May 2019 Monthly Review

Denyse Whillier | Business Consultant | May 2019

I love May because it marks the start of my favourite season, summer. Shoreham Beach, where I live, becomes a botanical tapestry, the shingle threaded with bright red-pink valerian, yellow horned poppies and cerise mallow. While the Sussex hedgerows froth with the green and white of cow parsley and the woods are carpeted with bluebells.

I love the promise of balmy evenings on the beach as the days lengthen towards midsummer. It’s a time that I personally find energising as I find inspiration, for both my own business as well as those of my clients, from the natural world.

From a business standpoint, May is the month when I draw ideas from the creative marketing campaigns of the brands I love. The White Company, Neptune Home, Graham and Green. Summer, punctuated as it is by events like the Chelsea Flower Show, offers up endless ideas for refreshing our brand and marketing strategy.

Running a business consultancy, I’ve always struggled with how to reflect the seasons in my own brand. I’ve solved this, to some extent, by writing articles about the AW, SS and Christmas marketing campaigns run by my favourite brands. But if I’m honest, I’ve always been slightly envious of the stunning seasonal campaigns they run, not to mention the captivating photography. Oh, to have a tenth of their budget!

So, when I saw the gorgeous photographs Elizabeth Ruby had taken for one of my clients, I instantly wanted her to create a collection of photographs I can use on this website as well as in any brochures and booklets I create. I talked to Elizabeth about what I was looking for. And thankfully, this segued beautifully with the way Elizabeth wanted to take forward her own business.

The result is the glorious photographs you’ll see on this and other articles on my website. Elizabeth has created exactly what’s in my mind’s eye. I couldn’t be happier, and I’m excited to see the photographs she’ll be taking for me each month.

Denyse Whillier | Business Consultant | May 2019
Denyse Whillier | Business Consultant | May 2019


This month, Indigo Seafood and Grill awarded was an AA Rosette for a 10th year for its culinary excellence. AA Rosettes are only awarded to restaurants that demonstrate consistently high standards in delivery and careful attention to their selection of ingredients. We’ve shouting about this as part of our PR and content marketing strategy.

May saw two of my clients launch new websites:

  1. Not happy with the website she commissioned earlier in the year, Leigh Otterson-Walter had the courage to start again from scratch. Leigh worked with her graphic designer, Patt Fallon of Bald Designs, to create an online presence that truly reflects what she and the Blue Penguin Company are all about. I particularly love the articles Leigh has written for her website, which knowing her as well as I do, are truly authentic, reflecting her values and ethos.

    This summer you’ll find Leigh jetting backwards and forwards to Italy to bring groups of work experience students over to the Sussex coast to enjoy a language and educational experience.

  2. Brothers, John and Enrique (Keeks) Hillman have launched Levante, offering team building surf trips in Cadiz and Woolacoombe, two of the finest beaches in Europe. Keeks is a mental health advocate, and he and his brother believe that surfing is great for our mental health because it allows us to switch off completely, forcing us to live in the moment. When, as Keeks says, “work is play,” it doesn’t get much better than that.


I visited the beautiful, historic town of Winchester for Fashion Week. I wrote two articles, inspired by my experiences: How To Make The Most Of A Business Trip To Winchester and An Introduction To Omnichannel Marketing.

I went to The New Populism, a conversation between former Prime Minister and Guardian editor, Paul Lewis, held on the eve of the European elections, about populism, globalisation and the future of our politics. I’ve been following both The Guardian’s new populism series and work of the Tony Blair Institute For Global Change with interest. The talk itself turned out to be a slightly frustrating experience as Paul Lewis determinedly focused on Tony Blair’s time in government rather than the reason why we were all there: to hear his thoughts on rising populism and how to tackle it.

I thoroughly enjoyed May’s 9% Event, focused on the careers of women from stage and screen. We heard from BAFTA award winning wildlife cinematographer, Sophie Darlington, whose worked on Planet Earth and Dynasties, BAFTA award winning documentary maker, Diana Ellis Hill, whose credits include Wonders of the Universe, and Fight Director, Kate Walters, who has choreographed combat scenes for the National Theatre, RSC and Royal Opera House, to name but a few. In case you’re wondering, the 9% Event is named after the current UK gender pay gap and is a different kind of networking event in Brighton.

I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed networking. But in my line of work you just have to put your big girl pants on and get on with it! I do however love the events run by Brighton Chamber of Commerce which, in true Brightonian style, does things a little bit differently. Their May breakfast networking event was headlined by Dawn Sperring of The Chilli Pickle. I wrote an article explaining the business strategies she and her husband have used to successfully scale their restaurant business. I also got to go behind the scenes of the iconic Grand Hotel and I’ll be writing up my key takeaways shortly. Spoiler: The Grand offers a masterclass in how to recruit and retain the best people.

I had a fabulous evening at Worthing Theatre, where coincidentally I used to tread the boards as a kid, listening to retail expert and a personal heroine of mine, Mary Portas talk about her new book, Work Like A Woman. Funny, feisty, direct and irrepressible, Mary draws on her decades of business experience to share her thoughts on how to make the world of work better for everybody. You can catch her live from London on her podcast.

And I took a day trip to the beautiful harbour village of Bosham, near Chichester. This is in line with one of my four priorities for 2019: to create more memories by taking more day trips.  With pretty houses with thatched roofs everywhere, and stunning views across the harbour, this was truly a restorative day out and certainly created happy memories aplenty. Easily reached from the capital, A Lady In London has just written a guide to a coastal walk around Chichester Harbour and you’ll find my own photos over on Instagram stories.


Read … Mary Portas’ Work Like A Woman, and for fun, Swallowtail Summer by Erica James

Listened to … Podcasts by Elizabeth Day (How To Fail which celebrates all the things that haven’t gone right) and Viv Groskop (How To Own The Room where inspirational women share the tips and tricks they deploy to get the attention they deserve).

Saw … Hugh Bonneville in Shadowlands at the Chichester Festival Theatre.

Watched … Tolkein, a biographical film about the early life of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.

Was gripped … by the series finale of Line of Duty.

Denyse Whillier | Business Consultant | May 2019


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