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Collegiate Kids Store

Internet Mate-ing

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(Mis) adventures in Parenthood, Little League & moving your family 5,500 miles from London to California.

Internet Mate-ing

Laura Bonnell

Mothers meetings were certainly a little different over here compared to an iced bun from Greggs and a walk round Wimbledon Park back in Blightie

Mothers meetings were certainly a little different over here compared to an iced bun from Greggs and a walk round Wimbledon Park back in Blightie

I like meeting people, and I like being social. Through creating Muklet I've been able to connect more with the community around me than I ever would having been stuck working behind a desk 9-9 (the extra hours would be spent working late, checking emails or procrastinating about work!).

It's kind of inevitable running and marketing your own business that you end up spending a tonne of time online. You start out liking a picture of pretty blue door in South East London, and then an hour later you find you've entered the 'Instagram worm hole'!

As much as social media serves as an addictive distraction, it can also be a great way to connect with people, your kinda people. It was through entering the 'Instagram worm hole' that I discovered Mothers Meetings , Brit Mums , Southwood Social , Tantrum XYZ and other similar gatherings. Going to these meetings in and around London I got to connect with my peers. Other Gals and Guys that had also taken the scary step away from the monthly wage to go it alone, and try it their way for a bit. 

My early days of (and I kinda hate this word!) 'networking' led me to some interesting, but perhaps a little too 'business-ey type meetings. I managed to connect with some great folks that I'm still very much in touch with, but I was kind of looking for something a bit more soulful.

It's the mission I'm on right now having moved to California 4 months ago. There are plenty of networking groups, but I'm yet to find one that appears to attract my kinda 'tribe'.  

You see, Muklet is more to me than feeling creative and attempting to make flexible work work for our family. It's about doing business in a way I enjoy and feel fulfilled. To me that's doing away with all the competitive and bitchy nonsense that exists in the Fashion industry, and I guess in a lot of businesses. And as silly as it sounds, I also just want to be me! I want to have a laugh, have fun, and not worry about putting on a professional front to impressive. And, hey guess what?! You CAN have fun, AND get stuff done, AND be good at what you do. Life's too short to be serious ALL THE TIME!

The funny thing is, through connecting with other small business newbies, I've actually ending up finding many people that used to work in the Fashion Industry! Had we both stuck around in the corporate world a while longer we might have ended up working together! Fortunately we're all coming from the same place, and we all recognise there is power in supporting each other. The people I role with believe in collaboration and not competition. That collaboration can be through sharing information, promoting each other or a even just a virtual or real life hug or high five when you need it.

The other thing I want to stress about finding mates on the inter web, is for me, I want to build genuine friendships. I honestly wouldn't pursue an online or offline friendship just to advance me or my business. The people I connect with are inspiring, genuine, helpful, friendly and most importantly have a good sense of humour!

In the months leading up to us 'Brexit-ing' to head across the pond to California I made it my mission to try and meet as many people face to face that I had 'met' online as possible. To build genuine friendships you've got to at least see them in the flesh at least once right?! So, that's what I did. And you know what? Good friendships, they can stretch, and endure time and distance. Yep, they can even stretch 5,500 miles. Those mates I know are only a click away. I know they are always there for me when I need them, and hopefully they know I'm there for them too - I try my best to stay on top of correspondence, but sometimes things fall thru the cracks right?!

So, you may be wondering? How's the internet-mating going in the USA? Well, 4 months in, I've found some Brit Mums on Facebook, Vintagers and Crafters on Instagram, and a 'Sassy Mom' with a great wine selection right next door (I even found that one with out the aid of a computer!) 


P.S Now, I'm gonna try a bit of an experiment to prove my point, and also show you how talented my buddies are! If it doesn't work, I just look like Billy no mates!!! If we've met online or offline anytime from April 2015 to now, leave a comment below and mention your business if you have one: