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MEET: Karla & Gemma

The sisters behind Hunt&Gather events

MEET: Karla & Gemma Image
Running markets has become a way of life for sisters Karla & Gemma, who have been bringing a fresh approach to Newcastle's market scene.
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With a bunch of markets on constant rotation, these ladies make running events look like a walk in the park. Curious to know just a little more, we caught up with Karla and Gemma at their most recent event, Street Feast and quizzed them about what market life is really like.
Hi ladies, thanks for taking a few moments out from setting up to chat to us. 4 years on, Hunt&Gather has evolved so much, but it’s still a small team who manage to pull together all these amazing events, right?
Yes, it's still us and our amazing team. We are a tight knit crew of 7, and we also have the best group of graphic designers, stylists, accountants, photographers, suppliers and stallholders. Hunt&Gather has always been about the collective, it's never been all about us. 

Oh, and we can't forget our awesome folks who are still there waving our flag at every single event.

You're sisters, but who really is the boss?
Haha funny, we both are, we are a good team and we make all of our decisions together. We know what our individual strengths and weaknesses are and we work to them. Being sisters means we can talk straight, so we don't waste time mincing our words. We have similar taste and think alike, so that's definitely an asset :)
Street Feast
With eight children between the both of you, how do you do it?
Hmm, depends on what time of the day you ask that question, haha. No, in honesty, again it takes a village... supportive family and husbands, great friends, having wonderful au pairs, and being unbelievably organised. Having kids definitely makes us focused and really great at prioritising (we aren't time wasters that's for sure)! In saying that we do make sure that we keep life balanced, we make time for work, time for play and make sure that we are available for our family. 

Don't get us wrong, we aren't saying it's easy and it's been a real learning process, but we feel like we finally found the balance! We are just so lucky that we are both experiencing the same thing (we both have 4 young kids and run a business), so we are in the boat together and when one of us is having a bad day(s) the other is there to pull them through.

When we started the business we had 4 kids between us, I [Karla] remember being in business meetings with my 4-month-old vomiting all over me. I was mortified at the time, but then realised that these are the things that make us human, and the type of people we choose to work with work would just hand over a tissue and a wine!

What has been your biggest challenge since you started?
Having enough time to do EVERYTHING we want (and there is a lot on the list!) But this also means that we can only pick the best of the best, so it's a great filter. 
Street Feast

Street Feast

So being a market organiser looks pretty fun. Can you tell us some of the home truths of market-organiser-life? 

No, it is fun! We wouldn't do it if it wasn't. Don't get us wrong, it does come with its challenges, but that's the life of an entrepreneur - up, down, why am I dong this, up again, I am loving this!

We work hard, that's the truth! There are many high pressure times, long days, early starts and late nights, people and conflict management, expectations to meet, politics, risk, deadlines and budgets and then there is the whole business world to navigate. Street Feast
Street Feast
Does each market get a little easier to organise?

The first of anything is always the most challenging, then making every one better than the last tests your abilities. We always worry if something feels too easy, or we are cruising along doing the same old same old, we don't sit in that space very comfortably. We are always looking for the next thing, how to do something better, it's exciting and keeps us fresh. 

You’re extremely hands on with each event you produce, has that been the key to your success?
Absolutely, quality control is everything to us. We oversee the whole process, from concept, to branding, to planning, event day and wrap up. We are still the last ones at every event picking up rubbish because that reflects on the way we do business here at H&G. There are no princesses around here!
Street Feast
Hunt & Gather
Why else do you think there has been so much love out there for the Hunt&Gather events?
Ahhh we love the love!! We believe it's because people are feeling connected to the Hunt&Gather community and to the events we create and because they are having a damn good time! We sure are, so we hope they are too:)

It was always important to us that we earned our following, and that we weren't forcing paid advertising down people's throats, we wanted to have a genuine relationship with our customers, and we wanted our work to speak for itself. It matters to us that people are enjoying themselves at our events, as that is what motivates us to keep doing more.

We design a whole event thinking about what the customer is doing at every moment and location, who they are with, how they are connecting with the experience, and how they feel when they walk away... wanting more :)

Is market life something you can see yourselves doing for the long term, or do you both have other business aspirations?
Oh yes, we love it! We are definitely keen to produce more unique events! Newcastle is an exciting place to be at the moment, there is so much positive change on the horizon and it's so great to be part of that.

What’s up next for H&G events, there’s got to be something big on the horizon?
We have soo many fun ideas and as always have something big on the way, but we can't let the cat out of the bag just yet!!

As always, love chatting to you girls!
Gemma & Karla

If you missed the last Street Feast be sure to get along to the next one on Saturday 22nd July or catch Hunt&Gather at Gregson Park this Saturday 15th July.

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