H&G (Hunt & Gather) Creations is a creative agency specialising in experiential event creation, planning and production. It doesn’t just run events, it creates 360-degree experiences.

H&G Creations is moving with the challenges imposed by Covid-19 and the lockdown to ensure businesses can bring their events online.

“The problem we are looking to solve for our clients is to create impactful and authentic experiences that evoke emotion and synergy between the guests and the creations we build,” co-founder Sinead Bailey-Kelly said.

“It is so crucial to adapt, and problem-solve to find new innovative solutions to redirect your business into the future”

“By doing so we are able to truly connect people together within real life experiences. This helps us to create lasting relationships between the public and person, brand or company. Because we have a range of core services each is segmented into different markets, here is a brief outlook on the market size for our three core services,” she added.

It’s all about experience

Bailey-Kelly explained that the business helps with brand activations for brands as part of their out of house marketing spend.

“Marketing companies have been exploring / implementing experiential marketing, through immersive brand activations as part of their out of house advertising campaigns.

“Advertising spend towards this trend has increased on average between 0.9pc to 1.8pc per year for the last four years with the current spend for out of house advertising estimated at €84.4m for 2020 in Ireland.”

An example of one of these immersive events was the Autumn Dining Experience at Christchurch in Dublin.

“Corporate events include team building days, seasonal parts and in house offerings as part of the sports and socials staff retention plans,” Bailey-Kelly said.

“According to the Irish Times top 1,000 businesses in Ireland, top Irish businesses are making on average yearly turnover of over €600m, with companies average estimated spend coming in at 0.001pc of yearly turn over on in house staff retention programs. This includes gala dinners, seasonal parties, field trips, wellness days etc. This equates to an average yearly spend of €100,000.

An example of the kind of immersive experience H&G can create she gave the example of how the company recreated the back streets of Singapore for the Tiger Street Eats Food Event.

Another area is weddings for high-end alternative couples. “According to data from the Central Statistics Office 21,053 couples got married in 2019 and that is expected to rise by 1.6pc in 2020. An Irish wedding on average is now costing couples €31,000 euros according to One Fab Day. With a total of 21,389 couples getting married in 2020 that is a potential market segment spend of €663,085.”

Powering past the pandemic 

People at a virtual event online.

Bailey-Kelly continued: “Obviously things have changed drastically for all in real life experiences in light of the recent pandemic we have all been experiencing. We are unsure as to when life will get back to any sort of normality so we have been looking at new ways to bring people together while we have to socially distance and isolate.

“We have been experimenting with virtual events with our public sector clients as a trial and we have started rolling these virtual events out now to our brands and corporate sectors. We are also developing some micro events for later on in the year and corresponding products to be in line with these micro events.

“It’s hard to tell what the landscape of the market will look like tomorrow, next week, or next year as it will take time for us to recover globally. However, it is so crucial to adapt, and problem solve to find new innovative solutions to redirect your business into the future.”

“We have always been quite a diverse company with a few core offerings so even if one offering fails there are still other offerings that are making sales in the repertoire. In short, we are a design company that specialises in experiences, these experiences can be anything from brand activations, team building days, weddings, and public gatherings. We would assess a client’s needs and then build an experience to meet the objective of the client.”

Necessity and the mothers of re-invention

Woman with blond hair and a woman with pink hair.

Deirdre Young and Sinead Bailey Kelly (pictured above) are the founders of H&G Creations Ltd.

“We both met in 2012 where we worked together as the curators of a grassroots gallery space called The Little Green Street Gallery,  and then a bar and gallery together. We were made redundant in 2013 and went on to volunteer at the Irish Museum of Contemporary Art where we created immersive art inspired experiential events together.”

 Not long after this they gained the attention of several event production companies and brands who wanted to create experiential events for their clients/brands.

“Ireland was in the midst of a deep financial crisis and there were no jobs available at the time. We worked together to upskill in business, finances and marketing to get their business started. Our entrepreneurial spirit grew out of the need to be passionate about our work, always approaching problems with creative solutions and the appeal of the freedom that working for yourself comes with.”

Ireland is chock-full of useful resources to help entrepreneurs get businesses up and running, says Bailey-Kelly.

“We were very fortunate at the time of starting our business as there were many supports available to get a start-up off the ground. Because we were both unemployed and looking to create work for ourselves when there were no jobs available we were quickly put on to the Back to Work Enterprise Scheme where we were supported in our endeavours to generate work for ourselves, create a website, we were given the opportunity to go back to college part time and take several subsidised courses through the Local Enterprise Office.

“We cannot speak more highly about the support, grants, systems, mentors and courses that are available for entrepreneurs who are looking to create start-up businesses in Dublin, and in Ireland in general. We are a services-based business however there are even more supports available to those who are looking to create an e-commerce business, those who are looking to sell products and those who are looking to sell products to an international market.”

Lessons in entrepreneurship

Self-funded, the company has no plans to take on external investment.

The biggest lessons learnt so far revolve around strict time management.

“Society at large but particularly the business world puts almost a prestige on ‘being busy’, perhaps seeing busy as being in demand. However, time is finite. Don’t get sucked into the being busy game, it’s far more rewarding to work smarter not be busier. So, you can protect your most valuable asset, time. Also baking a good quality of life into the core of your business, we work to live, we don’t live to work.”

Her advice to fellow founders is to listen to their customers.

“With the uncertainty caused by the recent pandemic, it’s hard to tell when or if things will ever go back to normal but it is very important for business owners to act quickly in response to new developments. To listen to your customers and the general public to find out what their needs are. This will help you find a gap in the market that you can adapt your business to. Why pause your business waiting for things to go back to normal when you can pivot and possibly find a new niche that could take your business to the next level.”

To stay agile, the company relies on digital tools. “We try to keep the number of tools that we use streamline, using Trello to assign tasks and create to-do lists for jobs. G-Suite for the creation and sharing of all documents and Excel workings, Tido that is linked into our website to help streamline our customer services efforts. And Hootsuite to schedule our social media presence,” Bailey-Kelly concluded.

Pictured at top: Sinead Bailey Kelly and Deirdre Young

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 8 July, 2020

 

Recommended