Creative Breakfast Club

Being in the creative industries can often mean working either alone or in a small team. Although this can be liberating, it does also mean that it can be difficult to get the support we all need at times from our peers.

A couple of years ago, two founders of small creative businesses (Matt Baxter and Jason Holland) decided to create an informal breakfast club – a place where people in positions of creative responsibility can talk freely about the joys and challenges of working in the creative industries.

Members of the “Creative Breakfast” club recently spoke to Design Week about why the meetings are so beneficial (behind login). Here is extract:

The Breakfast Club – Stockholm 

Jenny Theolin, creative director, Studio Theolin: “Moving to a new city can be professionally tough. Especially if you’re moving from a super buzzing mega-city (London) to one which is very creative, but not as socially active (Stockholm).

“I’ve attended the London Breakfast Club for a few years now, and it was a great chance to meet like-minded people and talk about anything and everything on a small and very personal scale. Networking in Stockholm is just that. Networking. The word itself cause social allergies and is quite unpopular. That is why I started this in Stockholm. It’s intimate. Personal. And truly inspiring!

“We have a small international crew who now regularly meet for breakfast. And this is what they think about it:”

Amelia Dale, copywriter: “I moved to Stockholm earlier this year with a suitcase full of grand ideas and very few contacts. As a creative writer with very little Swedish under my belt (yet) it is great to learn from my contemporaries about how the Swedish advertising industry differs from the London one I am used to. Without the pressures of deadlines, projects and invoicing, we’re all free to talk about topics that keep me inspired until the next meeting. And if Breaking Bad taught me anything, it is that everyone loves breakfast.”

Ramiro Oblitas, head of global design and strategy, Parasol: "We’re frequently told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It has now also actually proved to be a fittingly charming venue for sharing industry secrets, getting inspired from professional peers, discussing unborn ideas on world domination to improving your social skills to getting involved and improving that network of yours. Having relocated back to Stockholm after 15 years of residing in great metropolitan cities like London, New York, Barcelona and Rio de Janeiro, this is a sharing ideas moment I very much welcome.”

Daniel Mair, creative consultant: ”Even though I was born in Stockholm, most of my professional training and work references are from my time in London. Our breakfasts provide a much-needed place to share experiences and ideas with like-minded people from various backgrounds. The only thing missing is a proper fry-up…”

Start your own Creative Breakfast (taken from our website)

Below we share the simple outline of how the breakfast club was started, in the hope that we might see other breakfast clubs being formed.

1. Be selective

Our breakfast club was started by two people (Matt Baxter and Jason Holland) who each invited one person along to the first breakfast. These two invited people then invited a person each themselves, who then invited a person each, bringing the numbers up to eight by breakfast three. This ensures the group is made up of people who probably all don't know each other already

2. Keep it small

The temptation might be to invite all of your creative chums. Resist. Creative Breakfasts are by their nature small – any more than eight and you'll struggle to fit round a dinner table and hear everyone speak. Keep it small and you can get to know everyone and begin to understand their businesses and their challenges. And maybe even help them out.

4. Embrace change

Due to changing work commitments or geographical moves people sometimes do leave. Although a shame this is a way to keep the group and the discussions fresh, with new ideas and approaches being brought to the table. Our club has already seen changes, and has spawned a new breakfast club in Stockholm and one starting soon in Brighton.

5. Find a home

All great meetings of minds need a great venue. Churchill had his war rooms. Tony and Gordon had Granita. The Rebel Alliance had the moon of Yavin. You'll need one too. Choose somewhere handy for all attendees (as far as is practical), somewhere that does great breakfast, and somewhere you can hear each other speak. It's all about the chat, after all. And the eggs.

6. Up and at'em

These gatherings are attended by creative business owners: busy people with businesses to run. An 8am start, an hour of chatting and eating and then off to work usually works for everyone. It also avoids the potential pitfalls of meeting up in after work for a 'quick drink' (one of those pitfalls being a sore head the next morning).

7. Pass it on

If one of you can't make the arranged Creative Breakfast – the looming presentation is a frequent reason to bail – nominate a super-sub. Someone who you like, trust and think will contribute something to the conversation in your absence.

Now go forth and scramble!

Spread the word
The original Creative Breakfast Club members: Jason Holland (Underwired), Matt Baxter (Baxter & Bailey), Jamie Readon (Big Evil Robots), Paul Bailey (1977 Design & Brand Consultancy), Tim Dobbs, Emma Taylor (Creative Advice Network), Jenny Theolin (Studio Theolin)

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