Sunday, 14 August 2022

Business networking group launches with social media talk

Business networking group launches with social media talk

THE first meeting of a new networking group for creative businesses has been hailed a success.

About 60 business women and men attended an event arranged by The Creative Duck on Monday evening at Hotel du Vin in New Street.

The group was founded by four women — Sarah Gilbert, Joanna McGinn, Nicola Nott and Henley School of Art founder Jo Harris — to help business owners learn new skills, exchange ideas and to support one another.

Guests enjoyed drinks before a talk by social media expert Aspen Weatherburn, of Albert Road, Henley, who was interviewed by BBC journalist Sophie van Brugen and then answered questions from members of the audience. Ms Weatherburn, who created the Henley Standard’s Top Dog competition, sold her dog grooming business Naughty Mutt Nice in Reading Road in February to launch Hello Henley, which helps businesses use social media to promote themselves to customers.

Mrs McGinn said she and her fellow founders were delighted with the evening. “We were overwhelmed by the response — it was a huge success,” she said. “Quite a few people came on their own and by the end people were chatting to each other and meeting other creative business owners so we were so happy with that side of it.

“The actual talk with Aspen and Sophie went really well. It was really informative and interesting and they were a great double act. People seemed to really engage with it and there were lots of questions at the end.

“It was a great atmosphere, we were buzzing afterwards. It was definitely better than expected, we never thought we’d get the number that we did. When we set it up we thought we might get 20 people. The venue was brilliant.”

The Creative Duck will hold monthly events with a mixture of talks and workshops.

Mrs McGinn explained: “We set it up because we’re creative business owners ourselves and we’re working on our own, often at home or in studios, so it’s nice to meet other people who are doing similar things. We really wanted to bring together the creative community in and around Henley. The other side of that is to share and learn knowledge. We wanted to learn these skills, such as building a website, and we thought others would want to.”

She added: “We wanted it to be a social thing, a chance to meet like-minded people but also people who might create an opportunity for you and your business.”

Its next meeting will be two workshops on July 17 and 21 where photographer Kathryn Fell will guide guests through “How to Create the Ultimate Product Shot with your Smartphone”.

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