Category Archives: Weightmans

Weightmans Wednesday – Veeno

In Liverpool, there are so many cafes that serve tea, coffee and snacks. However there is also a cafe called Veeno on Castle Street, which serves Italian wine and spuntini, which means little snacks and appetisers in Italian.

At last week’s event at Weightmans LLP in Liverpool, I had the pleasure of listening to a presentation on the background story of Veeno. This was delivered by Nino Caruso, the CEO and co-founder of the business. Nino delivered a delightful presentation on Veeno’s origins from co-founding the company with Andrea Zecchino in 2013.

Listening to Nino’s presentation, I was entranced by his story. Nino talked about his background in wine, forged through four generations of his family’s vineyard in Sicily, providing pure naturally produced Italian wine to over 35 countries, and how Andrea and himself, founded, grew and nurtured the business. In addition, Nino also talked about the future of Veeno, including the challenge of developing a corporate structure that supports the business, whilst retaining its unique identity.

From the event, I learned some interesting facts about Veeno, which I have listed below:

  1. Employs 150 people in the UK.
  2. As well as Liverpool and Manchester, they also have stores across the UK including Edinburgh, Leeds, Leicester and Nottingham.
  3. 10 more cafes are due to open in the UK in 2018.
  4. Veeno made £4.3 million in total revenue in 2017.

The facts above show how Veeno has grown as a business. However it is more than just an Italian cafe that serves wines and spuntini. They also host wine tasting sessions for businesses and groups of people. Having attended the occasional past event at Veeno, they are a completely unique experience which I recommend to anyone.

Nino’s presentation was more than just talking about Veeno’s success as a business. It was delivered with a soft and heartfelt tone. As Nino spoke, I picked up on his passion for wine, life and family, encapsulated with a beautiful photo of Nino and his wife, married in his family’s vineyard in gorgeous Sicily sunshine and blue skies. Closing the presentation when talking about his grandfather, I heard Nino’s voice crackling gently with emotion, which I found rather moving. It was a beautiful end to a beautiful event.

I would like to thank Nino for an informative and touching presentation, as well as Ricky Heath and everyone at Veeno. My thanks also go to everyone at Weightmans for organising a lovely evening of networking.

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Weightmans Wednesday – Capital of Culture 10th Anniversary

2018 marks a decade since Liverpool was voted European Capital of Culture. Since 2008, it has transformed the city, and like millions of others, I have seen this through my own eyes, filling my heart with nothing but pride.

Last month, I had the pleasure of attending an event held at Weightmans LLP in Liverpool. The event featured an interesting presentation from Robin Kemp of Culture Liverpool, about Capital of Culture’s impact on the city, the upcoming 10th anniversary, and of the future cultural plans for Liverpool.

There was a rich tapestry of information that I learned about Capital of Culture. From the success of events such as the Giants Spectacular, Three Cunard Queens, Liverpool Biennial and Liverpool Pride, the effects of such a prestigious accolade cannot be underestimated. The impact of Capital of Culture, has boosted the local economy, and increased the city’s tourism profile, culminating in Liverpool being named as one of the top holiday destinations to visit in 2018.

Robin also briefly talked about Liverpool 2018, which is a year-long festival of programmes. The purpose of Liverpool 2018 is to celebrate the city’s cultural and creative heritage, and also to plan for and build upon the next decade. The festival includes events such as the Chinese Terracotta Warriors, Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta, Bordeaux Wine Festival, Future World of Work, Liverpool International Music Festival 2018 and many more interesting events. Looking at what Liverpool 2018 offers, this promises to be a creative, innovative and thought-provoking programme, which will showcase the city’s creativity to a national and international audience.

Capital of Culture has also helped Liverpool to attract new investment. This is evident through the development and success of major conference attractions held at ECHO Arena Liverpool and Exhibition Centre Liverpool, which has attracted major UK and international events. Such examples including the 2016 Labour Party Conference, MTV European Music Awards 2008, BBC Sports Personality of the Year, and the International Business Festival, amongst many other high profile events.

To conclude, I would like to express my thanks to Robin for giving a great presentation, and for whetting my cultural appetite. Finally I would also like to thank everyone at Weightmans, for organising an entertaining evening of culture, networking and conversation.

Bring on the next ten years, and beyond!

Weightmans Wednesday – Leaf Group

Who are Leaf Group and what do they do?

At last week’s Weightmans Wednesday bi-monthly networking event, I found out the answer for myself. What I found was a story not only about success, but also of overcoming obstacles.

