The INF9RMER Newsletter is matt-iculously crafted, lovingly nurtured, marinated in enthusiasm and cooked at 200℃ for 15 minutes, by PLATF9RM's Membership Assistant Matt. If you have any exciting upcoming projects within your company, would like to let everyone know how your business is progressing in some way, or have a future event coming up - then feel free to email Matt, drop him a message on Slack or come find him in person for a quick chat.

The Vlog Academy, Virtual Reality and a Video about Ethical Sustainability

International Women's month is important to us all, especially to our members. Sarah Bagg guides us straight into the first section of this month's INF9RMER, sharing her female focused Artists Open House. Scott Sale's Hen party haven was given the limelight it deserves whilst PLATF9RM Hove Ground Floor's newest member Wendy Dolan, treated us all to a podcast she guest starred on last week; ranging from her New Orleans inspired playlist to life as an overseas entrepeneur.

Offworld Industries' Tristan Mills told us all about Squad's goals, sharing an insight into about his life alongside his work as a environmental digital artist. We tightened up our running boots (prematurely as it may be...) as Claire Jenkins let us in on an early bird discounted entrance fee for Brighton's oldest 10k run.

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SuPR-man Mike Marquiss explained how his company Decoded Comms stands aside from the rest as it continues to grow entering his second year of freelance work, whilst Vlogging pro Mi Elfverson fills PLATF9RM members in on the benefits The Vlog Academy courses can provide for companies.

PALA's ethical genius John Pritchard yet again found himself an exciting addition to the INF9RMER Newsletter as he presented his video which tells the bigger story behind his glasses cases. Finally, Tower Point's touring twosome Roxy and Jerome of Coglode take a pit stop from their UX trip to invite PLATF9RM members along to their talk at UX London - with a discounted entrance code!

Thank you to everyone who put in the time to offer news for this month's INF9RMER, if you have something you would like to include for April then contact Membership Assistant Matt.

Member of the Week - Angela Brightwell

Introducing Angela Brightwell; Cofounder of Brighton Food Tours, writer and owner of Bubs the dog.

HELLO ANGELA, What made you want to begin Brighton Food Tours?

A friend of mine Cat and I started it together because we really love Brighton. We are really passionate and proud of Brighton's independent spirit and its exploding food & drinks scene. We wanted to spread the message that if we don't support and celebrate independent Brighton businesses they won't be there in 5 years. We have very strong values and it comes across in everything we do; we have been known to confiscate one or two punters’ Starbucks coffee on a tour, but by the end of their time with us, people are usually really inspired and fired up to support local businesses.

What made you decide to make it a walking tour rather than just picking one spot or facilitating a supper club?

I think because we have got such a huge range of independent food and drink hot spots, makers, producers, pop-ups, creators etc. We aim to showcase as many places as we can in our tours. We want them to have an experience that surprises and delights, which is why we call our tours a smorgasbord experience; it’s a real variety of different experiences in one.

Brighton for us is eclectic, it lends itself really well to a walking tour format - we can cover as many as 6-8 food or drink experiences in one tour. We also like to not tell people where they’re going, we call it a magical mystery food adventure! We love to include hidden gems that everybody should know about.


What has been a highlight of running Brighton Food Tours so far?

Without a doubt, it is the sense of connection with Brighton I now have. I’ve lived here for 6 years, and more than anywhere else I’ve ever lived I feel at home. Meeting such incredible people through my work has helped me feel a connection to the beating heart of the city.

Also, having the majority of the punters on the tours being local to Brighton is an absolute joy; they say it helps them fall back in love with their city which is a fantastic feeling. They’ll be the ones going back to the businesses and keeping them alive.

What initially drew you to PLATF9RM?

Dogs. Also having space where you get away from home where you can get in your own head, to being surrounded by lovely people is a plus. It’s relaxed, everyone's creative, friendly and open but still professional... Plus there are about 50 different ways of making coffee here. The dog-friendly part was a clincher though.

Do you have a favourite spot to sit in at Tower Point?

The cubby holes, the booths. I feel like I’m in a little creative shed.

Have Brighton Food Tours been to any events and are you looking forward to any coming up?

We just did a talk here the other week, T-Shaped Talks, where we spoke about local community and values, was really good fun. I’m looking forward to joining the next social and I fancy going to the next Cereal Filler.

I’m sure this a question you get asked a lot, but, what are some of your favourite eating spots in Brighton?

