Last Friday I was up at 6AM. Whilst I am a morning person, I’m not that kind of morning person. Okay, maybe I am. The early morning rise was not, however, solely for a good cup of coffee and a blog post writing session as it usually is.
I started getting ready to venture into town for an event that celebrates female entrepreneurs in fashion and in business. This was held at The Birmingham City Council House, a beautiful building in the city centre that I have admired since I moved to Birmingham without the knowledge that it’s The Birmingham City Council House. Well, I guess you learn something new everyday!
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned previously, I am always the one that arrives at the event an hour early, so I spent some time grabbing a
nother coffee nearby, before embarking on a mini photo walk around the area. (Fun mid-blog post activity: comment down below if you’re as susceptible to mercilessly capitalist coffee chains as I am!) If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you probably don’t know that I recently invested in a camera, so I was very excited to try it out for the first time!
Organised by HeadzUp Business, the event took place on the building’s first floor. I’d never been inside the Council House and it was just as stunning as you’d expect it to be. I’m certain the architects and designers of the late 19th century had an inkling that digital market was on its way so, with this in mind, they knew an Instagrammable interior would be essential.
The event itself takes place annually and is essentially made up of two sections – the first entails pop up stalls of local independent businesses looking to collaborate and sell services/products. This ranged from organisations empowering women to branding and IT agencies keen to collaborate with entrepreneurs.
One of the stalls that stood out to me is a business that offers therapy for, apparently, any kind of mental health issue. As someone who is always openminded when it comes to potential coping methods for my mental health (and some of whose readers might benefit from hearing about the service), I headed over to find out more.
The glossy leaflets with a forcibly happy and dead-behind-the-eyes ‘family’ on the front promised to help me ‘live a happier life’ or something along those lines. I didn’t want to judge them on their 80s style branding so, marketing brain aside, I asked about whether they offered therapy and support for anxiety-related disorders. This was answered with a swift ‘absolutely’, so I asked about booking a consultation – I assumed I could pop one in my diary for next week and see how it goes. The lady working at the stall told me that she’d take my details and would be in contact, though I would need a consultation first. I am informed that a consultation would cost £300.
Three hundred pounds.
£ x three hundred.
£100 x 3.
Simply put, if you want mental health support in the UK, you either wait a year for help from the NHS (don’t get me started on how underfunded and under-appreciated our National Health Service is) or you spend £300 to spend an hour finding out how many more hundreds of pounds it’s going to cost you to get help.
Thankfully, I know about Mind so it isn’t going to cost me my savings (and mental wellbeing) to gain support and advice for dealing with my mental health.
This is a bit of a tangent but I basically wanted to point out how sad it is that there are people out there who are capitalising on other people’s vulnerability and desperation. It breaks my heart so, of course, I wanted to have a rant about it.
If you or someone you know might need mental health care of any kind, I recommend visiting www.mind.org.uk – they are basically the epitome of mental health information, support and solidarity.
Back to the event!
The second part of the event, which I absolutely adored, took place around a catwalk. With a front row seat and a bottle of prosecco, which I was gifted as a thank you for my social media coverage of the day, I was definitely ready for the main stage event to start! (Sorry about the projection glare, the lighting was a bit awkward but that wasn’t going to stop me, honey).
It kicked off with a troupe of five fierce women performing Bhangra, followed by multiple panels of inspiring women who work in a range of professions. Some of my favourite quotations from the panels include:
No one hired me because I had a Chinese name on my CV when I moved to the UK, so I married an English man and got a job at Sainsbury’s.
Women need to champion each other, like a big WhatsApp group in real life.
It doesn’t matter if I’m a man or a woman, I’ve got goals and I’m going to achieve them.
We were then treated to an exclusive glimpse at the up and coming collections of local fashion designers, modelled by kick ass women!
I had the pleasure of meeting some absolutely incredible women, whose businesses and organisations I’m so excited to continue supporting as I watch them grow. I’m so lucky to have made some wonderful new friends at Friday’s event who I’m already looking forward to catching up with next week!
Thank you to HeadzUp Business for creating an empowering space for women to build each other up (and for the prosecco!).