Meet Erica Roffe the Editor for The Bedford Clanger and organiser of Bedpop. She has also worked as an events manager and freelance copy writer. A plethora of responsibility. Before Erica began her career she studied at Bournemouth Iniversity and left a few years later with a BA Hons in Public Relations.
She went on to work in marketing and copywriting for around 10 years for blue chip companies. Fast forward a few years later after starting a family Erica connected with Kate Judge on Facebook and together they started a non-profit organisation; which has now been running for four years.
The idea behind the company was for it to hold creative pro arts events that would be held in empty shops in Bedford. Thus it was appropriately named ‘We are Bedford’.
The company went on to do the Castle Weekender which began on 19 – 20 March 2011. The event attracted 5000 people who attended 7 different shop units. The event was supported by local night clubs that provided them with music.
The Castle Weekender then created a domino effect which allowed them to continue with the pop up shop concept a while longer. They were permitted to hold 19 events in an empty shop over a 6 month period.
Bedpop then held an event called ‘Fun Palaces’ which many towns have been encouraged to have. It’s an idea that has run since the 1960s and was held in 5 venues throughout Bedford.
3D robot workshops were run by a group of illustrators who shared their passions for drawing with the community. Mexican death workshops also featured at some point.
The next move from this was a children’s magazine. Again started by Erica which to this day is work in progress and something she wishes to develop even further.
As she continued to talk us through her career she brought us up to speed with the latest projects she has been working on. Shop local is a map promoted and created by the Bedford Clanger. It seeks to promote independent retailers making the public more aware of their various locations in and around Bedford.
For future aspirations are to:
- Have a Castle Quay Weekender revival
- Create an ANNUAL Bedpop Fun Palaces and grow the Bedford Clanger
- Develop their small prints of the Shop Local – updating their A-Z guides
- To have Bedford represented by Bedpop at the Spring Fair on behalf of the designers and makers of Bedford – helping to put them on a larger map.
Erica Roffe’s Top Tips:
- Network as if your life depends on it
- There’s no such thing as failure because youre learning from it
- Be happy – life is short
- Practice what you preach and have a thirst for knowledge
- Have integrity
- Be nice to people on your way up – you never know if you’ll need them on your way down
- Use social media wisely
If you’re interested in PR and are thinking of ways to enter the industry:
- Start a blog
- Internships - as many as you can
- Improve your writing skills – learn to write persuasively in a concise manner
This talk was delivered at the University of Bedfordshire