This is something I experienced back in 2016, before I set up Sail. I was at Offset, a design festival surrounded by creatives-similar to today. I found a community of people that were making self employment, and their passions, work. This is when I decided to leave my full time design job. I quit my job with £800 in the bank and went for it. My first project was self initiated – Words Bare. It was an exhibition highlighting the experiences that the LGBTQ community still face today, and it was far from perfect, but it was my project, and it was a way I could share part of my story and what I cared about, where I could be myself and connect with like minded people. I didn’t know it, but this was the start of me building a community through authenticity. I found people that cared about the same thing – LGBTQ rights and creating an equal society. I used social media to build momentum, collect stories, connect with people, and promote the project. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was myself, had passion and enthusiasm, worked hard and it was a success. The exhibition ran for 3 years. I made lots of connections. This led to our first project at Sail – branding an LGBTQ arts festival, Curious. Building on community has gained trust, and created advocates that have got Sail to where it is today, and we are growing.
Image: James Victore
It worked because I used social media to build a community, to connect to people. It wasn’t about looking like a ‘thought leader’, ‘polished’ or an ‘expert’ it was me showing my passion, and being human. Not perfect. I documented my journey, I didn’t necessarily plan or create. It set a standard and ethos for how I wanted Sail to be perceived. It validated there was an audience for what we do.
Images: Sail Creative