Hipsters with long beards (the men at least), funky clothes and a flat white have become part of the creative scene in many UK cities.
It probably started in London, but there are loads of places around the UK where you can see this tribe in action.
Hipsters exist in Liverpool too (where I am), and they share many similarities to those elsewhere. But because they are Scouse, they’ve got to be different – some of them don’t even have beards!
These hipsters though are often at the forefront of creative industries, developing new business ideas and ways of doing them.
I went to an event recently at a law firm (Weightmans) and it was excellent – free beer, nice people and a pint after in the upmarket Vincent Bar & Restaurant on Exchange Square with my mate Matt.
Two entrepreneurial lads from Independent Liverpool, who seemed obsessed by coffee, gave a presentation on their loyalty card scheme that has taken off here and is spreading to other cities too – Sheffield, Manchester and Birmingham if I remember.
Basically, the idea is that you buy one of their cards, and you get money off at independent bars, restaurants, coffee shops, clothes shops and the like. Of course, everyone there bought one of these cards for a tenner. Yet to use mine, but I like my moneys worth.
Anyway, back to the point. These slightly hipster lads were in a suited law firm, but still turned up in whatever casual clothes they’d been wearing that day. They didn’t care.
But they had the room in the palm of their hands as they told how they started the company, while drunk. How it had grown through blogging, word of mouth, social media and them basically trying loads of places and getting known.
They were very witty, seemed to be making it up as they went along (but it was so structured that I think they must have put loads of work into it), and crucially they were exceptionally clear about what they were saying.
There was no powerpoint, just them talking and it was brilliant.
So the thing I learned is that these young lads think very differently about business. In some ways the same as always – they want to make money, they are thinking about opportunities.
But they are doing it on their terms. Costs are kept low. It is all about social media, meeting people, building their following and getting about.
Their connections are made face-to-face and digitally, networks are absolutely vital.
Would they have advertised their service in the local paper? No way.
Would they have sent out a press release to everyone they could think of to launch their business? Doubt it.
Are they creative, doing things like their own independent food festival in the newly trendy Baltic Triangle? Of course they are.
Can we learn something from them? I already have.