We Escaped the Internet
Our first in person event.
When I started Matriarch 4 years ago, I had no idea what it could be or where it would lead me. It was simply a public diary where I wrote about things I was concerned about or going through. But slowly, getting feedback from random internet strangers saying ‘this helped me’ or ‘this made me feel seen’ or ‘I feel more confident seeing you share that’, made me realise what community was and the power of it.
If I, just from writing a small caption about my lack of body confidence one day, could make someone in a different timezone feel better about their own, then maybe the potential of this thing was greater than I realised. And really, what I see in hindsight is that I was creating the very thing I was yearning for - a place where I felt seen, accepted and included - a community.
"Matriarch has stood the test of time as the internet’s big sister - the place you come back to for a little hope, laughter or wisdom."
It’s so easy to be cynical in this day and age. It’s probably much healthier for the heart. But we’ve never been that way at Matriarch. We’ve always believed in something greater, something with purpose and we’ve wanted to give people something to gain hope from. We’ve been through a few iterations but I think Matriarch has stood the test of time as the internet’s big sister - the place you come back to for a little hope, laughter or wisdom.
So it wasn’t long after our conception that naturally, the idea of bringing all these wonderful people together in some way came to my mind. Wouldn’t that be beautiful? A room full of people chatting, engaging and appreciating one another. Maybe making new connections, learning something new and building their empathy from people they never would have otherwise met. It sounds incredibly healing to me. A little light in an increasingly scary world. But it felt like a pipe dream. We were so entrenched in the internet, so online, existing so singularly. Plus, practically speaking, we’re a volunteer run platform - how on earth could we ever make that happen?
Well, Ria. It happened. All you needed was a team who believed in the dream as much as you did. And you lucked out there…
Last Thursday, 7th September 2023, we held our first ever community event. And it was everything I could’ve dreamt and more (read paragraph above…)
We sold out our free event and gathered 50 beautiful community members at the Three Colt’s Tavern in London for an evening of connecting. All we wanted was for people to mix, chat and meet people they otherwise never would’ve met. And it happened. Suddenly, an 18-year-old me was looking around a room of 50 people who had followed and believed in this brand I thought of 4 years ago and were making it a reality, taking it out of the internet. I was lost for words.
"It was an entirely surreal moment, I really can’t verbalise just how much this milestone meant to me."
There’s been a lot of uncertainty in the past 4 years, I’ll openly admit that. Building a brand from the ground up, roping 12 volunteers into it and almost never having a clear vision for where you’re headed will mean you’re uncertain at times. Also, I have never had any sort of prep or experience of what we’ve done, I’m a total novice. So steering the ship hasn’t always been easy. But, Matriarch has been the biggest lesson in intuition for me. I felt from the day I made it, something certain was consistently telling me ‘keep going, this is the right thing.’ It’s always felt right and I’ve always felt calm and safe in the knowledge that however long it takes and however hard we have to graft, all this will be worth it because we’re building something beautiful and phenomenal and game changing. Thursday proved that.
You can see from the photos and videos just how safe and special this space was. It was the warmest meeting of community, so much laughter and love. If we can keep creating these spaces for people, I think that goes to show how valuable Matriarch is to creating light in the world. And isn’t that sort of the point?
If you missed out - don’t worry! This really is only the beginning. We are planning to keep going with community events and smaller events on specific topics. If you want first access to these, sign up to our newsletter here!
Finally, I have some major thank you’s to make.
Firstly, thank you to every single person, past, present and future who has been part of Matriarch in any way. Whether you followed yesterday or were an OG commenter, thank you from the bottom of my heart - we did this! And I can’t wait to see what other beauty we make.
Secondly, to my family and the Matriarch’s in my life. You know who you are and I hope you always see how you’ve empowered me and I continue to show that to you.
Thirdly, huge shoutout to Jana Tobin our Events and Project Lead, she is the absolute mastermind and steam train behind all this. Despite living and working in Glasgow, she made it happen and never lets me forget that people believe in us.
Finally, the biggest thank you goes to my team. Matriarch just wouldn't be what it is today without all of you. It can be a lonely process building a brand but 2 years ago when I brought on volunteers, it seemed to solve that problem. You are part of the reason I get up every day to make this dream happen because you believe in the dream and in me. You can't ask people for that, they either do or they don't. I couldn't feel luckier.
Oof. Here we are. If you told Ria even a year ago, she would’ve laughed in your face. Things change quickly, so watch this space. And be part of it! Matriarch is for the world.
All my love,
(CEO & Founder of Matriarch)