Wow, am I really going to write about this? It is something so close to my heart, that it makes me emotional just to type these words to you.
Not knowing everything about every single one of you, I don’t know how much of this will resonate. Afterall, the whole point of what we’re all doing here is to celebrate the fact that a life ‘making a living with your hands’ means your decisions have already set you ‘free’. Regardless, I’m sure these thoughts might still resonate.
Being one’s true self, I suppose, is now what I realise to be, the true point of life.
For a very long time in my life, I battled to be my ‘true self’ and was increasingly becoming a grey version of Holly. Not that I realised this at the time, well maybe I did and tried to dull the pain in an extra glass of wine at night, but there was no choice – but to exist. Choices I’d made and the unknown waters of growing a business, meant that I’d put ‘me’ to the side, so that I could concentrate on what the growing demands, demanded.
Like all of us who’s experienced this world, my true self would come flying out, the moment I thought it was safe. In all its colours and song. This could be daily, for periods of time and it felt ‘soulful’ to get back to the basis of who I was, if not painful, when my soul would retreat back into its cage.
When I was younger, I found ‘twitchers’ the most bizarrest of people and would consider it a sign of aging, like listening to the Archers (parents favourite!), coffee and classical music. But, as I’ve aged a few of these reference points have now changed. My taste for coffee has obviously developed (now with the Work/Shop!) and now, I have a true love of birds. I didn’t realise this, until I flew the nest.
Our feathered friends, are quite amazing. I love a good old fact!
The smallest bird egg belongs to the hummingbird and is the size of a pea. The largest bird egg, from which the ostrich hatches, is the size of a cantaloupe.
- There are over 9,500 species of birds in the world. Scientists typically group them into 30 categories. Birds are the most widespread of all animals around the world.
When it comes to birds, the males tend to have the more glamorous feather shape, coloration, songs, and dances. Female birds choose their mate based on how attractive they find them!
The chicken is the closest living relative to the Tyrannosaurus Rex (had to include this!)
I have now, like anyone who becomes creatively obsessed, taken my love and spread it across all aspects of life. From filling (literally) my house with fake feathery friends, to speaking to the colourful parakeets in the morning that sit on my window ledge. I’m a magpie when it comes to adorning myself with talismanic bird jewellery and my favourite birthday gift – a hummingbird made entirely from tiny paper feathers, by my artisan hero Zack McGlaughlin. I’m now (amongst other names!) labelled ‘the crazy bird lady’ by my friends!
I found myself out of my cage, in air that felt poisonous to start with. A totally alien land, outside the habitat I’d become symbiotic with. But over the years, I realised that my feathers were now starting to show colour again; the air wasn’t air, it was now sky. A topless pit of possibility and magic.
I remember moments, of where the air smelt very sweet, such as being able to go to Harry’s first sports day, I think ever. The freedom of running up and down the pitch with my homemade paper sign, was something I’ll never forget. He looked at me and of course had the instant feeling of being mortified(!), but very quickly he gave me another look. The stare that told me,he knew how much it meant to me, to be there. That I loved him and I was sorry I hadn’t been there for him before. Sympathy, but admiration. He knew I was there, doing what I thought was the right ‘mummy’ thing to do. He adored me for that. He didn’t mind I was making a plonker out of him and me, he was just so glad I was smiling again.
I found myself almost ‘unstitching’ as the days went on. From ‘sausage skin’ tube dresses and suits, to now looser fitting clothing. Not due to the expanding waistline, but in celebration that my feathers were now showing through. You can now find me very happily walking around in the most colourful kaftans, a neck full of jewels and my glitter trainers in tow.
Me ten years ago, back in my corporate uniform which I thought was essential to being a sucessful businesswoman
And lately, the pure joy I feel, when able to meet wonderful different people and children who come to the Work/Shop. Face to face human interaction – what a joy. Looking at me, and actually seeing – me!
Now I walk to the ‘office’, The Work / Shop in my glitter trainers
We’ll be talking about this lots more, but the world is changing, the freelance / small business economy is coming and hundreds, thousands are being set free from the office desks. Dreams our parents only dreamt about. There is a sense of freedom afoot – working for yourself / working nomadically / making a living doing what you love. I felt that freedom, that liberation to be who I truly was and I want to do all I can to help others, feel this joy. We can help free people from grey offices, stifling commutes and a world that they’ve lost their passion for.
We want to set people free from grey
After all, ‘birds of a feather flock together’ and that’s exactly what Holly & Co is all about – finding your flock. If you can be with people who love you for who you are and celebrate you for everything you were meant to be – isn’t that why we’re all here?
The story of our ‘lovemark’ (logo) is for another time, but here is an image of when we got the first ideas through for our new branding. Beside it, sits the ‘favourite birthday present’ that I took to the first meeting we had, with a very clever bunch, who helped bring our vision to life through a symbol.
Our first sight of the branding for Holly & Co
Travelling with our bird to our brand meetings
The bird is the perfect symbol for freedom and perspective, because they, and only they, fly high into our skies.
Birds were my spirit totem (a totem is a spirit being, sacred object, or symbol that serves as an emblem of a group of people, such as a family, clan, lineage, or tribe) and I hope that it might now might become yours too.