In October 2016, Roman Road Trust commissioned a digital marketing training programme (POW Digital Camp) to help local businesses improve their digital marketing skills. As part of the project, local digital professionals were invited to volunteer their time to mentor local businesses. Janna Brom was one of the mentors and here’s her story.
RRT: You moved to Roman Road in 2015. What do you love about the area?
JB: I have lived in lots of different places in London. I lived in the North, in Brixton, and in Dalston in Hackney. Dalston really did not have the feeling of a neighbourhood. I like Brixton for the communities, the wonderful food, and the people that come together.
I think that Bow has the same potential, especially now it has a lot of nice cafés, creative shops, artists and painters. It’s a real community, very lively and sharing. It’s very interesting to live in that area, especially as I am a creative myself. I get inspired by my surroundings and the people I meet.
For coffee, I love to go to Mae + Harvey. They also double-up as a restaurant and on Friday’s they do an ‘Asian Night’ where they invite an Asian chef to cook. The food is very good and it is a lovely tiny place.
For gifts for your cool friends, I’d recommend Baruch. They have plants, jewellery, clothes, trendy magazines. It’s a tiny and beautiful boutique!
RRT: Can you tell us a bit more about what you do?
JB: I have a digital background: I run a blog about cycling in London (Velondonista) and I have digital design projects as well. From blogging, I gained social media and online social skills that I could apply to my work. So, I combined the two and that’s where my expertise is today. I combine my graphic design, online design and social media skills to help businesses. I help them to perfect their online presence and to attract audiences via Facebook or Instagram (for example) to grow their traffic.
RRT: What was your role as a mentor for POW Digital Camp?
JB: I was a mentor for the owner of Symposium Deli on Roman Road. I also helped the owners of Lama’s Pyjamas, a charity shop for The London Buddhist Centre on Roman Road. The challenge was that as a charity, they did not have a big budget. They also wanted to get their business up and running quite quickly, so it was a real challenge for me too and I really learnt a lot.
RRT: Do you still visit the businesses you mentored?
JB: Yes absolutely! I sort of became an “ambassador” for the businesses. When people ask me to recommend a nice place to eat I’ll tell them Symposium or if they want a charity shop, I’ll tell them about Lama’s Pyjamas. When you get to know about a business inside-out, and the people behind it, you really want to help them. It’s because you see the dedication and work that is put into it. You become involved and you really care for it, and in the end that’s what’s important.
RRT:What did you find rewarding about volunteering?:
JB: Volunteering for this project not only helped me meet and be part of the local community, which is so rare in London, but it opened doors to new opportunities and work right on my doorstep. I couldn’t be more thankful for being part of the team of mentors, it has been a very valuable life experience and I loved every minute of it!
Also, the digital training programme was helpful for people who where interested in seeing how they could make their website “user friendly” and how they could use their website as a tool for digital marketing.