It all depends, there are so many variables; what’s your price, what mood are you in, do you want somewhere fancy pants, or somewhere relaxed? Off the top of my head, if you’re wanting to go fancy pants but still feel relaxed then Little Fish Market is absolutely amazing. It’s not cheap but totally worth it. For lunchtime, head to Happy Maki, I’m totally addicted. Curry Leaf cafe. Baby Bao at The Pond. And I can’t wait to go up to the Hampton who have the new Easy Tiger kitchen, it’s the same people that run the pond. Plateau as well - they do amazing cocktails. There’s so many!

What would you say is your guilty pleasure?

I suppose, naff 80’s music? I can't get enough of disco. Although I don't think it’s that guilty, to be honest. And watching First Dates on the telly.

Do you have any favourite ‘That’s so Brighton’ moments?

There’s not a tour that goes by where you don't pass someone on roller skates dressed as a GI Jane or something equally as strange… A hippy at a bus stop with a dog on a piece of string… Whatever it is, there’s always something.

Thank you Angela!

If you want to be a member at our space, get in touch for a tour and trial.

Balance Is Better: How Small Companies Can Close Their Gender Pay Gap

Despite an increased discourse around women’s rights, our world is off-kilter. The theme for 2019’s International Women’s Day is ‘Balance for Better’ and it will highlight the benefits of a society that encourages balance and diversity: from its boardrooms to its sports teams, its media and its governments.

The gender pay gap is a totemic indicator of our unbalanced culture. In the UK it is around 20% across sectors, with the World Economic Forum predicting it will take 217 years to close the global gender pay gap. Dr Zara Nanu is the CEO of Gapsquare, a tech company that analyses companies’ gender pay gaps, then offers pragmatic steps to fix them. Since forming Gapsquare in 2015 she’s analysed over 270,000 employees’ salaries and worked with the likes of Vodafone, Condé Nast and Greater London Authority. We called her to discuss how small companies can take an axe to their gender pay gap. (Or, better still, stop one developing in the first place).

Hey Zara. Why are small companies so important in the battle against the gender pay gap?

Smaller companies are in a unique position because they can set the tone. Larger companies take years and years to make a change. Small companies can change things quickly and I think the success in eliminating inequality in work will come from SMEs. They’re smaller, more agile and have real opportunities to make changes. It’s about developing strategies that create inclusivity and diversity, about being more aware and transparent.

What are the benefits of making all your salaries transparent?

News travels fast about salaries, especially for small companies. People looking for jobs are increasingly checking out Glassdoor to see how much companies are paying. It’s very easy to find out how much others are being paid.

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A good move would be to stop specifying ranges in salary. So a company might be advertising for a management role and say that the salary will be “between twenty-five thousand pounds and thirty thousand pounds, depending on experience”. But what normally happens is you get more men at the top end pushing it up, and more women at the bottom end, accepting the lower amount.

Should we stop asking people about their previous salary? Nine American states have now banned this practice.

Yes, this is an easy move. When you ask someone their salary, you’re more likely to offer them something along similar lines, but with a small increase. There’s a higher chance of this negatively affecting women because they historically have lower pay.

The issue of childcare is central to many people’s ideas around pay. What about offering shared parental leave, like Sweden?

This would make a huge difference – in Sweden, the uptake for parental leave is high for both parents. But it’s taken them 30 years to get there because it takes a cultural change. It’s relatively easy to alter company policy – you know, change the document and say everyone is entitled to parental leave. But in practice, what we’ve heard, is that men asking for this leave can have their ambition being questioned. So it’s about changing the way we view parental leave and our attitudes towards it.

What about subsidised childcare?

Absolutely. Subsidised childcare seems like a big ask because we’re thinking like a business owner and it’s an additional cost. But if you look at the increased financial return of that person, it will outweigh the cost. Superficially it looks too costly, but it makes financial business sense.

How can we attract more women at the point of entry?

A lot of jobs – say something in construction – are perceived to be suitable for certain types of characteristics. Perhaps ones we historically associate with males. It’s about rethinking how we hire people and the processes within that. We recommend that hiring happens without knowing names, ethnic background, or even the university they attended. These can all influence decision-making.

What would you suggest for a company that’s getting a high percentage of men applying for a role?

