On Thursday last week I travelled all the way up to Manchester for Creatival (https://www.thecreativebusinessnetwork.com/creativalmanchester2019.html), a one day conference for creative people. It was a long day but I had a great time! Creatival started life in Exeter but launched it’s second venue in Manchester this year and was run by a collaboration between the original founder, Helen, and Megan, the founder of Curated Makers, which champions northern makers and artists (https://www.curatedmakers.co.uk/).
The conference took place in the stunning Manchester Hall. It was all on one floor and it worked really well with the room layout for each of the different sessions. As well as the plenary and workshop rooms there was also a hub for networking including a few exhibitor stands including Mollie Makes (http://www.molliemakes.com/) and Folksy (https://folksy.com/). This was also where the lunch and coffee was served during the breaks.
There was a pretty packed schedule starting at 9:00am and running until 5:45pm after which the bar opened, including one free drink! The stand out speaker of the day for me was Leona Thrift-ola (check her out on Instagram @indie_roller). She’s something of a rock star in creative industry circles, having run several businesses herself and since taken the step into supporting other independent business owners, giving guidance, advice and mentoring. She mainly talked about her new book which is coming out soon and discussed the main ideas behind it. I came away from her talk feeling like I’d really gained some valuable insight into the ins and outs of running a business, and like she was really rooting for me, even though we’ve never met! Other great speakers included Ingrid Fernandez from Dec and Dash Legal Consulting and Athena Cauley-Yu from Meticulous Ink. My only disappointments were that the workshop sessions were too short, I felt like there was still more to discuss when it ended and also that I couldn’t attend all of them. There were three workshop options but because of the way the itinerary was structured it meant that you could only choose two.
The chance to network was so great as well. There was plenty of opportunities to mingle throughout the day and I managed to speak to several people from whom I received some great advice and encouragement. It was wonderful to be amongst so many like-minded creative people and to feel that we were all there working towards the same goal, no matter what stage we were at in our journey.
The other perk of the day was the amazing swag bag we each received! It was packed full of goodies from brooches, socks and soap to notepads, magazines and discount codes. And one can never have too many tote bags!