Bench & Friends
So I finally got some time to breath and tell you a little bit about what I’ve been up to recently. #newbaby #newjob #etc.
As some of you may know, few months ago I went my own way and founded Bench & Friends. What started initially as a tax evasion (read: optimisation) exercise – (going freelance, my accountant advised me to set up a limited company rather than go as ‘self employed’) – is turning into something quite exciting.
I’m still working on the visual identity, proposition and all that jazz (for example I’m looking at a much nicer word to say consultant – any help is appreciated). But wanted to share a bit of what’s going on. What I most like about it is that since I started it, I’ve met so many great people and surprising, exciting (read: awesome) things ‘just’ happened – pretty much the story of my life since I arrived to London 10 years ago.
So, what’s in a name?
As most of you readers of this blog know I’m continually excited by the possibility of the web to redefine relationships in different human, social contexts. First and formost between people but not least between people and politics, people and objects, education and of course, between people and brands. Extending and strengthening relationships that already exist, and allowing the creation of new ones is what makes me tick. I really believe that there is an opportunity to create real value out of those relationships as well as to make them easier and more rewarding (and, increasingly to extend from the physical to the digital and back again).
Hence the Bench. I really like the idea of Bench as a metaphwoar to the broad range of relationships people can have with brands today. Just as a bench as an object can have broad range of relationships with people – from the pensioner who comes everyday at 10am sharp to read the paper, or a weekly meeting spot for a bunch of yummy mummies, half hour sun basking for a tourist, to a drunken late night snog (to name but a few) – brands today have the opportunity to form broad range of relationships with people. So my creative solutions shop/consultancy is all about ideas and communications that create and optimise the right type of relationship brand X can have with people, be that a long term meaningful relationships, one-off awesomeness and everything in between.
Why & Friends you ask? Well, Just by looking at the current five or so projects I’m involved with, two themes become apparent. For one, in every project I’m involved with I’m occupying a slightly different role and space. Sometimes my role is more of a classic freelancer, joining an agency to work on a brief. In other cases, like my recent most exciting work with Divine Chocolate I lead a big project and invite other people to collaborate. But more importantly, every project I’ve been involved with so far has been initiated through friendship – it’s either friends calling me to help, friends recommending me to others, or me inviting friends to collaborate on a project (or both). I feel very fortunate that my working life is reliant on friendships. So the & friends meant to work here both literally as well as suggest an alternative business (as well as work/life) model – one which is less about an agency with permanent staff, and more about the fluidity and dynamics of networks of friends & colleagues, gathering a team with complementary skills around a specific project and when this is done, everyones moving on to something else.
Finally, the other great thing about my new venture is that it allows me to do other things I couldn’t before, like having more teaching gigs, helping non-profits and spending more time with my family.
Bench & Friends visual identity and site coming soon – ping me if you want to help me on that.