There’s a free app called Gender Decoder. You run your new role through it and it will tell you if it has a male-male-dominated language or a female-dominated language. You can then change to make sure it’s neutral, or if you wanted to make it more orientated towards women, you can do that. It’s free. That’s the easiest thing for small companies.

If you want to ensure you’re tracking your gender pay gap from the start, Gapsquare have free online tools for small companies.

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And how can companies ensure there are more women progressing into the more senior roles?

Research is showing that if you have a shortlist of four for a role, it’s not enough to just interview one woman. You need a 50/50 shortlist.

Although these changes are obviously positive from a societal point of view, some owners might find them hard to comprehend. What are the business benefits?

There’s a lot of research that says people who work flexibly and fewer hours tend to be more productive. People who work in a transparent environment tend to be more productive. And people who work in more diverse groups usually generate more return for the company.

And what can individuals do? A freelancer, for instance?

It’s about being aware of the importance of these issues. If you want to grow your business and eventually support a team and their work, then you need to be aware of diversity and inclusivity from day one. Because it gets to a point where culture becomes entrenched in an organisation. It’s then much harder to change.

We agree! Thanks, Zara.

Check out Gapsquare here

Stay head-happy with these other PLATF9RM blogs

Read about the amazing women that affected PLAT9RM members’ lives

How to be freelance and maintain a happy relationship with social media

How to combat business stress with physical movement

Member of the Week - Heidi Joyce

Introducing Heidi Joyce; Garden Designer, good old fashioned gardener, project manager and tea maker.

Hello Heidi, so where did your love of gardening come from?

I would say it came from my grandmother. We have the same taste in plants, she passed away when I was eight, but my mother has shown me images of the plants she would use and they are the same ones that I’m drawn to.

It says on your website you spent 10 years as a teacher. Did you always feel gardening was your calling even during this time?

No, I experienced a bereavement and I just got out in the garden and started digging. I burnt out with the teaching and I didn't know what else to do so turned to gardening. It started small with a spade and a pair of secateurs and it grew from there (pun intended).

Was there a particular moment or event that convinced you to stop teaching and make it your full-time career?


There were two: one was doing a course with a guy called Fergus Garrett 12 years ago at Great Dixter and the other was sitting in the back of a potting shed in Stamner Park planting seedlings and I just thought, actually I like doing this, this is me, sorted, box ticked.

Did you grow up in the countryside and did this inspire your love of all things horticultural?

No, I grew up in cities, London amongst other places. But I’d say that as an adult I now see the impact of green spaces on cities and their importance and its something I’m very passionate about.

Where would you build your dream garden?

I’ve built quite a few gardens in Greece and I do enjoy that a lot. I don’t know if I'm getting too geeky now but I'm really getting into a thing called ‘Genius Loci’ because it's about the essence of the place, the spirit of the place, so wherever I design you just tune into that sort of energy. It can be anything; the geology, the design or the aspect of something but that’s always the nugget of it. Doing it in Greece with its expanse and quality of light we just don't get here, you can do so many more interesting things with plants and colours.

What’s another hobby of yours?

I run, I do yoga, Zumba, walk the dog... This sounds like a dating profile doesn't it?! I go to quite a lot of seminars as well, that can be linked to curiosities in life or curiosities in gardening. I do a lot of CPD, career development stuff and it can lead you down funny alleys; last year it was about bird song and the year before it was about the Japanese art of decaying and it was just absolutely fascinating. The wonderful thing about being a gardener is that everyone is so generous with information, there is real freedom amongst us to learn from one another and share information.

When and why did you join PLATF9RM?

David Hillier & Amy Brown. My dog is best friends with Dave’s dog Clarence. Then it became this thing where it just started popping up everywhere.

Do you enjoy our office plants and moss wall?

Yes, I really do; there's a thing called ‘Biophilia’ which is about the importance of plants and greenery in workspaces and how its good for your mental wellbeing amongst other things and PLATF9RM is great for that.

Would you ever consider hosting a green-fingered event for our members?

Absolutely! But it’s such a broad subject, I need to nail it down to one thing. You’d be surprised how quickly you get nervous about public speaking even after teaching for so many years. But I am doing a Cereal Filler and would love to do more. The knowledge I have needs to be shared and people should hear it, in this day and age, greenery is more important than ever.

Thank you Heidi!

To get in touch with Heidi and to take a look at her work head to her brand new website .

If you want to be a member at our space, get in touch for a tour and trial.