8 Million years later...

This is a blog about #updates, #partners, #pilots, #notlikeonesthatflyplanes, #themayor, #yesthatmayor, #TransitionLeytonstone, #support, #fear, #instastories, #AOB

Hi everyone!

So it’s been a while. Weeks, years, aeons… who’s counting? Hopefully not you, and hopefully not in some kind of terrible judgemental way. Although if that was true, maybe Our Pledge wouldn’t be for you. It’s supposed to be about positivity and forgiving and working together and… anyway, none of you guys would be judgemental. It’s not our (pledge) style.

So yes. I fell off the blog-wagon. Some life happened, it got in the way.

BUT! I’m worried that you’ll think I’ve been resting on my laurels when I very specifically in my last post determined that I was tending my laurels. I love my laurels. Laurels are my bag. Let me tell you about some recent bags of laurels? I would like that.

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Jonny Daymond : non-executive director

Me and JD.

Me and JD.

Hey y’all I’ve got me a business partner. Pard’ner. Howdy pard’ner (sorry can’t help it).

Earlier this month, my friend and mentor Jonny Daymond came on board at Our Pledge as a non-executive Director. JD’s been working with me in a consultancy capacity since June and has considerable expertise in sales and business development so he can help me be #realistic and #nottooemotional about things like #money and #thattheplanetisburning. Jonny helps me keep a level head and a level bank balance which makes him epic and necessary. Thanks Jonny!

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Stone Mini Market : pilot partner

Adrienne and Okan posing under their eco refills :)

Adrienne and Okan posing under their eco refills :)

Yes indeedy! Pilot partner. Pard’ner (not sorry). Stone Mini Market is a small 'corner shop' in Leytonstone that has been leading the field locally in becoming more environmentally aware. From household #liquidrefills and returnable milk bottles to stocking #vegan produce, the store has been gently persuading locals to change their shopping habits. They are epic and I love them! Most people who meet them do.

Indeed, they have a loyal following (11k followers on instagram) who are now in an ongoing dialogue about what else can be done. As a result, the shop has outgrown its current premises and will be moving in a few months. With that in mind, Our Pledge is working with shop owners Adrienne and Okan to identify their customer’s needs so that we can roll out our first full campaign. So watch this space 👀. And maybe while you watch it, do this survey.

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Transition Leytonstone : support partner

Transition: thoughts, emotions, action.

Transition: thoughts, emotions, action.

Hands up who’s heard of the Transition Network? Mmmhmm, yes yes, is that a hand at the back? OK that’s probably not enough of you.

Transition is ‘a movement of communities coming together to reimagine and rebuild our world’ and their principles and positivity really informed some of my thinking around Our Pledge.

So it’s been BRILLIANT to reconnect with Transition Leytonstone and gain their support for what we’re doing with Stone Mini Market. If you live in the E11 area, they are an amazing local force and resource (they run a highly successful #communityfridge for example) and are well worth a follow.

There’s more ‘space-watching’ here too as they are working on a fab e-directory concept too that I’m very excited to be involved with.

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Meeting at The Mayor’s Office

Imagine if this was your office. And you were the Mayor. That would be cool. Although loads of responsibility. But nice views. So swings and roundabouts.

Imagine if this was your office. And you were the Mayor. That would be cool. Although loads of responsibility. But nice views. So swings and roundabouts.

A couple of weeks ago, following a short pitch to Heidi Alexander at an event on #airpollution in London, I was invited in to the Mayor's office to talk to them about how Our Pledge might provide a resource for achieving their environmental goals in the long term. How #exciting! (I’m #excited).

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Consumer and business surveys : additional research and development

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Alongside all of the above, we have been constantly researching potential partners, other business models, working references and target partners. We have also rolled out (and continue to share) a consumer market research survey which is constantly informing my work as I move forward. If you haven’t done it yet, might you? I would mucho appreciate it.

AND… if you have any other thoughts, ideas, #feedback or the like, PLEASE feel free to share it. I do not know all the answers and appreciate #input. FYI input is often rewarded by #cake.

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Insta-ready

We've also rolled out a gentle series of Instagram advice and eco-wisdom that has formed a bed for future, far more involved social media and marketing. Also… though I am mighty terrified and afeared of awkwardness… I will be starting to create regular insta-stories and will be rooting the advice on the page in my own experiences and actions. www.instagram.com/ourpledgeuk. GET ON IT INSTA-PEOPLE (please) (thanks) (love you).

I’ll try not to get obsessed with contouring and that…

God I love this video by the fabulous Sailor J @SlaylerJ

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Massive congrats to our pledge’s own amy j!

The Genesis team.

The Genesis team.

