This is a story of how being brave and stepping outside of my comfort zone has led to being the event illustrator for the In Good Company big 1st birthday party this summer!
I strongly recommend networking as a creative business. Not with suited and booted guys trying to hard-sell their gadget-thing™ in an echoey conference room with a sad cold coffee, but with vibrant, entrepreneurial women in all their colourful, sequinned jumpsuits and funky earrings, plates full of delicious food and maybe even a cheeky glass of fizz.
I can't even remember why I decided to buy my ticket to the first ever In Good Company evening event, I think I wanted to be brave (I'm not generally one to jump into situations with lots of new people) and see who was out there doing what and I had no idea how much I'd get from that decision.
Sometimes, life has a way of surprising us with unexpected opportunities and connections and I have found so many of these at the In Good Company events I've been attending for the last year. I've re-found old friends and met fabulously inspiring and joyful new friends. I've got Sarah from Bake Bake Bake catering Badibidu's Antiperfection Watercolour Workshop this summer (she was sat opposite me at the first ever event last summer), I get support and amazing ideas from new local friends with incredible contacts and recently I've created the artwork for the In Good Company big 1st birthday bash in June 2023!
Here are the 3 best things I've found about attending social and networking events for women:
1. The 'buzz'
Surrounded by a diverse group of ambitious women, I was struck by the energy, enthusiasm, and sense of welcoming camaraderie. The panel discussions are always fascinating, getting such a range of insights into different worlds and everyone's drive to make a positive difference to the world is contagious.
2. The connections
From graphic designers to event managers to chefs to social impact champions, you could see genuine connections appearing as people got really excited about hearing about each other's business. I got so much from watching this between others as well as getting tonnes of lovely people to call on for their expertise.
3. Serendipitous collaborations
It turns out that spending time with people who make things happen is inspiring and I eventually messaged the organisers and said if they ever needed artwork I'd love to help, and as fate would have it, they were looking for an illustrator for the summer birthday event!
They loved my style and felt it would be perfect for a summer celebration so they gave me the brief for the summer birthday party vibe and I went and got painting. As well as a signature messy garland of Badibidu flowers and leaves I made a few elements that we could use in all 3 items on the instagram post, the menu and the place cards to pull them together visually.
I'm so happy with how they turned out and I'll make sure that lots of photos go up on socials of the event as I'm sure it will be so much fun (if the Christmas party is anything to go by I'll need a gentle one the next day).