In Collaboration With Perrier
Fear can be a funny thing. When I planned the first #YouCanSitWithUsLDN last year, my brain knew nothing of the sort. I put out a tweet asking whether people would be interested in a blogger support group and organised everything in a month. I didn’t worry about logistics or whether people would get on board with random icebreakers.
When I say I’m going to do something, I always follow through and I must have had ‘Event???’ on my to do list for the best part of 18 months. I kept changing the date as I didn’t feel ready for full-on organisation mode and ended up getting a little overwhelmed.
Thankfully Perrier got in touch when my ‘back-to-school’ mindset kicked in and asked me whether I could create something exciting around their latest launch. If you’re not familiar, it’s a French sparkling water brand that likes to get a little experimental.
I worked on their Perrier X Wild campaign earlier this year and loved getting out of my comfort zone with improvisation classes. Perrier & Juice is their latest offering, combining sparkling water with refreshing Strawberry & Kiwi, Pineapple & Mango and Peach & Cherry flavours (this was my absolute fave).
Since I’m prone to cramming my goals into the last quarter of the year, I wanted to follow through with my event and add some much-needed positivity to the blogging community. I’ve been doing this for almost ten years now and it’s really shaped me as a person.
Read on to see what happened when I brought twenty influencers together in a creative co-working space on a sunny Sunday.
Dress – Topshop, Tee – Cheap Monday, Trainers – Nike
All photos by Amber-Rose
So how exactly does a blogger support group work? Basically I didn’t have a clue prior to creating the first #YouCanSitWithUsLDN, but I wanted to incorporate icebreakers from networking events and elements of my improvisation classes.
I also had the ‘Blogger Bingo’ idea in my head for ages, so created a sheet with gems such as ‘Has participated in Twitter drama’ and ‘Owns three or more leopard print items.’ The idea was that you had to find a person who fitted with each statement and get chatting to everyone.
In terms of discussion topics, I wanted to make them pretty timely, so narrowed it down to consumerism (I was shocked about the Stacey Dooley documentary), ASA guidelines and of course, Instagram. Everyone was put into random groups to discuss the prompts for 15 minutes, before switching around.
Siobhan made some great points during the sustainability discussion, as she’s been trialling Wear The Walk, which is a service that allows you to rent clothes from emerging designers. We realised that there’s so many creative ways to cover this on our channels, whether it’s talking about temporary swaps with friends or coming up with mini-challenges.
The ASA chat was also pretty lively, with Kat as the self-appointed spokesperson and many of us frustrated with some of the guidelines. All of us were at different stages in terms of our knowledge and it’s up to us to be responsible and educate ourselves. There’s also a massive opportunity to offer more clarity to our audiences and brands too.
Of course there were plenty of photo opportunities. It helps that my coworking space Camden Collective is a bit of a pastel paradise and has disco phonebooths, Matisse-inspired murals and pink tables.
The last activity was a spot of co-mentoring, since Lucy and I have been doing our monthly meetings for over two years. I paired everyone up according to experience and got them to chat about their channels, goals and any achievements from 2018. I loved finding out about Yasmin’s interior design background and I’m so excited to see her pictures from Sierra Leone.
Lastly, we each popped a few takeaways on the wall (I’d somehow forgotten how to write my @handle at this point) and said our goodbyes. My second solo event went by without a hitch and I’d managed to turn 20 months worth of fear into action.
Organising this has definitely filled me with confidence about whether I’m doing the right thing and even my music choices (we listened to my 90s R&B playlist as it was the only credible one I have). I was daunted for ages as I’d received some great suggestions on how to improve future events but didn’t necessarily want to turn it into a conference or panel talk setup.
Now I’ve solidified the concept. #YouCanSitWithUsLDN is a cross between the blogging get-togethers that got me excited back in 2009 and an IRL Twitter chat. It’s a chance for everyone to mingle regardless of follower numbers or years of experience. There’s something beneficial about knowing the perspective of someone who’s in a completely different situation and meeting them face to face.
People are already asking me about the next event and I’m feeling ready to tackle more things on my list. Now where’s that newsletter I’ve been meaning to start…
Thanks to everyone who came!