practice month anyway right?
I feel like the year didn’t really start until a couple of weeks ago when I spent a day in Margate with my Indie Roller buddies, and I’ve been itching to write about it ever since, but you know, life. And Instagram challenges. And my day job. And Netflix. And Marie Kondo-ing our house. Before I tell you about our lovely day, I should explain what Indie Roller is, and why it has had such a huge impact on my life.
The Rollercoaster of Running an Indie Business (or Indie Roller for short) is a membership group set up by the brilliant Leona from Lucky Dip Club. Leona has made a career of creating innovative, colourful businesses that have inspired very loyal followers. I should know, I am one; I’ve followed her career from jewellery maker to vintage thrifter to subscription box innovator and now to her latest venture… a community of independent business owners.
It’s human nature to want to BELONG, to be part of a community of like-minded people. Throughout your life you become friends with people through proximity, you sit next to them at school, at university, at work. I have ended up with an incredibly interesting and diverse group of friends with wide ranging interests and passions, but at the same time I never really felt like I had met my “community”. Until last year.
I have known Leona for over a decade, I bought Lady Luck Rules Ok jewellery when I had NO money in my twenties, I bought a ridiculous amount of vintage goodies from Thriftola to fill up my tiny flat, and a few years ago I became a member of the Lucky Dip Club Facebook group, a community centred around BEING YOURSELF and a love of everything Leona’s Lucky Dip boxes stood for: colour, collaboration and championing small businesses. Everything in the box was designed by Leona or a fellow indie business or designer maker.
At the end of 2017 Leona held a seminar/workshop entitled The Rollercoaster of Running an Indie Business for those of us in the Facebook group and her followers on Instagram. Leona talked honestly about her life as an entrepreneur and we all shared our hopes and fears surrounding our indie businesses. I had just spent a year planning (and recovering from) my wedding, so I reeaaally needed a kick up the bum to get started again.
2018 was about getting to know and supporting other indie biz owners and designers makers, about having a safe space to talk about our problems (professional & personal), learning to work ON our businesses, and hearing advice from experts, but also learning to trust our OWN instincts and experience (OMG if you haven’t read Playing Big by Tara Mohr DO IT NOW. Seriously, stop reading this, and go buy it AT ONCE. It will change your life)
One of the reasons Indie Roller is so successful is because, while we don’t all hold the same beliefs, or interests, or even tastes, we all believe in community, independence, creativity and (for the most part) COLOUR. Unsurprisingly most of the members are also part of the ultimate colourful girl gang, In Colourful Company.
Being a part of Indie Roller has helped me discover my own brand and given me the confidence to put myself out there (hello new blog!) On Instagram I used to feel like I was shouting into a void and never would have had the confidence to message someone I hadn’t met. Now it feels like a friendly place where I can connect with other colour lovers, makers, and customers. I have INTERNET FRIENDS NOW GUYS. And they’re all bloody lovely. The REAL fun though comes when we meet up in person and put faces to those all names and businesses…
A cornucopia of polychromatic delights, Dreamland Margate was the a perfect place for our first meet up of the year. Margate met me with sunshine and blue skies (it was Blue Monday after all), I bumped into a couple of friendly faces and we headed towards Dreamland. The day started off with warming cups of tea and tasty biscuits, greeting new pals, and admiring each others colourful outfits (half of us came dressed as 90s children’s tv presenters…) This is networking, but not as you know it.
We spent a couple of hours, in small intimate groups, discussing our ambitions for the year, brainstorming ways to overcome obstacles, and visualising how to reach our goals through planning. Afterwards we lived out our 70s roller disco dreams at the roller rink… I hadn’t roller-skated for decades *insert terrified emoji*, so I clung to the sides like a toddler…. It didn’t stop me staying on till the end though!
Next up was a stop off at the, less scary but just as colourful, Little Bit, a fab little shop selling many Indie Roller wares run by the lovely Polly, and Big Bit, her rainbow air bnb of DREAMS. There was much cooing over Dude, the resident cockerpoo and Peanut the pug before we headed to the pub and finally to Great British Pizza for wine, neon and, surprisingly, pizza.
INDIE BIZ DREAMS (ARE MADE OF THIS)
I left feeling motivated, excited and INSPIRED to tackle the year ahead. There’s nothing like the power of community and colour to get your mojo back!