The Collective was founded by Helen Hoile and Abby Smith in 2018 and is built on a shared ethos and approach to life: collaboration, friendship and warmth. The Collective aspires to inspire, empower and celebrate its members and support them in achieving their goals.
Helen… “I started my own business as a Portrait and Wedding Photographer in 2011 after 8 wondrous years living and working in New Zealand, Chamonix, Ibiza and Mallorca. During this time, I trained to be a snowboard instructor, managed a high-end chalet with celebrity clients an undertook various freelance translation roles.
I knew I was never one for a 9-5 lifestyle but photography found me through chance – I had a half decent camera, a creative flare and a good mate who couldn’t afford a wedding photographer! Fast forward 7 years, hard work, sweat and tears and I am now doing what I love full time, whilst being a Mum to Amélie and Marley.
I adore my job. I get to meet my lovely clients at spectacular locations and occasions but a lot of my time is spent alone in front of a computer screen. I have made wonderful friends and “work colleagues” through social media and have joined many helpful online groups but I miss face to face, real life interactions. An evening at a Jo Malone networking event in Guildford sparked a search for similar opportunities in Chichester but alas, nothing came close to the friendly, welcoming community I was looking for.
So, after a sweaty 6am bootcamp sesh with my sparing and circuits partner Abby, I casually mentioned my ideas for creating such a community and The Collective was born. I believe that an open, friendly, non-competitive approach to business will always get you further and leave you feeling better as a person too! I’ve always tried to run my business in this way, with arms wide open and my heart on my sleeve. Abby and I have these values of collaboration, support, openness and personal wellbeing deeply embedded in every idea we have for The Collective and we truly believe in the value of such a community. Honestly, I’m just so excited to see what lies ahead and all the inspiring things we can do together!
Let’s make some magic happen.
Abby… “I started my working life in the exciting world of PR and Marketing. Over a period of 15 years I worked across a variety of sectors; charity, travel and tourism, aviation and foreign affairs. This allowed me to travel far and wide and I got to know Australia, Singapore, The Falkland Islands and Bahrain very well. I worked both in agencies and inhouse as the PR Manager Europe for Middle East airline Gulf Air. A major career highlight for me was launching the Singapore Airlines A380 airliner (the world’s first double decker aircraft) securing front page national newspaper coverage on the airline’s first class double beds . Such a buzz! (said the aviation geek)
I then followed my heart and moved to Chichester but unfortunately I had fallen out of love with corporate life. So I embarked on a second career in education. As a teacher, I found a job where I could channel my creativity and ability to communicate into inspiring children and helping them to learn. So rewarding.
I’m meantto be on a 12 month ‘career break’ to focus my time and energy on my young family as well as help grow our family business. And yet the opportunity to collaborate with Helen and establish The Collective was one I was not going to miss.
The Collective is the culmination of everything I have learnt, achieved, dreamed, succeed and failed at in my professional and personal life. Our ethos and philosophy embodies how I have always tried to approach everything I do for my family, friends, pupils, colleagues, clients or complete strangers, I always try to be warm, welcoming, friendly, supportive, helpful and encouraging. Which is exactly what you will get being a member of The Collective.”