If you've been feeling isolated and looking to escape the home office, then a new co-working space in Brighton might just be the solution. One Girl Band is for women who work for themselves, and has been set up by Lola Hoad – a local letterer, designer and small business mentor.
She started LH Design, a small design studio, in 2014 when she was 19, and launched One Girl Band when she got fed up with working from home. Aside from being a space, OGB is also a community which regularly holds events and talks. We spoke to Lola about her venture.
Tell us more about this new space. Why did you create it?
It's a space where women can come and work from somewhere other than their spare room, kitchen table or local cafe, and surround themselves with like-minded people who are in the same boat on this journey of self-employment.
I started OGB as a collective in 2015 when I had been in business for a year, and started feeling a bit isolated and lonely. When you run your own business with no team members, you can spend days not having uttered a word to any other human, and you start to crave having some 'colleagues'.
The number of women I met on social media who were feeling the same was huge, and I knew I needed to get these bad-ass females in the same room, in real life, and together. So, I hosted a meet up in a tiny restaurant in Brighton and now we have monthly meet-ups and events, and we offer mentoring services and we have such a great community of female-identifying entrepreneurs.
I’ve wanted to open up a female-only co-working space for so, so long, but because of rates and rents in Brighton, I didn’t think it would ever be a reality. Then, I came across the space we’re in now, and I just had to go for it. It's a risk, but I knew it was very much needed after hearing lots of our members desiring it, so I went for it.
What can people expect?
It’s on the wonderful Vine Street in the North Laine of Brighton, so right in the centre. It's spacious and light, with two huge windows that the sun streams through in the morning, creating a lovely calm atmosphere. It’s all white walls and grey concrete floors (this was a big factor for me taking the space on).
We’ve consciously decided to keep decoration/equipment fairly minimal so people can put their own stamp on their desks, and create an environment where they feel comfortable and at home. All the desks are white with trestles legs, and we’ve got a smattering of house plants and beautiful prints everywhere, as well as a bookcase that's full of books and magazines by, and for ,women in business.
As much as it's about giving females a comfortable, productive environment, it's also a place for them to create relationships that will help grow their ventures. For instance, you could be a freelance PR, and another member could be a clothes designer that needs some help with her press. With you working together, you've both progressed and grown your businesses.
It's all about community over competition, focusing on how we can support each other rather than just ourselves. There's also that feeling of sisterhood, of helping another woman, which I think we're all craving and needing more of. We're all about community over competition – making sure we're helping each other rather than just ourselves, so it’s a lovely environment to work in.
Describe the local creative scene
Brighton is as creative as you’d expect. There are lots of opportunities to be creative and to meet other creatives, so I can see why we’ve got a very high number of self-employed people living here. Brighton is fairly small though, so there will always be overlaps into different communities, which I love.
One Girl Band is just one of the collectives about town – there are lots of others specialising in crafts, DIY, digital, SEO, the whole lot! I feel very lucky to live here and have a great circle of people around.
Have you any favourite accessories, furniture or corners of your space?
My favourite corner is definitely where the sofa and bookcase is. The light is beautiful, the grey from the sofa and the pink from the cushions makes my designer heart sing, and the print which hangs above, the Anthony Burrill 'Work Hard and Be Nice To People', just completes it. It's a pretty special piece of art to me (I've had it since I first started my business), and it just encapsulates the mood of the space.