This month we ventured out of the familiar surrounds of Fulham to Hackney's winding waterways where we met Calypso Rose, Founder of The Indytute, on her gorgeous houseboat. The Indytute brings brilliantly inspired lessons, workshops and experiences to London giving people the chance to learn new skills in a fun and friendly environment. Read on to find out more on Calypso's innovative business and life on her canal boat.
Tell us a bit about The Indytute and how it all started?
The Indytute launched in Selfridges in September 2013. I used to have a girly fashion accessory company called Clippykit and after doing that for 10 years I wanted to do the exact opposite. I removed all 'stuff' from my life and just wanted new experiences - not to be chained to an office and doing tens of trade shows a year. The Indytute was born from a love of learning new skills that would only take an hour or two to master. Soon after The Indytute was born I moved onto the boat and learnt that I love a life of flexibility and community with a few micro adventures thrown in.
We love that all the experiences on The Indytute are unique. What inspires
you to keep offering new workshops & talks?
The Indytute is very much curated with things that I would personally like to do myself - I often think... oooh I really fancy learning to Paddleboard - so I'll find the best people to teach it. I love our neon sign making workshop and who'd have thought Hula Hooping would be our most popular! I'm longing to learn to paint again - big fat oil paintings - so maybe that'll be next... although no idea where I'll put the canvases.
Workshops and taking up a creative hobby has hugely caught on in London, why do you think that is?
People want something more than getting drunk in the pub and looking for connections in the real world. When the recession hit there was a big shift away from 'stuff' that you don't need and doesn't make you happy to taking creative breaks that don't cost much but you'll remember forever. When it comes to buying things, I find our customers would rather buy quality items than bulk from the high street.
What is the most exciting, new thing you've tried through The Indytute?
I loved Paddle Boarding on the Thames the other day and we've just added a fantastic Cinema Supper Club. Learning the Harmonica with Joff was extremely satisfying - just 90 minutes and you feel you've mastered a few songs.
What's the best thing about your job?
So many things! The flexibility - I can work from anywhere and we are redesigning the website at the moment. I love the creativity and the challenge that comes with doing a big project like that - always learning.
What are you currently fascinated by and how does it feed into your work?
I love podcasts... factual and business podcasts. I am currently listening to Sapiens on Audible about the evolution of mankind. I'd love to start my own podcast... so that's bubbling in the back of my mind. I love new ideas so I always have to have a good talking to myself to stay focused!
How much time do you spend on your canal boat? It must be a very inspiring place to work.
I go to the office twice a week and then work from the boat. It's so important to get out and about, to find inspiration for new workshops and see what's going on. Although in the summer it's hard to get away from lounging on the deck and watching the boats go by.
Can you talk us through your daily routine?
My routine has been thrown out the window since having a baby 10 months ago. Soeach day is currently a juggling act. I have been much more focused on what meetings I have and company direction, as there just aren't enough hours in the day. I also have to be very strict that when I'm with Hendricks I am with him...and not replying to emails.
How do you make your clothes work for you and your busy lifestyle?
With limited space, I rotate my wardrobe seasonally. I also give away anything I haven't worn for over a year. I'm useless at organising an outfit the night before so I have removed anything from my wardrobe that is a bit shabby so I don't look like I've got dressed in the dark.
What are your go-to wardrobe staples?
I have some lovely vintage Sonia Rykiel trousers that always look smart with a simple grey t-shirt. I have just invested in a pair of flat boots that go with everything and I know I'll wear for years.
Name one style rule all women should break.
I remember being told off by my Granny for wearing too much black and it's always stuck with me. "Life's too short, wear some colour" It's too easy to wear black.
If I wasn't running The Indytute I would be...Cruising all the canals in the UK.
My favourite activity is... Currently I love a bit of boxing with some daily Vedic meditation (if there's time).
My ideal breakfast is... Boiled eggs with spinach, avocado and lemon (how dull is that?!).
Words to live by... If you are feeling low, get out, do some exercise (or have a nap).
My favourite holiday destination is... Mexico, specifically Banderas Bay and Yelapa.
My favourite London hangout is... The Towpath Cafe in Haggerston, watching the boats go by while having the most delicious lunch.
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