As the internet developed, so did the opportunities for ordinary people to have a significant chance to shape the content that we see. We no longer need massive media companies to provide us with news and entertainment, instead we are happily consuming content made by everyday people. Over time, the creator economy has developed to be a major force. That is why Plymouth based creative entrepreneurs, Amie and Lucy, created SouthWest Huddle, a place where people working within the sizeable creator economy, can come together, share opportunities and learn new skills.
Bracken Jelier finds out more about the Content Creation Agency that is bringing brands and creators together for epic events, collaborations & launches, how you can get involved – and how they believe content creation is shaping the cultural landscape of Plymouth.
What is SW Huddle? Why has it been set up and what is the purpose of it?
Huddle is a content creator agency first and foremost. We’re all about showing off the beautiful surroundings of the South West and the incredibly talented creators who live and work in this little paradise. We’re like matchmakers; linking up content creators with brands and making sure they have a beautiful and mutually beneficial relationship. Brands are absolutely loving it because it saves them heaps of time searching for the perfect creator fit and creators love the community that we have created where we all support one another and have fun along the way.
We want the world to know that this place is buzzing with creativity and there’s no better way to do it than by showcasing the epic content that comes out of here. We’re passionate about supporting digital creators and advocating for a fair and equitable relationship between brands and creatives. We have an amazing, supportive network of photographers, models, copywriters and social media specialists so wherever you look there is always an expert with a friendly face.
How did you both enter this space – what were your personal journeys?
Huddle was born out of a blossoming partnership between us as two Plymouth friends who were working as freelance digital creators. We both have a vast amount of industry knowledge and social media expertise with a packed contact book to match, but found that being successful freelancers was tough without a designated network just for people like us. We were both trying to work in this new digital space and realised that there was a lack of community, support and representation, so we decided to create something ourselves!
Lucy is a freelance writer and digital creator with over 20 years’ media experience in the South West. Starting out as a daily newspaper journalist before moving into magazine editing, PR and copywriting, Lucy has a wealth of industry expertise and local contacts and is passionate about helping creative talent to thrive and prosper in the West Country. A stickler for perfect prose with a nose for good storytelling, Lucy loves creating scroll-stopping copy for brands and businesses with social media content that packs a punch.
Amie’s creative arts background gives her a keen eye for content creation. With a Masters degree in Digital Media and Social Media Science, she excels at crafting effective social media campaigns. Not only is she skilled and experienced, but Amie’s fun-loving personality and people-oriented nature make her a joy to work with. Trust Amie to bring creativity, expertise and a touch of excitement to your social media projects.
What need does SW Huddle fulfil?
We provide a platform for creators to shine and connect with brands that truly get them. It’s a win-win situation. We are both content creators in our own right and really felt that this sort of community was lacking. Our Huddle events are there to support content creators on their journey. Sure they are fun and social, but they are much more than that. We’re able to introduce brands and creators that align with one another’s values and can help lay the foundations for beautiful and blossoming partnerships. Huddle helps monetise people’s creativity and there’s a real need for this, particularly in the South West.
What is content creation – and why is it so important these days?
Content creation is what makes the internet tick these days. It’s how we express ourselves, tell stories and create connections with people all around the world. Everybody has a part to play, whether it’s staying connected by sharing a pic of your morning cuppa with your mates, or something on a much larger commercial scale. Content creation is a powerful digital tool and influencer marketing has become one of the fastest growing platforms for brand advertising.
Is Content Creation a job description? How would someone start a career in this?
Being a content creator is absolutely a job description for those that are successful at it. We’ve witnessed people starting off as complete novices on social media growing their accounts exponentially to the point that content creation and working collaboratively with brands is their main income stream. Firstly, we would tell creators to stay authentic and not be swayed to follow the crowd. It’s all about being fearless, honing your craft and not being afraid to put yourself out there, which is not as easy as people think! Embrace your uniqueness and let your creativity run wild. We also run workshops for people starting out in content creation, so obviously we’re going to tell them to get in touch with us for advice and support!
What role does content creation play in the cultural landscape of Plymouth?
We believe that content creation has an important role to play in the cultural landscape of Plymouth. There’s a real opportunity for creators to capture the essence of the city and showcase what a beautiful place it is to live, work, study or visit. There is so much homegrown talent as well as quality creative graduates emerging from the Arts University, Marjons and the University of Plymouth who will hopefully choose to stay in the South West and realise that in today’s digital world you don’t necessarily need to travel further afield to find employment. The creative scene is growing in the city and content creation is a big part of this, helping to put Plymouth and the South West on the map.
