16 Mar #meettheboss 001 x Famalam
So many startups and new businesses look to the internet for quick wins for social media growth or ‘how to sell more product in 3 easy steps’. I’m going to break it to you… there isn’t a tried and tested method when it comes to creating a successful brand. You know why? Because those stats and figures and algorithms are based on people. Real people who have lives and freedoms just like you and me. There are for sure, things we can learn from successful brands but just for a moment lets step back, from how many followers they have and what their ad spend is.
Discovery of People
One of my favourite things about my job is meeting super inspiring people. I have the most innovative, limitless conversations about ideas and travel and community. Wether they are looking to sell a physical product, drive traffic or advertise a service, At the end of the day the question is always the same… How can I influence people? Sustainable success is sought through the study of behavior. Discovery of target persona’s, their behavior, thoughts, and values are the core of how I approach my work with my clients.
What better way to learn about running a business than from a real person? This particular one is called Amy, and she’s a badass superhero, warrior boss who has grown a future facing, childcare project (amongst other things). Yes, she’s a mum and yes, she’s super cool.
Tell us a little about what you do…?
My name is Amy and I’m a Creative Producer and a Mom to two boys. I run a project called FAMALAM which stages engaging events spanning art, creativity and social good for children and parents navigating parenting and play in the 21st century. I am also freelance Creative Director at Impact Hub Birmingham and lead a programme called #RadicalChildcare an initiative to explore, imagine and invest in bold new possibilities for the future of childcare.
Where do you work from?
Mostly Impact Hub Birmingham – a collaborative work and events space in Digbeth, or at home.
How long have you been doing this?
I have been freelance for about 6 years but working within art, learning and social impact since I was 17 – so nearly 20 years.
I grew up in rural mid-Wales and began working within the arts at the age of 17, forming a theatre company with three other young actors to support the work of Amnesty International. The company toured a piece of devised theatre along with workshops throughout the UK to raise awareness of human rights abuses. I then went on to work with young people in care, using drama to build confidence. After studying acting at drama school in Birmingham I attended City University, London graduating with a Post Graduate Diploma in Cultural Management. I studied all aspects of Arts Management including Cultural Policy, Finance & Fundraising, Arts Management, Marketing and Participation in the Arts.
Since graduating in 2004 I have worked across the creative sector in the role of manager, producer, coordinator and promoter of learning, participatory and development programmes for artists and young people. I’ve worked with organisations; BBC, Capsule, mac, Writing West Midlands, Fierce Festival, Town Hall, Symphony Hall and Tate Liverpool
I am co-director and founder of BearHeart, a Community Interest Company with spoken word artist and writer Steven Camden and in 2015 became a fellow at Birmingham Open Media, a collaborative workspace for art, technology and science and a member of the Arts Council / Innovate UK funded Arts and Technology pilot at NearNow Studio.
What was it that sparked the idea to create your company?
Whilst on maternity leave with Theo I read a report by Nesta called – Mothers of Innovation. I found it hugely motivating, it detailed the many ways that Mothers can change the world. The report explains that socially, commercially and economically, mothers are a force for innovation around the world and explains how and why mothers make such great innovators. I also came to the realisation that my working life was never going to be the same and that now more than ever I had to find work that enabled me to spend quality time with my family and that contributed to their wellbeing. I was struck with how difficult the childcare conundrum was for everyone, most especially freelancers like me, for many, traditional childcare – a childminder or nursery setting, can prove expensive and rigid, with long waiting lists, large deposits, rigid contractual days and fees that duplicate the household mortgage or rent payment. Many people seemed to make choices about childcare based on economic reasons, not necessarily what seemed best for the child. Childcare workers are poorly paid and it is an overwhelmingly female workforce. But yet how we raise our children is potentially the most critical job within society. I saw FAMALAM as a way to engage people, children, and families in this conversation. I was invited by Impact Hub to hold a workshop within their opening DEMO B festival and that’s how #RadicalChildcare was born (excuse the pun).
Do you have a morning routine?
