The Oxford Collective Launch!
We did it! The Oxford Collective launched last week, and Krista and I couldn't be happier.
When we first launched our businesses, we were on the look out for a community of business owners, freelancers and creatives like ourselves, but there was nothing out there that felt like the right vibe for us. So we set about creating an event that the two of us would like to go to ourselves! It needed to be laid back, in a unique venue, with food and drink to promote great conversation. How can people be expected to be their best, effervescent selves if they are starving?! We wanted to throw the usual format of tepid wine, sad bowls of crisps, clammy handshakes and small talk out the window, and create a space that is more 'play' than 'work' and designed to promote creative and progressive conversations.
It was an easy decision choosing Tap Social Movement as our venue, Not only do they brew their own delicious beer on site, they are also a social enterprise at the hub of the community. They train and hire people out of the criminal justice system while they are on day release as part of their wider rehabilitation when they get out. I love supporting businesses that are also social ventures, so that one was a no brainer. As we didn't know how many tickets we were going to sell for the first event, it was also important to find a venue that was stretchy. The maximum capacity at Tap is 300 people (so no chance of overselling!) but if we had only sold 10 tickets, we could have created an intimate space on the ground floor with a 'living room' feel. Either size would still have brought value to those attending, which is what we are all about!
Within half an hour, the room was buzzing with introductions, connections and laughter (oh-so-much laughter, my cheeks were killing me by the end of the night!
Krista came through with the worlds most 'grammable grazing table, and we has music from the incredible Devon Mayson. She has the voice of an angel, and the sass of Jonathan from Queer Eye.
The future is bright for The Oxford Collective! We will be running 4 events per year, with the next one being in September. Details will be announced over the next month or so. Anyone who books a ticket to one of our events automatically gets invited to join our Facebook group, where we can continue conversations and connect for advice, co-working and coffee dates! We also use this as a space to celebrate our wins each week, in whatever form they take. In the absence of a congratulatory high five over the board room table, The Collective Facebook group acts as a virtual hug.
Thank you to everyone who had a part in making this event happen, however small. Thank you to Charlie for building our frame, Tess for having us at Tap, Pauline for coming to help welcome people in, and countless others. Thank you to those who came, and those who didn't but are already chasing me for details of the next one! The messages of kindness after the event have been wonderful.