In the creative sector, how do you see the role of content creation changing and growing – what is its future?
The creative sector is ever-evolving and content creation is right there in the heart of it all. It’s growing like crazy and the future looks incredibly exciting. We see new mediums, technologies and mind-blowing ideas that will take creativity to places we can’t even imagine yet. We see content creation and the use of influencer marketing continuing to grow in the future. The old adage of ‘people buy from people’ is true. Brands are realising that using content creators on social media is a successful way of promoting their product or business. Consumers are far more likely to trust a recommendation from a person they follow and trust as opposed to buying into hard sell advertising.
Who would you say are the top content creators in Plymouth at the moment – and what makes them important to the city?
There are some amazing content creators in Plymouth at the moment and we’re proud to have so many of them in our growing Huddle network. There are some really established creators with successful social media accounts that focus on our gorgeous South West scenery and lifestyle; eating out, surfing, wild swimming, paddleboarding, yoga, wellbeing, sustainability, fashion, beauty, mum life and parenthood, cafe culture, tourism, photography…you name it and there’s a successful niche account showcasing the fantastic variety that Plymouth has to offer. They’re all important to the city as they highlight what a beautiful, vibrant, but often overlooked, place it is.
Since you have been working in Plymouth’s creative scene, how have things changed? What do you think is on the horizon for the culture of Plymouth?
Plymouth’s creative scene has changed a lot in the last two decades. A lot of people studied here or started out in the creative industry but quickly outgrew what was on offer in terms of growth and job opportunities. Creatives felt they had to move to London or larger cities for work and to find a better cultural offering. It’s been a long time coming, but the tide finally seems to be turning and in part thanks to covid and the rise of remote working. It’s now possible to work from almost anywhere and leaving the big cities and relocating to the South West for a better lifestyle and work/life balance has become a reality for lots of people, particularly in the creative industry. If the creative community continues to grow and there’s real investment in the city then we can only see this having a positive impact on Plymouth’s cultural offer in the future.
What would you recommend people do and see in the city?
We’re lucky enough to have a world class museum and gallery at The Box which is always great for a visit to learn more about Plymouth’s past and enjoy visiting exhibitions. The Theatre Royal has a packed programme of West End classics, dance, drama and avant garde productions throughout the year. The historic Barbican and its pretty cobbled streets and al fresco bars and restaurants are perfect for exploring on a sunny day and you can’t beat the panoramic vista of Plymouth Sound from the Hoe or the top of Smeaton’s Tower lighthouse. We’re both keen sea swimmers too and love nothing more than a morning dip off the Hoe, Firestone Bay or at the stunning Art Deco Tinside Lido followed by hot coffee and breakfast at a waterfront spot. Plymouth has some beautiful parks and surrounding countryside with easy access to Dartmoor and nearby beaches too.
Where’s your favourite place to eat in Plymouth at the moment?
There is a fabulous variety of places to eat in Plymouth at the moment with every kind of cuisine available to choose from. We’re passionate about supporting local, indie businesses and frequently host our meetings over coffee or lunch at places like Prime Cafe, The Hutong Bagel Co, The Shack at Firestone Bay, Honky Tonk Wine Bar, Kuku, Block, Hub, Fig & Thyme Kitchen or pick up yummy treats from Heyl Bakery, Signature Strawberries, Early Bird and Mila’s to name just a few.
What about your favourite place for a cultural experience?
We’re big fans of the Royal William Yard; it’s the city’s best asset in our opinion, with fantastic Georgian architecture and stunning coastal location. There are plenty of great places to eat and drink there and regular markets and events on the green and inside Ocean Studios or the Melville Building. And now the Everyman cinema has opened, you can even catch a film there too. You can access the water for swimming or paddleboarding, stroll along the South West Coast Path or take a boat over to Cornwall or round to the Barbican via the beautiful Plymouth Sound. We often work down at the Yard too using the fantastic co-worker facilities at Block or Ocean Studios, so you could say it’s our second home!
What’s your dream for Plymouth in the next 10 years and how can we make it happen?
We hope that Plymouth continues to establish itself as a beautiful, vibrant place to live, work, study and visit. If the creative sector continues to grow and there is prolonged investment and interest in the city, then we see the next decade being a period of positive change for Plymouth. We’d like Huddle to be a part of this change by nurturing digital creativity and encouraging the content creator community to grow and excel at helping to promote what the city and the wider South West has to offer. We feel very lucky to be able to call this part of the country home and believe Plymouth has so much potential to be the perfect ocean city destination.