Our Pledge wouldn’t be what or where it is today without the support of megastar Amy Johnson who has helped me with Our Pledge outreach and overall solid gold support since the get-go. Because she is a megastar (see above ref to ‘megastar’), she’s also only gone and produced an award-winning show at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Genesis: The Mary Shelley Play has won both BEST OVERSEAS PRODUCTION & BEST INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE, at the Derek Awards 2019.

Bloody fantastic Amy and team. Fantastic but not at all surprising (megastar).

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And that, I think folks… is that!

So take care out there and speak to you soon.

Big love to you and the world,

Rachael and the Our Pledge crew x

Three weeks in! What the - ?

A blog about: #MembersClubs #gardening #InspiringWomen #SocialMedia #Help #Advisors #BusinessPlanning #Europe #singing #WhatIsWork

Yup that’s right. 3 weeks in. Woman oh woman.

What can I say guys, it’s a bloody dream. The sun’s out, I’m working on something I absolutely love, other people enjoy it and want to help, and break times take place in my garden. I feel a bit gloat-y. SOZ! I’m definitely getting some good times BANKED for when the going gets tough. But I HAVEN’T BEEN RESTING ON MY LAURELS. No siree. I’ve been resting on my #meadowsweet #skullcap #angelika #elecampane #wormwood and #dill. In all honesty, I’m not sure if I’ve been resting on laurels. I don’t really know what they are.

Herbs! Recommended to me by Belle Benfield at  https://www.heartfeltherbs.com/ . Belle is a sesnory herbalist and life coach (and also my oldest friend). She is currently offering free advice sessions, please email her for more info! belle@heartfeltherbs.com

Herbs! Recommended to me by Belle Benfield at https://www.heartfeltherbs.com/. Belle is a sesnory herbalist and life coach (and also my oldest friend). She is currently offering free advice sessions, please email her for more info! belle@heartfeltherbs.com

Right. I looked it up. Turns out I’m pretty much all over my laurels. According to https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/rest-on-his-laurels.html “The laurels that are being referred to when someone is said to 'rest on his laurels' are the aromatically scented Laurus Nobilis trees or, more specifically, their leaves. The trees are known colloquially as Sweet Bay and are commonly grown as culinary or ornamental plants.” I don’t have any bay yet, but it’s basically a herb and well… see above.

Hmm. To be clear though, I planted all of the above and have been watering them and talking to them so I have not been resting. In fact, if anyone came along and rested on my newly planted herbs I would be #ANNOYED.

Therefore, I conclude, the past two weeks I have mostly been working on my laurels. Good.

This work has included:

MORE ENFIELD BUSINESS CENTRE INSPIRING WOMEN WORK!

Ah Geoff. Geoff Man. Geoff and Liz. And Linda and Jake.. basically everyone at Enfield Business Centre. I’m basically falling for you all as you win my affections with your #freetraining and #excellentseminars and #library and #hub and #freeparking and and and.

This week I had a double love-in as there was a seminar on pitching your business for 10 beneficiaries of the Growing Your Business course, as well as my one-to-one with Geoff. Impeccably run by Liz with genuinely useful hand outs that went far beyond the scope of simply pitching your business, this seminar was one of my most useful experiences so far. Sharing the room with me were women of all ages, backgrounds and experiences trading in: tech consultancy, domiciliary care, beauty, interior design, parenting, organic online supplements, crowd-funding (me) and nails! Pretty much a full complement for any working person.

** IF YOU KNOW A WOMAN IN BUSINESS IN LONDON PLEASE TELL HER ABOUT THIS SCHEME **

The BEST PART though was actually pitching Our Pledge to colleagues in the room and using their products and services as actual case studies for how the platform might work. Nothing beats real world examples and Jurgita (my partner for the exercises) put me through my paces talking through how we might use Our Pledge to bring her natural, organic, waste-free products to eg. Holland and Barrett. SO HANDY.

Then I had an hour session with Geoff going through my business plan with a fine tooth comb and signposting all the areas that #NeedMoreWork. Welcome to next week’s blog.

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EUROPEAN GOODNESS

Basically guys, I reckon we all agree that Europe… it’s a good thing and we shouldn’t be leaving and it’s essentially too sad to contemplate what’s happening right now. Especially when we consider that things like Enfield’s Inspiring Women programme - the only one of its kind for Women In Business - is funded by European Regional Development Fund. SIGH MASSIVE SIGH.

Also, for the first time in YEARS I watched the #EurovisionSongContest. And I loved it. I appreciated the momentary insights into fellow European nations (even though most of them were singing cookie-cutter pop songs in English…) I love watching people sing their hearts out. I loved the predictability of it (drinking game rules included drinking when: Graham said something rude, a wind machine was used, languages were swapped, there was a key change). I loved seeing Israel’s landmarks. I loved that Madonna was insane and made it political and in her bizarre way allowed room for the juxtaposition of conflict and togetherness in a world where this feels constant and unavoidable. I loved sharing a water cooler event with friends. I never normally do this I am usually years if not decades behind.

