| Ticking all the boxes and being an overall creative industry multi-tasking boss, we sat down with Glasgow Barras Art and Design’s Kelly Conway.
Glasgow’s Barras Art and Design, also known as BAaD is a venue, a studio, a retail space, a restaurant, bar and creative hub – bringing an eclectic mix of creative talents under one roof. So you can imagine, it takes a certain type of someone to make sure cool stuff is always happening while checking all t’s are crossed and i’s dotted. Enter, Business Development Manager Kelly Conway. Keeping tabs and spinning literal and metaphorical plates within Glasgow’s coolest space must be tricky business, so we wanted to know exactly what Kelly gets up to on her average day. (Note: There’s no such thing as average!)
Tell us a little bit about what you do?
I work in Business Development for Barras Art and Design and the restaurant A’Challtainn. It is a varied job from anything to organising and running events, securing new business, managing suppliers, marketing, press, reservations management, staff training and generally anything which helps BAaD to become an amazing space for all. Alongside this I also run the Glasgow Vintage & Flea Market which is held at BAaD.
How did you get into this business?
I moved to Glasgow from London after a weekend here with a friend. I immediately fell in love with the city and haven’t looked back since. I have been in the Antiques trade since the age of about 4 (no joke, think a mini Del Boy with pigtails!) and I wanted to continue this in Glasgow but felt the right platform was missing, so I decided to do it myself. I approached Brian, Ricky & Natalie who run BAaD after I saw a picture of the space and and they agreed to host the event. They felt as an event it would help their vision of breathing life back into the Barras area. I worked in restaurants in London and elsewhere for about 10 years and have always had a passion for hospitality, so they asked me to come work in the restaurant and event space on a number of projects. BAaD has only been open since October but has already become such a great space for the city and I am so excited about the variety of new projects we will be organising and be involved in and to be able to run the GV&FM alongside this is just amazing for me.
Take us through a typical day
My days are very varied depending on which day of the week it is so I will explain a BAaD day (not bad!) and a GV&FM day.
A Saturday usually starts with making my way into work on the bus from the Southside and walking through the Barras Market, I will then check in on the bar and restaurant, catch up with the team, plan the days bookings and check the several email accounts I manage. We then will go into service from 12pm to 12am, I usually host which means I can be customer facing and help in the restaurant while still having time to do work. I will probably also take meetings during the day. I try to pop out to the Barras to buy some antiques if I get a spare 10 minutes – perks of being in the Barras. Its a long day on the weekend but as there is so much to be done
A market day means getting up at 6am, grab a taxi into BAaD, down some coffee and start laying all the tables out (with a little help from some lovely people). Then the wonderful stallholders arrive and set up. I usually have my own stall which I sell from and once I have set up this I will go check on all the stallholders, both inside and out. We put the music on and open the doors at 10am and then the selling starts, there is always a great energy to the markets.
What time do you get up at?
6am on a market day and a normal day it is 8am.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Instagram €¦ Guilty as charged
What do you have for breakfast?
GV&FM Day then its a Roll from the cafe everytime – got to do the roll run for the troops. A normal day I will have granola with coconut milk.
How do you keep yourself organised?
paper notes and lists. I wish I was better at electronic organising, I know there are things on my phone and computer that can help me to organise but I always try and fail with them. So I make a long list of all the things I need to do on a clip board and when enough has been crossed off I start another.
Tell us how you structure your day€¦
I will check my main to do list and made a note of all the things that are urgent, I will print of the reservations sheet so we know how to plan the day in the restaurant and I will have a catch up with the rest of the team. The space is closed on a Tuesdays so this is the day I will try to get most of my meetings in and office work done, I try to do meetings in the morning so I can get the follow up done in the afternoon evening while its all fresh in my mind.
What time do you finish work?
it can be anything from 6pm to 1am, all depends what is going on that day but it is something I have become accustomed to working in restaurants for so long my body has become very good at sleeping at odd times.
How do you wind down?
The usual drink down the pub with friends. But dining out it is honestly by far my favourite thing to do in the world, so any chance I get to not be in a restaurant is usually spent in a restaurant. Also on my days off try to cram as much buying antiques and vintage items as possible so I will drag myself to car boot sales and markets whenever I can. Reading this back I’m not actually sure I ever do wind down.
What’s your bed time?
What is ‘bed time’?!
Any advice for someone who would like to follow in your footsteps?
If you want to get into events, marketing, business development for anything to do with restaurants/bars or events spaces be prepared to graft. You will need to be quick on your feet and be willing to get your hands dirty. Some of the most important skills that I use on the job now are from my time as a waiter or a host, ‘knowing what people want before they know they want it’ which I was taught early on is probably one of the best skills I was given, and hugely valuable to anyone who wants to get into events.
In regards to the GV&FM side of things, get a stall at the market! If you have a passion for antiques, vintage or collectables then why not turn it into a small business. It is usually something you can start alongside your current job, you have to be prepared to put the hours in trailing places for bargains but it is fun and creative. Also don’t be shy! Most people in the antiques & vintage world are super friendly (especially in Glasgow) and will be happy to help you, when it comes to selling talk to your customer, it amazes me how many people fail short on this point – if you don’t greet me when I come into your shop or to your stall the likelihood is I’m not going to enquire about your goods, just say ‘hello’, share with them your passion and watch the wallets and purses open!