Chalk Newsletter: December 2020

2020 is coming to a close. We made it!

2021 will, hopefully, bring plenty of positive news. Not least, the launch of series two of Chalk Talks - more below...

Chalk Talks

We've been busy over the past month recording and editing our second Chalk Talks podcast series which we're really pleased to be launching in January.

In the new series, co-hosts Donna Fielder and Garry James talk to local business people on different areas including recruitment, marketing, finance, supply chain and a whole lot more.

Episodes will include:

  • Martin Ellis from Recruitment South East
  • Nikki Elliott-Taylor from Hope and Graze
  • Mike Watson from Business South East
  • Paul Cuttell from Wright Flow Technologies
  • Caroline Ansell MP (Eastbourne & Willingdon)

Plenty of great opportunities to test the new speakers or headphones you get for Christmas!

Watch this space for release dates and links to listen.

FEATURED PROFILE

This month, we caught up with Helen Diplock, owner of Web Alchemy, to find out more about her and her business.

Web Alchemy - what's it all about?

Web Alchemy focuses on creating Wordpress sites - but not template ones! Helen enjoys getting to know and understand her clients, so she prefers designing them herself.

Web Alchemy's business model is predominantly based around ongoing relationships, where a web build is completed but then the client moves onto a monthly retainer for continued updates and support. The websites Helen creates tend to have larger elements alongside the initial shopfront, such as ecommerce functionality, or online bookings.

Helen also enjoys solving problems and fixing odd Wordpress issues for people: they leave her to 'have a play' and resolve it. She particularly likes this phrase: how often can you enjoy work in such a way that it feels like fun?

Where did it start?

Helen started doing web design part time a few years ago, but since September, she's gone full time with it. Why pivot into this during a global pandemic? Well, it had been on the cards for ages; she loved her previous career as a civil servant, commuting up to London, but it wasn't enough. Plus out of all sectors at the moment, work in tech is generally fairly 'safe' and in demand. Indeed - so much so that she was turning work away at the start of the pandemic.

Helen has found that coding has come naturally to her, thanks to a musical background, and something that started out as a bit of a hobby has now become her day job. Her experience in civil service policy work, pulling apart the problem and looking at what needs to be solved, is really serving Helen well.

Looking ahead, Helen hopes to grow her business into an agency and have a team around her.

Tell us about your clients?

Web Alchemy works with entrepreneurs and small/micro-businesses, predominantly female-owned.

Helen has been working with Milly Roberts on her Women's Health and Fitness site for the past few years, which includes booking and ecommerce elements, and she's also created a site for a B2B finance business based in Polegate.

She is also the tech mind behind the WomenInBusiness.club website, which has grown from a London-based organisation to include a wider international audience. It's a large website with a blog and numerous calls to action, with a membership area and ecommerce shop alongside it.

Web Alchemy's clients tend to come from referrals and networking through Facebook groups.

Why Eastbourne?

Helen has lived in Eastbourne for nearly nine years and loves it. She originally grew up in Hertfordshire and has previously lived in Belgium. It's great to have the beach and the Downs so close by; Helen can see the Downs from her office window and loves the easy access to nature, especially as it is good for her creative mind and for inspiring natural colour palettes. Helen appreciates how creative Eastbourne is, from the Towner Gallery to the artist open houses which (normally) happen on a regular basis, and she loves taking her kids to enjoy these activities.

She finds Eastbourne has a great community. Helen used to work out of Cohub and found it brilliant to be around creative people all day, particularly when starting out; she'd always leave feeling inspired. She sometimes works from local cafes like Urban Ground too.

Eastbourne, unlike Brighton, Lewes and London, is affordable to live in and feels to Helen like it's undergoing a cultural shift; she loves the culture around South Street and the Enterprise Centre, the fact that there are lots of young people in the town, and the great mix of talents and backgrounds - including those that would have commuted to the bigger towns and cities previously.

She likes that many of the councillors representing us in the town are young and have their own businesses and families, rather than being retired.

Helen hopes that, as we come out of the coronavirus pandemic, Eastbourne will start to be able to offer more quality jobs that are sustainable and desirable for the future of the town and, like us at Chalk, believes we need to make students aware of great local jobs and increase the flow from education and college into the local job market: you don't have to leave Eastbourne to find a good job.

As a town, she believes we need to be more confident in what we can offer in terms of digital: we have something to be proud of.

Pictured: Helen Diplock of Web Alchemy

If you'd like your company featured in this section, please click here to book in a chat!

Events

BCS INTERNET SPECIALIST GROUP

Thursday 7 January 2021, 18:30-20:00, free.

Speaker Maziar Nekovee from the University of Sussex and Vice Chair of NetWorld2020 European Technology Platform discusses "Enabling Technologies and Scenarios for a 5G-enabled Internet of Verticals and the road to 6G".

View event

THE ONLINE PHP CONFERENCE 2021

18-22 January 2021, €149.

The Online PHP Conference 2021 is a conference on professional software development and the PHP technology stack, featuring short and regular-length presentations intermixed with other formats such as Live Coding and discussions.

View event

iOS CONF SG - 2021

18-22 January 2021, $120-$320.

The main focus of the conference is to provide tools and techniques to iOS developers that they can use to build mobile applications of the highest quality. There are a variety of speakers and workshops to attend online (although the conference is run from Singapore).

View event

ONE LAST THING...

From all of us at Chalk, we wish you a peaceful and joyful holiday season! 🎄

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