Ha! Staying sane. My 2nd is just 3 weeks old so at the moment I don’t know my arse from my elbow. Ask me again in 6 months. 😉
How do you get organised day to day as a working mama? Any organisation tools or techniques?
I try to keep my working self and my mom self, separate. I look after Theo on Tuesdays and we go to the farm, do some baking, some cutting and sticking or play in the garden. I attempt to not look at my emails and stay focussed on him. Now I have Remy I try to catch up on things when he is sleeping or in between feeds.
Have you ever rebranded or considered it?
Visuals are really important to me & my projects, for each project I gather inspiration on pinterest boards and work with a designer to create the project’s brand, depending on who my audience is and how I plan on reaching them.
Any secret tips for creating new brands?
Good designers! Claire Hartley, Louise Byng. Matthew Yakuzza. Daniel Blyden. Yinka Danmole.
‘Where do you go’ or ‘who do you go to’, for support and motivation?
At Impact Hub, I have finally found a team who really support me and my ideas. It really feels like a family and I feel appreciated. Some folks I really rate are….
- Immy Kaur – A complete force, with an amazing vision for Birmingham. She consistently delivers and always keeps her promises.
- Jodi Ann Bickley – Truly inspirational and a caring good friend
- Bearwood blows me away. This is the best place to live.
- The Brum soup crew are an amazing group of people who do great work.
- The alumni of NextGen artists in Birmingham, many of them based at Impact Hub and the conversations they are holding around race, gender and intersectionality, it is considered, intelligent and feels like an important moment in our local history.
- I had some great professional coaching from Wanjiku Nyachae a couple of years ago and that work still resonates with me.
- Great companies in Brum like Flatpack and BOM.
What has been the most difficult thing you have come across in running your company as a working mama?
Being present for everyone including myself. Managing everyone’s expectations of themselves and each other. Doing discipline different from how I was taught it. Getting enough sleep, drinking enough water and generally having enough lolz in between life’s ups and downs.
What do you wish you knew before you started your company?
No regrets here bab.
Do you ever outsource any of your work? (Feel free to give names here and I can tag them up 🙂 – e.g designers, developers, photographers etc)
Yep, whenever the budget will allow. I love working with other people. Yinka Danmole is one of my most top collaborators he is a creative producer and designer and he is phenomenal.
How do you achieve balance around your work schedule and family life?
I try to plan ahead and get things in the diary to look forward to. When Theo was 2 we hired a campervan and took him to Wilderness Festival. This year we’ve booked for the Goodlife Festival and an Airbnb in North Wales and we will take also the boys to Just So festival – which is a really brilliant festival for children.
What do you value most when working with other companies, freelancers + brands?
Lolz. Mutual respect. Budget. Big ideas, aspiration, and deadly production skills.
Any big launches or events coming up in your calendar we should know about?
At Impact Hub we have launched our parent membership which includes 12 hours a month of coworking and creche and an additional 2 days access to Impact Hub Birmingham for £55+vat/month. The pop-up on-site crèche facility offers free-flow creative play activities for babies (4 months and up), toddlers and preschoolers, the onsite co-working space at Impact Hub Birmingham has super fast broadband, big spacious tables, plenty of natural light, a coffee shop, PAYG printing services and areas to host meetings. It’s a childcare solution that has been 2 years in the making and was what I needed when I started #RadicalChildcare, nothing of its kind exists in Brum and I am really proud of how it’s developing and the team involved.
The thing that I am super excited about is the Children’s hub – I have some funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation to explore the feasibility of an epic multifaceted space that combines an arts programme, nursery, social enterprise and community venue focused on celebrating, supporting and championing childhood in Birmingham.
My work ‘baby’ #RadicalChildcare is maturing at a great pace and there are plenty of ways to be involved…
Read…. more about the project: Radical Childcare
Got a little longer? Read our blog An Invitation for Systems Change: #RadicalChildcare by Amy Martin & Indy Johar HERE!
Watch… Why childcare needs reinvention TEDxBrum
Join in the conversation on twitter at #RadicalChildcare
Take a look around!