Not a lot of people know this, but Heart & Sole actually began life over a few beers in the pub.
It’s one of those time-honoured traditions I suppose; after a long day’s graft, a bit of brainstorming with a pint at hand makes for a fantastic method of unearthing new possibilities and opportunities, and you never quite know where things will end up, which adds to the excitement of it all. For many of us, this is how some truly great ideas have been born, and long may it continue.
Tom and I had been up to London for a client meeting in the sweltering heat of a July day, the city firmly in the grip of Wimbledon fever, and we literally couldn’t wait to get back to the quiet seclusion of the garden of one of our favourite watering holes to talk in more depth about a concept we had discussed on the way up to town earlier. As far as Heart & Sole is concerned, everything that has happened since, stemmed from these few hours.
Consequently, it seemed only natural to return to the scene of the proverbial crime, and host our first monthly meetup outside of Portsmouth at the selfsame boozer; the George and Dragon, with its auspicious position on the leafy city of Chichester’s North Street. Something of a case of coming back to one’s roots, and history repeating itself – in the nicest possible way of course.
If truth be told, Chichester, is in many ways, Heart & Sole’s spritual home, given that the co-founders are both based there; Tom and myself have studied, taught and worked in West Sussex’s fair county town for as long as we can both remember.
Fortuitously, the past few years have also seen a tremendous explosion in the number of digital agencies and freelancers calling the city and its surrounding area home, so this made the decision to host a meetup there something of a no-brainer.
We felt the decent thing would be to treat our guests to a few drinks on the house
The first thing was to settle on a date, and once we’d decided to go for March 31, the next task at hand was to get the word out there and keep everything crossed for a respectable turnout on the night. Having been incredibly impressed with the rather awesome Eventbrite system when we were promoting the launch event at the Spinnaker Tower, our chosen M.O. was to harness its power and ascertain the potential number of attendees by setting up a “free” event and asking interested parties to sign up for “tickets” beforehand.
This carnage has been brought to you by Campaign Monitor
Seeing that the evening was to be held in a pub (and one with a very well-stocked bar and killer cocktail list at that!), we felt the decent thing would be to treat our guests to a few drinks on the house as a way of thanking them for taking the time to come over and shoot the breeze with like-minded individuals.
This is where our old friends at Campaign Monitor stepped in, and we were blown away by their unbelievably generous offer to put a few hundred quid behind the bar for the purpose of keeping the wheels of conversation well and truly lubricated. Tom and I also chipped in to keep the party going, and if the photos are anything to go by, the empties quickly started to stack up along the tops of the tables and the bar itself; perhaps the fact that there was a 2 for 1 offer on cocktails that night had something to do with it!
The evening itself was a phenomenal success, with around 50 local heroes of design and development descending on the George and getting stuck in. The student community was represented by some of the guys (and gals) from Chichester College and Portsmouth University, and a goodly number of agencies sent their crews along, including Strawberry Soup, A451 Search Marketing, MindWorks and D3R. Freelancers were also very much in evidence, and overall, the mix of individuals and expertise made for a thrilling combination. Good times indeed!
If you couldn’t make it along on the night, don’t worry as we’ll be doing plenty more in the way of regular meetups alongside our larger events, so do keep an eye out for more details about when and where these will be taking place. You can always see the photographic evidence on our Flickr photostream too!