The event featured Natalie Haywood, who is the founder of Leaf Group. Since forming in 2007, Leaf Group has grown successfully to encompass a chain of successful bars in Liverpool including Leaf, Oh Me Oh My, and One Fine Day, which has recently opened on Old Hall Street. I have had the pleasure of visiting these establishments, so this was an opportunity to learn about the origins of the business.

Natalie spoke a great deal about Leaf’s business journey. From the beginnings on Bold Street, to dealing with landlord disputes, raising finance, and the growing pains of the business, I was very impressed with Natalie’s story. As I listened carefully, I understood why Leaf has been successful, through offering a unique and successful service, whilst encountering and tackling difficulties.

In addition, Natalie also gave a glimpse into the soul of Leaf Group. This included talking about being creative and experimenting with new ideas, which is very important, because businesses must continuously adapt to remain competitive. At the same time, businesses must remain true to their core values and their customers’ needs, which is difficult to balance effectively, resulting in stressful times and problems that need to be overcome.

I also learned that businesses must be resourceful, resilient and tenacious. The hospitality industry is ferociously competitive, with many casualties littering cities like corpses on a battlefield. Therefore for restaurants and bars like all businesses, it is all about product and the customer experience. Customers have so much choice and the collective power, which make or break businesses.

Upon reflection, I admire Natalie for not only telling the story of Leaf Group, but also of the difficult times encountered. Anyone can speak about how successful they have been, but honestly describing what also went wrong, and of the lessons learned takes both honesty and courage, to reveal a sense of vulnerability to an audience. In my opinion, you learn more when you fail, but how you learn and respond is the key, and I applaud Natalie for showing the path to success involves encountering and overcoming failures.

Finally I would like to thank Natalie, and Rebecca Driffield and Sarah Jennings from Weightmans, for organising an excellent evening of networking.

Weightmans Wednesday – Liverpool Organic Brewery

Today the beer industry in Britain is changing, with the rise of micro-breweries. Creating their unique brand of real-ale, made from traditional and fresh ingredients, micro-breweries are proving very popular with the beer-buying British public.

At this month’s Weightmans Wednesday event in Liverpool, I was delighted to listen to an interesting talk from Mark Hensby of Liverpool Organic Brewery. Along with a packed audience, I was very keen to hear the story of the brewery’s success.

From the beginning of the brewery in 2008, to the success of Liverpool Gin and Real Ale Events, Mark gave a very eloquent talk, taking the audience on a journey. Even more pleasing was that Mark also allowed for audience participation throughout. Listening carefully, I was impressed with how Mark replied with modesty, dignity and humour.

Mark explained about his background, setting up the brewery, growing it and also how it has hosted many successful beer festivals, through Real Ale Events. Examples of such festivals include St George’s Hall and most notably St Luke’s Church, which have been successful. This has resulted in the positive effect of helping to breathe life into Liverpool’s historical landmarks, generating publicity and revenue. There was also a mention of a rum and prosecco event, which drew humming sounds of delight, from some audience members.

In difficult times, when the general beer market is declining, the real-ale market is growing. I learned the number of micro-breweries in the UK have grown from 400 to 1600 today, which is a clear sign of the popularity of naturally created ale. If there is a lesson to be learned, it is that market trends fluctuate, which apply to every industry.

Liverpool Organic Brewery has grown to be a real asset. Reflecting on the event, my opinion is that it captures the spirit of what is great about Liverpool. Not only has it been successful with customers in the UK and beyond, but it incorporates and respects the city’s identity, whilst promoting it internationally. The brewery also provides a wide variety of naturally crafted ales.

I would like to thank Mark Hensby, and also everyone at Weightmans for putting on an excellent evening. Just listening to Mark’s story was well worth the excellent turnout alone.

Weightmans Wednesday – National Museums Liverpool

At last week’s Weightmans Wednesday, I was delighted to listen to Fiona Philpott and Sandra Penketh from National Museums Liverpool (NML). This is a group that consists of 8 free museums and galleries, providing various historical, geographical and contemporary collections and exhibitions. These venues include the Museum of Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery and the World Museum, employing 450 full-time staff.

Listening to Fiona and Sandra, I learned about how successful NML has been for the city. This is because MNL’s economic impact on the Liverpool City Region cannot be underestimated, with 3 million visitors attending the city’s museums and galleries each year, contributing £53 million to the local economy.

NML’s success is down to the tremendous effort put in behind the scenes. Organising successful exhibitions require painstaking negotiations with domestic and international partners, devising alternative ways to maximise resources, and identifying what exhibitions will be effective to reach audiences. In addition to the above, having good background knowledge of subjects related to exhibitions, is also very important.

