I remember when I worked at fashion magazines in the noughties, we looked upon reader events with as much disdain as we did a BHS cardigan. In fact, in the ten years I was at Elle, I managed to avoid ever hosting a beauty one.
Why the scorn?
A few reasons.
Firstly they were always in dispiriting department stores.
Then there was the fact very few readers bothered to cut out the slips from the magazine and send their cheques in to reserve a place.
So the audience was often in single figures.
This was probably because both the magazine and the sponsoring brand thought they could just sell/lecture to the readers.
Very little thought was put into what they might get out of it.
The rather lame premise for the whole thing? A little talk by an editor under some unflattering strip lighting.
So I was flabbergasted this year (as I was last year and the year before that) by Red’s Smart Women Week. It’s a whole series of events held in a smart central London town house. This year there were chats with actresses Vicky McClure, presenter and multi hyphenate Fearne Cotton, author and wellness expert Jasmine Hemsley and entrepreneur and speaker Shaa Wasmund.
Every year it is a stand out success.
Great venue, sold out talks, a meeting point for like-minded women. I did my own event.
Talking about heartbreak and resilience. It was a pretty moving experience.
It once again showed the appetite people have to get out and go to things. It was all truly wonderful.
Apart from the drinks provided by a Tourist Board.
Less said about them the better…