Article | Georgia Harris

Barns Bulletin #9


This month, we dodged the rain in Digbeth for the Birmingham Design Festival, hosted our third Tonic instalment and customarily, ate our own bodyweight in pizza!

June’s been a bit of a damp one weather-wise 👎 but aside from all the rain, this month we hosted our 3rd Tonic event, popped over to Digbeth for the Birmingham Design Festival and welcomed clients to the Barns for a massive pizza fest!

A day out in Digbeth

At the beginning of June, a few freestylers braved the wet weather and headed over to Digbeth for the Birmingham Design Festival. Tucked away near the Custard Factory, they spent the day at - the very instagrammable - Old Library, listening to talks from the likes of Chappell Ellison, Senior Content Strategist (and the self-proclaimed Marie Kondo of content) from the Brooklyn-based agency, Huge. Chappell suggested that we should view our consumption of online content in the same way we think about our consumption of food - AKA using our will power not to contribute to the endless scrolls of content! She offered some words of wisdom about embracing the benefits of limitations to combat the information overload and tackle the subsequent dwindling engagement from our audiences. Sounds like an insightful day 🤓.

Pizza Party

After the predictable British weather sadly rained off our plans for a summer BBQ 👎 we activated plan B, which included a return of a Freestyle fave…🍕. After a pizza-less May, we overcompensated by ordering a whopping 30+ pizza’s to the office, and inviting our lovely clients to come along and help us demolish them! It took not one, but two cars to deliver our mountain of pizza! Whilst we waited for the inevitable pizza coma to hit us, we stepped out of the studio to watch the Women's Cycle Tour race by, right in front of the Barns! A big thank you to our amazing clients who attended and shared some chit-chat over a slice or two*!


Tonic 03: Data: the driving force behind great customer experiences

Also this month, we returned to The Botanist in Birmingham to host the third instalment in our Tonic event series, Tonic 03. This time around, it was all about data as the driving force behind great customer experiences.



After a few drinks and nibbles to get us going, we listened to some top CX chat from the likes of Co-Founder & CMO at Hyve, Yiannis Maos, Adam Babajee-Pycroft, Founder and MD at Natural Interaction and our own Insights Manager, Becki. These CX know-it-alls discussed methods in how to overcome the challenges when utilising data, and provided helpful how-to’s on getting smarter with collecting, analysing and utilising the right data to get the insights you need to optimise your customer experience. We ended the evening with some late drinks, new connections and fresh ideas to take into work to improve CX.

Keep your eyes peeled for info regarding our next Tonic 04 event, coming soon! 

Ninja training

At the end of June, our Account Director, Sophia, headed over to Birmingham for the day to become a Productivity Ninja! Lead by the OG Productivity Ninja, Grace Marshall, from Think Productive, Sophia learnt all about how to tackle ‘enemies’ (AKA distractions) that stop you from becoming your most productive self! After the session, Sophia’s shared some words of wisdom that she learnt during the workshop… including the weird and wonderful analogy called ‘Eating the Frog’, which compares putting off a certain task to having a ‘frog feast’ 🤔.



The theory is, that if you had to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning - that way, you don't have the constant dread of having to do it and everything you do afterwards feels amazing in comparison! It weirdly makes a lot of sense, and will be something we can all take onboard to become Productivity Ninja’s ourselves!

Working Families Best Practice Awards


What did Freestyle have in common with Deloitte and Morgan Sindall at the Working Families Best Practice Awards? They were all finalists for “Best Embedded Flexibility” category, of course. And while we did not win, we had a fantastic afternoon (tea), celebrating our culture and people-first practices that brought us there in the first place.

We were surrounded by individuals who brought innovative thinking in their workplace, people who made extended maternity and paternity leave possible for parents with prematurely born babies, who inspired giants like Sony to adopt similar policies, and by people who advocate for better work-life balance for parents and carers at a national level.

It was an honour to be in the room with all the finalists. See you all next year!

Sheepies 🐑

At the end of June, we sat down to have our monthly Sheepies awards, surrounded by delicious pastries and fresh fruit (we’re all about that balance). The Sheepie award for June went to Project Manager Charlotte! 👏 Charlotte has gone above and beyond in the work she has done, showing great dedication and patience with anything that comes her way. Well done, Charlie! 🏅


And that’s it for June! We’ve all got our fingers crossed that July delivers some much needed summer sunshine! 🤞 ☀️ Keep updated on all the on-goings at the Barns by following us on our socials:


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