Oh I’ve totally nailed Insta-stories now. See above :)

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SPEAKING OF INSTA-STORIES

These past two weeks have been much about social media and getting some posts and things up and under my belt in advance of a soft launch of Our Pledge online. The most excellent Amy Johnson AKA Amy Meadows has been guiding me and moulding my random thoughts into an exquisite tapestry of social meedyas. It’s been a genuinely rewarding experience to consider what of meaning I want to put into the world and how to present it. Expect all sorts of tit-bits from my personal heroes, to eco tips, to recommended reading and more. You may follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and be hit in the face with all our #juicycontent from 1 June.

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SPEAKING OF WISE ADVISORS

I’ve been lucky enough this week to benefit from the wisdom of some excellent people, who are not even funded by the European Regional Development Fund. I have to give some HUGE props to Andrew Girvan of Scottie.io who spent some of his valuable time sharing ideas with me for white label crowd-funding platforms as well as how to write user stories, and just generally going through the steps towards a pilot for Our Pledge. He is a human of great generosity and goodness and I am looking forward to seeing him when I go to Edinburgh! (Where I will be to see another of Amy’s projects in full flow - Genesis: The Mary Shelley Play, as well as supporting my friends from Sedos’ Improv Group The Banana Hut Gang, and bobbing along to Charlie Perkins’ Experimental New Comedy night The Paddock). I also had a beeeeoootiful lunch with Epic Games very own Mr T, who helped me work out some big thinking strategy for the biz.

Which reminds me..

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GUYS IT WAS THE GAME OF THRONES FINALE!!!

For goodness sake, I’m surprised this wasn’t the first thing I wrote about. I’ve been talking about it with everyone (including Mr Epic which is what reminded me). So here’s the biggest news… I genuinely LOVED the finale and thought it was a satisfying and beautiful ending to this extraordinary shared experience in the guise of a TV programme. I was pleasantly surprised following the exhausting low points of the penultimate episode, but for me, the finale was a perfect circle in which stories were completed just as they must be, history was seen to be resetting as a perfect echo of its own beginning (as history so often does) and a family whose parents set the tone for the show grew through conflict, terror, life into the fullest versions of themselves. I drank (organic) rose (yes I know I don’t know why I made that choice) and sat up alone and wept.

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OH AND

I joined a Members’ Club for people who care about the planet to convene, create and collaborate: Arboretum. I can bring guests. Let’s go!

Guy and I finished writing 3 new songs that have been in the works for a while, AND booked a gig on Friday 5 July at the Luna Lounge: details here. Do come.

Alright. That’s that then. I mean thanks for reading if you’ve come this far… I’m aware I’m pretty much rambling on :)

Love ya,

Bye x

One Week In...

Morning folks.

It’s a blog about: #WorkingAlone #StartUps #SkyvingOff #NotSkyvingOff #Fear #MusicInspo #Guilt #Friends #WhatTheFuckImDoingEveryDay #DavidBowiePhilipGlass #InspiringWomen #ContactLenses

So it’s Monday morning here in Barbican Centre, my office for today. Monday morning time to start the week. Monday morning, time to write a little on this new stage.

I promised myself that I would share this ‘journey’ in case anything I learn along my way is useful to anyone else along theirs. I hope so. Things really wouldn’t have gone to plan if not. I mean, the core part of this plan is to learn. I mean, to my mind.. there is no failure if you’ve learned along the way.

So, first of all.

WTF DO I DO ALL DAY?

Several people (my mum) have asked me how I know what I’m doing now that I am working toute seule. Well, I don’t claim to #KnowWhatIAmDoing but I’ve got an idea for how to spend the hours to go in the right direction <hopes>. A lot of this comes with the clarity of having thought about Our Pledge for approx 4 years. So don’t underestimate the power of a long percolation.

Also, I’m a great believer in the power of simplicity. Things often feel complicated but when you look at them, they are not. They are simple. Simply a series of steps taken in the correct order towards a clear destination. Steps taken with the always present preparedness to change course if need be.

This week, the steps I’ve taken include:

  • registering Our Pledge at Companies House

    • luckily this was essential for inclusion on the Women In Business scheme at #EnfieldBusinessCentre so even though it felt weirdly scary and official I had no choice. I am a fan of having to do things. It helps you #GetsThingsDone

    • It was easy, it cost £12, I am the only shareholder, shares cost £1, I am not a millionaire as yet, I am however an optimist

  • booking meetings with my #FinancialAdvisor and my #Accountant. Mostly because these feel like the grown up things you are supposed to do when you are working on a #StartUp but also:

    • income protection for if I get #HitByABus (classic way to get injured)

    • business accounting requires #meetings for #professionalism. Also I really like my accountant Keith. He is reassuring, I recommend him.

