Colour for Creatives - A Workshop with The Brand Stylist
Last week I was lucky enough to be able to attend a workshop hosted by the lovely Fiona Humberstone, otherwise known as The Brand Stylist. Fiona is the author of the hugely successful 'How To Style Your Brand', a book that seriously changed my outlook on my business and this blog, and really gave me a boot up my creatively-challenged backside. Seriously, if you feel like you need a bit of help with your blog or are just finding yourself lacking in motivation then please pick up a copy of this book!
I can't remember exactly how I first stumbled upon Fiona and her website, but I think I had seen something posted on social media which led me to her incredible blog, which is full of fantastic advice on developing your own brand the right way. She had just published her book and it was already out of stock (A great indicator as to just how helpful it is!) so I put my name on the pre-order list for the next batch and started to make my way through her blogs, eventually reading posts from workshops she'd lead before. Full of pictures from the most amazing venue, and accompanied by links to other blogs from attendees who were singing her praises I just knew I had to attend her next workshop - and luckily my business manager agreed!
Her book arrived shortly after, and after consuming it in an evening I just couldn't wait to meet the lady herself and hear her talk about her ideas and method in person. The months absolutely flew by and soon enough I was preparing my materials to bring along with me, and filling in the extensive workbook designed to get you thinking about your brand, your values and your goals before the workshop.
The workshop itself was held at the wonderful Brixton East venue, and from the moment that you were warmly greeted at the door by Fiona herself you were just totally taken in by the surroundings. I think that upon entering everyone spent the first few minutes with their phones and cameras attached to their hands, oohing, ahhing and snapping pictures of all the beautiful details and decorations. Brixton East is a beautiful venue by itself - all original floors and beams, but it had been taken to the next level by Fiona and her team through her careful choice of decorations. She showed us a moodboard she had created to design the 'feel' for the event, and had clearly wanted to create a tropical mood within the building. This was definitely achieved with the beautiful palms, botanicals and prints used to decorate the walls, and when we were taken upstairs to begin each workplace had a different tropical leaf placed upon it. Even after the course had finished at the end of the day we were taken back downstairs for some delicious cocktails and the theme continued here - with bright pink flamingos decorating each glass, and lei's and novelty sunglasses being handed out. I'll fully admit that I took my flamingo home with me to keep as a memento of the day!
I'm not going to go too much into the actual material we covered in the course - that's up to you to read Fiona's book and blog or sign up onto a course yourself. However I can safely say that Fiona was an exceptional teacher, really knows her material and had developed a really wonderful workshop programme that was designed to help you fully understand the different concepts she was discussing, and also how to apply this knowledge to your own brand. It was a full on day and I came away feeling absolutely exhausted, but so happy and inspired. The workshop had attracted a lovely crowd of creatives who had come from all over the world and who all worked in different businesses and roles. It was great to be able to hear all about each others experiences and bounce ideas off each other and it was also so helpful to be able to hear different perspectives on your own business, and gain a fresh new outlook and some new ideas. I met some really wonderful people and hope that we can all keep in touch to see where we go from now!
Fiona had really thought of every little detail and had put together some great packs for us to use on the day - an extra colour psychology pamphlet along with a note pack (that had been beautifully decorated with some brush calligraphy - I've fallen in love with the ink colour used!) and also the most beautiful sketchbook, which came at the perfect time for me. I had been to see Disney's 'Aladdin the Musical' the night before and had been lamenting the fact that I'd not brought a sketchbook with me to jot down some ideas and draw up some sketches of the show. She'd also put together a gorgeous goodie bag full of gifts from some wonderful brands, and also some colour samples which will come in so useful for future mood boarding projects.
