Thursday, 15 May 2014

FAB Networking

So yesterday I had a FAB (fashion and business) networking brunch in Brighton. Being from Portsmouth this meant that I was up at the crack of dawn to arrive in time for 09:00. I don’t know why it is, maybe its just my incompetence, but something always seems to go wrong from the start- First I lost all my business cards, heading to a networking event without business cards? Yeh, not good. I managed to scrape together 13 and decided id be the cool company that got to pick and chose who was worthy of receiving my contact details. Second, I had to decipher what to wear, teetering on the very fine line of smart vs. slag; brunch is too casual for a blazer but far to early for bare legs. The third, when getting cash out for the ticket I forgot my pin number, after a few attempts at some different combinations I gave up and used my other card- but on no, I forgot that number too. Literally it was pitiful how inept I am at even the basic tasks of life. Perhaps its because this was all before 7am.

Thankfully I was saved by Kim (account manager and close companion) who was smart enough to know her PIN number, she got money for both of us and put me in the car as not to cause further harm or accidents. Then we were on our way! I had obviously thought about our road trip tunes and bought a collection of questionable CDs (I can remember that but not business cards-priorities?). It was sunny, Shaggy and Craig David were blaring and we were feeling good.

Despite the nasty traffic and a satnav that didn’t play ball we managed to arrive on time (ish). Felt fun and important picking up our name labels and instantly judged those who just had a sticky label with their name in biro- suckers clearly weren’t on the list.

hahahaha oh Kim

Then proceeded the bizarre ritual of ‘networking’. For me being ‘on form’ and in business mode for an extended period of time, or for any period of time for that matter, is quite a big ask. It’s only a matter of time before an accidental curse word or inappropriate comment slides out. I had Kim with me, thank god, who is very professional-when she wants to be, and could schmooze the fashionestas with me. There was a vast array of people but whichever douchebag chose size 12 for the nametags needs to lick a battery, it resulted in starting at someone’s chest for a solid three-five seconds before figuring out whom you were talking to.

It was all very courdual and we dotted around the place pretending to drink our too strong coffee (clearly made for adults) until we were seated for the food. It felt like trying to decide where to sit in the lunch hall, there were 3 long (very thin) tables and you had to pick quick before you were left eating in the bathroom. Kim and I went smack bang in the middle of the middle table- no better way to network than to put yourself in the center of it. I was sat opposite a nice man from a bank. The tables we extremely small which meant our knees were slightly interlocking. Thank god I went tights rather than bare legs or I could have been at risk of impregnation. I saved the potentially awkward situation with “Hi im Daisy, I work with rubbish and this feels like speed dating”. If it was speed dating then Kim got stood up. Left sat opposite an empty space until finally a lovely lady came and took on the role as white knight. She was a firecracker of a women and ended getting us some delightful Dubai connections because of it.

No zoom-we really were that close

Anyway, there were speeches and food. The guy opposite me got mentioned in one of the talks and I felt like a proud girlfriend. I did some more schmoozing giving look books to the best of the best and a lowly card to others. That’s one thing I learned- there are so many different shapes and sizes of business cards. I was there with a standard 85mm x 55mm card, while others had some circles laser cut from plastic?! I’m sorry love but I struggle getting my own cards in my purse, im going to leave your 1.5cm thick ‘card’ in a bin for safe keeping. People with a biro name badge and a normal size card must have felt truly worthless. 

It was interesting talking to other people and seeing how deeply engrained the basis of the industry is, 'Fashion' is built purely on the exploitation of others. Everyone is doing everything for free to better them selves and progress further, but when does it stop? There was a very successful designer who gave a speech- Kate Moss and Lady Gaga were just a few of the names she had created for. Yet in reality she was just me 20 years on, still broke and still fighting for more. My nametag might as well have read ‘daisy, dumpster design, still broke, still poor, give me money’.

It felt like Kim and I had run two marathons back to back and it had only just gone 11am. The event started to wind down so we stole as many goodie bags as we could (I say ‘we’, it was me, but Kim is guilty by association) and were on our way. ‘The Thong Song’ came on just as we were arriving back to the office. A perfect way to end a very interesting and informative morning I think.

Made kim take a picture of me and some beachhuts to prove i was actually there.


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