  • meeting the fantabulous Christine Hooper who is the eyes and hands behind the exquisite #brand design for Our Pledge. She is also my friend. HI CHRISTINE. (She is reading this before anyone as she needs to check it before it goes live). As a result of this meeting we have:

    • created a design for a business stamp (instead of cards as this is more environmentally friendly :)

    • made letterhead for me to use as the framing for my #marketresearch #surveys

    • started working on flow diagrams for user stories on this here website so it is visually clear as well as in words #ILOVEWORDS but often times people prefer #IMAGES

  • Signed up for #QuickBooks on Christine’s recommendation

    • It is suuuper slick and I love it already it does all the things. Well done Quickbooks.

  • Written my consumer Market Research survey (1st Draft)

    • if you have volunteered to go through this with me I am coming for you

    • if you have volunteered to go through this with me thank you :)

    • I think this will be iterative the more people I talk to as I want to make sure it covers everything and generates the most useful information - both for me, and for businesses and for the world #NothingLikeAGrandGoal

INSPIRING WOMEN BUSINESS GROWTH ADVICE / FIRST INSTASTORY!!!!! <EMOJI> <FILTER> <HASHTAG>

I also had my first official meeting with my advisor from Enterprise Enfield’s Inspiring Women Business Growth Scheme. I’m so in love with this place. So much so that it was the inspiration for my first #InstaStory. Which took me AGES. Jesus, I am NOT a digital native, dudes. I had my meeting and then sat in the foyer working out how to add photos to a story and all that jazz to the point where Geoff (advisor) came out and was like ‘are you ok? You are still here’, and I was like ‘I’m trying do to an instastory’ and he was like… ‘oh’. But then he was like ‘you can get me in it if you like’ so I was like:

Geoff asked me lots of questions about Our Pledge: marketing plans, financial plans, environmental impact assessments <3 and gave me some homework:

  • this week my homework is to write my business plan into their model, which I have started but not finished and now I have a guide and someone to present it to so I am #HAPPY

  • I also get access to two seminars and 5 more hours of one to one help with Geoff

SKYVED OFF TO WATCH PHILIP GLASS’ DAVID BOWIE SYMPHONIES IN DRESS AT RFH

So, the interesting thing about working for yourself is that you’re master of your own timetable. For instance, you can spend all morning writing a blog if you want <ahem>. With that in mind, when my friend Bishi invited me to watch the dress rehearsal of Philip Glass’ David Bowie Symphonies at #RFH on Thursday, I said an immediate #YES. I went, it was beautiful, I felt very honoured. And I love BIshi’s company, so added bonus. I also discovered #AngeliqueKidjo whose voice was so rich and glorious. You can find her on Spotify and listen to her all the way home on the tube.

RFH Philip Glass 10 May 2019.jpeg

The other interesting thing about working for yourself is that you’re also master of your own #GUILT. And if you are not used to spending a few hours of an afternoon doing something lovely but not essentially ‘on point’ for your project… you may find that you feel #ATouchAnxious. Don’t worry. This will fade. Particularly if you work til 11pm that night doing the things you might have done that afternoon. It’s all a balance guys. It’s all a balance. And actually why not reverse what you do when, and catch a concert in the avo and work til late.

Actually I keep thinking about how weird it is that we work all through the daytime hours when the sun is up and the air is inviting, and that we socialise at night. I’m switching it up from now on in.

ALSO I CHANGED MY CONTACT LENSES TO BE MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY MINDFUL

Because let’s face it, daily disposable contact lenses are a fecking disgrace and I should have known better in the first place. Gonna write a separate blog about this point, but y’know. Thinking. Living. Learning.*

OK. It’s time for lunch and that’s enough of this. I’m sure there were other things, but overall it was a good week and I enjoyed myself and I’m cracking on.

Thanks for reading.

ALL OF THE LOVES

x

*PS

XR LEYTONSTONE

On the topic of the Environment, I went to the inaugural Extinction Rebellion meeting in Leyton/stone. Hosted in The Luna Lounge this humble initial meeting was really… good/warm/gently exciting! It was very much in keeping with all XR events I’ve been to, it was the model of respectfulness, passion, space, mindfulness. We even employed the XR hand signals which initially seem tiresome but are actually rather addictive <waves hands>. It was generally great to sit in a room with other people who are as concerned about the state of things and also my neighbours. More on this to follow too. I’m an XR fan so message me if you’re keen to find out more about them.