CN: Through the eyes of... is a series of blog posts written by members of the Concept North community. We wanted to see what Concept North looks like from the other side; to look at our meet-ups through the eyes of our guests and to hear their thoughts and experiences. Next up, we've got Jenny Hill from Ingo Interiors!
A previous Set Designer for the hit soap Hollyoaks, Jenny Hill is the Founder & Director of ingo interiors, a successful commercial interior design studio, specialising in agile & flexible working office schemes. Jenny's designs aim to improve the overall wellbeing of staff with the added benefits of increasing the efficiency & productivity of the company involved. This approach won ingo interiors an award at last December's Mixology North Awards.
Traditional Networking vs. Concept North
Round One - Free Booze!
I for one, have always enjoyed being invited to an event for the launch of a new product whilst being enticed there with free food and drink!! You can go straight from work, learn more about the company/product, relax with a glass of wine, get your tea and there's no washing up....what's not to like?!
However, I can get as many as 2 or 3 invites a week, and even a few of these a month can play havoc with a healthy work/life balance.
That's where Concept North come into their own. They invite a few companies to Sponsor & Showcase at their events; which means you can condense your product/company knowledge into one evening instead of 3, whilst still having that all important glass (or 2!).
Round Two - Connections
Anyone else been to those open to all 'mass mingle' networking style events? Sounds good on paper..imagine how many contacts & collaboration opportunities there might be. Wrong Jenny! How many times do these events hold such promise but end with 5 designers huddled in one corner trying to avoid the eyes of 50 sales reps all trying to give us a sales pitch and their business cards?!
What Concept North excel in is making sure there is not only a unique balance of Industry Designers/ Architects/ Specifiers AND Manufactuers/ Suppliers; but also just interesting people! This insures you meet a wide selection of like minded individuals and you find yourself wanting to know more about each other, rather than what is being 'sold' or even trying to avoid them! You can always arrange a follow up coffee to 'talk shop' once a meaningful connection has been made!
Round Three - Experts
Politics has made the word 'Expert' a dirty word, but I'm a sucker for the promise of a good talk from an Industry Expert at an event. Even after 5 years as a Set Designer & 12 years as a Commercial Interior Designer, I still want to learn from others..must be having 3 parents that were teachers!
But don't you find that sometimes we get talked at for quite a long length of time?...And through no fault of the Speaker's own, having just started to switch off from work for the 1st time that day, our minds start drifting and our attentions drop.
Concept North take a different approach, posing questions to the Guest Speakers that keep you engaged, encourage discussion and more often than not, harbour a humility and humour that is missing in a more traditional set up. At the last event, I didn't want the Q&A talk to end!
Winner - Concept North!
Concept North's Events offer a new way of networking that leaves the era of hard sales in suits behind and creates a warm, inviting, professional and successful opportunity to make connections, meet interesting people and have a great night out at the same time!
Is it worth going...yes, every time!!
If you would like to join us, come along to our November meet-up in Manchester! You can find you ticket here.
If you'd like to keep in touch with Jenny...