I also learned from Fiona and Sandra about NML’s willingness to try new things. A classic example is by encouraging and providing creative opportunities for contemporary artists, through the John Moores Painting Prize, which invites contemporary painters to submit and display their works. NML also strongly values the importance of education by working with schools and communities, and promoting social change and equality, by tackling social, historical and contemporary issues. An example is their Pride and Prejudice research project, and the Art of Solidarity exhibition, which explores, educates and presents untold stories, through interactive and accessible means.

Fiona and Sandra also touched on some of the upcoming exhibitions. An example is the Terracotta Warriors, which is coming to Liverpool in 2018. Whilst I have already seen pictures of the exhibition, it has already attracted considerable media attention, and I also believe it to be a real coup for the city of Liverpool, to display this interesting exhibit. Therefore I sincerely hope the Terracotta Warriors exhibition proves to be a major success for NML.

I would like to personally thank Fiona and Sandra for providing a culturally enriching talk. My thanks also go to John Kemp, Henry Sterling and Sarah Gerard of Weightmans, for organising an entertaining evening of networking. My thanks also go to Prescient, for providing a sumptuous buffet, which complimented the experience.

To conclude, Liverpool is a city with plenty to offer from a cultural perspective. With a tremendous wealth of art and history exhibitions, there is so much to visit and learn, from the landmarks, museums and galleries across the city. NML provides many opportunities to educate and enrich the lives of everyone, making it a valuable asset to the city of Liverpool.

Weightmans Wednesday – Mowgli Street Food

Whenever I receive an invitation to a Weightmans event, I always look forward to not only networking, but also listening to the stories of others. I see these as opportunities to learn from speakers and fellow attendees, where personal stories are told, rich in heartfelt tone, humour and experience, lifting the human soul and encouraging a belief that anything is possible. A recent example is my experience of last week’s Weightmans Wednesday event, where I had the pleasure of listening to the excellent Nisha Katona of Mowgli Street Food.

Along with her success as a restaurateur and curry evangelist, Nisha has also written two books called “Pimp my Rice” and “The Spice Tree”, along with writing for newspapers such as the Independent and Telegraph. In addition, Nisha has also appeared on television, and you can also find her on Twitter and YouTube.

The audience and I were wowed by her personal journey, from her beginnings as a barrister for 20 years, to founding Mowgli in 2014, along with its subsequent and successful growth. Nisha also spoke about building Mowgli’s success through the back of social media, in addition to helping others. This included sourcing local suppliers, and working as part of a close-knit and supportive community of residents, fellow restaurant owners and small businesses. Located in the unique and eclectic surroundings of Bold Street, Mowgli is one of Liverpool’s popular dining establishments.

Listening to Nisha, I picked up on her passion for homemade Indian cuisine, and of the pride in her work.  To be successful involves taking risks, thus requiring faith and confidence in yourself and your abilities. Other useful points that I picked up, were the importance of integrity, knowing your strengths, surrounding yourself with good people to delegate, as well as remaining true to yourself and your brand. A final and most important characteristic is the ability to tackle and survive setbacks.

My thanks go to everyone at Weightmans for organising a fine evening. I would also like to personally thank Nisha for sharing her heartfelt story. It was not only inspirational, but also powerful, and her eloquently chosen words contributed to lifting the evening, into the realms of unforgettableness. For me this was one on my favourite ever Weightmans Wednesday events.

To conclude, Nisha’s success shows that you can follow your heart, and pursue your passion for something that is a labour of love.

Weightmans Wednesday – RNLI

As a seafaring city, Liverpool has a proud nautical tradition. From the Pier Head to all over the UK and beyond, many sailors have rode the waves. However the coastal waters are also dangerous, to the unprepared and unwary. This is why the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) since 1824, has been the saviour of thousands.

At last week’s Weightmans Wednesday, I listened to a talk given by Tony Clare from the RNLI, about the charity’s work. Drawing on his 40 years experience as a RNLI volunteer in New Brighton, Tony delivered an interesting insight into how the organisation originated, how volunteers put their lives at risk to save others, the importance of preparation, and how the RNLI has evolved over the years. I also appreciated how Tony included touches of humour, throughout the talk.

In addition, I also learned about how the RNLI also works with communities. These include educating diverse groups and local authorities, on water safety at beaches, in addition to advising boat owners on correct life jacket usage and maintenance. Therefore whilst I was aware of the RNLI’s dedicated work in rescuing people at sea, I had no idea about their proactive community work, to raise awareness and prevent fatalities.

To conclude, I found the evening to be a stimulating occasion, and I would like to thank Tony, for sharing his stories, and for being an excellent raconteur too!