As well as the learning, we were also treated to some wonderful nutritious dishes for elevenses and lunch. The catering had been done by Blid and Hatton, and the food that they provided was absolutely exceptional. Beautifully served on large colourful plates, the food itself was colourful, healthy and beyond delicious - even for a picky eater like me! Again I think we all whipped our phones out to take pictures of the beautiful display, and I will certainly be trying to recreate a few of these recipes at home. It was a serve yourself buffet but there was more than enough to go around, and a little detail I picked up on was the beautiful cutlery that we were provided with. Sadly I didn't think to get a picture as I was too busy tucking in but it was just another example of the level of attention and detail that had been put into the planning of this event. I tried one of the apricot eton messes for dessert and was blown away by the flavour - I was even googling recipes to recreate it on my tube journey home.
Of course, as well as Fiona herself the whole team involved need to be congratulated for the amazing hospitality they showed us all. They had created a very comfortable, relaxing and inspiring environment, and each person was so warm and welcoming. I'm a terrible networker and can be quite shy but they made me feel so welcome and at ease, offering to introduce people to each other and just generally being so open and not at all intimidating. By the time lunchtime came everyone was happily introducing themselves to each other and by cocktail hour there was a real party atmosphere - especially when the glitter cannon went off during our group shot! I'm slightly worried about what my expression will be in that - it was maybe a mistake opting to sit front and centre!
The follow up from the event was also excellent. Our final exercise for the day was a task of choosing three things that we will immediately stop doing, so as to help our branding (i.e not using black again, creating more mood boards etc) and three goals that we were going to set ourselves to move forward - for me I put finally contacting web designers for our business rebrand, a not so small task that I've really been putting off. We then had to write one of these goals, as well as a little motivating and supportive message to ourselves on a postcard which Fiona will send to us in the future. This is a great way to keep ourselves accountable, and I'm really looking forward to receiving my postcard and being able to look at what I've done and achieved since the course.
Overall, I had a wonderful experience, and I don't think I could find a single fault with the whole day. The food and refreshments and venue were just gorgeous, the team fantastic, the other attendees lovely and the host herself absolutely exceptional. I feel like I've had a real shot of creative motivation, which was much needed after a few lacklustre months! More importantly, I also feel much more confident about making changes with my brand and business. It was great to be able to speak to Fiona herself and get some advice on what we're doing right and wrong, and it's so interesting to see real business case studies and learn about how they benefited from just a few tweaks here and there. I would seriously recommend this course to anyone - and only wish that it could have gone on longer! If just one day has me writing a blog like this, then imagine how inspired and positive I would feel after two days!
I'm so excited to figure out how I'm going to put all I learnt into practice, and I think I will try and document our business' rebrand and website redesign on this blog, as this is a process that might be interesting to a few people. A huge bonus about this workshop is that it's made me feel more positive about something I was starting to feel quite anxious about. Our last website build went disastrously wrong and having poured so much time and energy into it I was feeling so burned out and reluctant to have to start the lengthy process again. I now feel rejuvenated and ready to build something bigger and better - I'm going to count the last website as a practice run, and this time going forwards I know what to expect and what to look out for. Fingers crossed that all will be ok, but thanks to Fiona I definitely have the energy and the confidence to take the lead on this project again.
A huge thank you to Fiona, Caz, Maddie, Charlotte, Katie and Stephanie - and to anyone else involved that I may have missed! You all helped to put on a spectacular event, and I don't think a single person would have gone away without feeling like their perspective on things had changed. Please do check out Fiona's own blog about the event & make sure you stick around and have a look at her incredible, motivational website with it's super branding (she knows what she's talking about!)
I hope this blog has inspired you to go out and find out more about Fiona and her work as The Brand Stylist - it's something that you won't regret!
I thought it'd be helpful to put links for all the incredible women who helped put this event together. Of course you can find Fiona at The Brand Stylist, but you should also check out Stephanie Eastwood, who helped out on the day and supplied the beautiful floral arrangements, Maddie Hatton of Blid and Hatton who I now follow on Instagram, which is incredibly dangerous as each picture she posts gives me serious food envy, Katie Spicer who took some really fantastic pictures of the day and unfortunately I couldn't find a link for Charlotte Yarwood, but she also helped out all day and was so so friendly and welcoming. A huge thank you to all these ladies, please do check them out!