A New Lease of Life For Staple Hill - The Forge & Fern
When a brand new hospitality company wanted our help launching their first pub, how could we say no?!
The Forge & Fern
Nothing gets us more excited than a new venue launch – and when said venue is a brand new concept from a brand new hospitality company, in an area of the city which has been crying out for it, even better! So when the Forges group approached us to help with the launch of their very first hospitality venture, The Forge & Fern in Staple Hill, we couldn’t wait to get stuck in.
The Forges group had plenty of experience in renovating and developing residential and commercial buildings across the South West and when they acquired the old Red Lion pub in Staple Hill way back in 2017, they had big plans to transform it from an unloved local to a vibrant venue, providing great family friendly food and drinks to the local community. We were introduced by our lovely client, Chef Tom Green (shout out to Tom, you legend!), who was working with the team as consultant chef. After we met the business owner Matt, project manager Georgie and marketing manager Sarah, we jumped on board to help with all things strategy, content creation and PR.
When we first started working with them, the team were well into the redevelopment of the space, paying incredible attention to detail across every aspect of the build, design and development of the venue, the menu and so much more. Their ethos of making sure everything was eco-friendly, sustainable and local was a real stand-out to us, so it was imperative to communicate this, as well as the stunning revamp of the venue and the outstanding food and drink menus, both through press and influencer outreach and eye-catching, creative content.
What they needed
What we did
Working closely with the amazing Sarah Baker (aka @sarahfrombath) and the team, we created a two month ‘ramp up’ plan, plotting out key milestones in the venue across social media in order to create our top level marketing plan.
We then booked in multiple shoots to capture work-in-progress content of the menu development and cook offs, as well as the build and design.
Finally, we worked closely with the local Bristol, Bath and South Gloucestershire press to ensure we were communicating all of the relevant updates and opening plans, as well as organising a host of launch events with from local suppliers to press and influencers.
Weekly meetings were backed up with a very active Whatsapp group (who doesn’t love receiving photos of amazing food in development?), all of which resulted in an impressive amount of interest both amongst the local community and from the great and good of the Bristol food scene.
Our content team Dave and Dan spent several days at the venue shooting interiors, exteriors and of course, the entire menu (it’s a tough job) which resulted in a catalogue of photography and video content which gave the team enough content to roll out across social media for several months. When we sent invites out for launch events they were met with loads of excitement – needless to say there was a lot of hype around The Forge & Fern!
"Duchess Media helped us with all things PR and marketing leading up to the launch of The Forge & Fern. They created a channel plan for our social media as well as providing amazing photography and videography of our interiors/menus/launch events. They also supported our influencer launch event which was hugely successful, and covered all press releases before, during and after the launch! Not only has the service they've provided been spot on but they're a great, fun, vibrant team and we look forward to working with them again!"
Forge & Fern
The Forge & Fern opened in July to huge fanfare. Local press covered it’s opening extensively, and working with Sarah and the team to lay out the social media strategy, we opened with over 2,000 followers on Instagram – no mean feat for a brand new venue.
Across the two weeks before opening we helped to organise several launch events, including a suppliers night to say thank you to all of the local suppliers and works people who had helped make the team’s vision a reality, and one for local Bristol and Bath press and influencers, which was attended by over 80 people. Feedback on the night was overwhelmingly positive, and since opening their doors to the public they’ve garnered some amazing feedback and reviews, including an online and in-print review from Bristol’s very own Mark Taylor stating “There was simply nothing we didn’t enjoy about our evening at The Forge & Fern. It’s a major boost to an area like Staple Hill that hasn’t had a destination food and drink venue before, and it’s the most significant Bristol opening so far this year.”
Working with the team at The Forge & Fern was a real pleasure – as this was their first hospitality launch they very much called upon our experience in the industry, and were totally trusting of what we suggested would work and what wouldn’t. On top of the fact they’re a truly creative, passionate and genuinely lovely bunch, it goes without saying we can’t wait to work with them again on their future projects.
Speaking about their experience working with our team, project manager Georgie said:
“Duchess Media helped us with all things PR and marketing leading up to the launch of The Forge & Fern. They created a channel plan for our social media as well as providing amazing photography and videography of our interiors/menus/launch events. They also supported our influencer launch event which was hugely successful, and covered all press releases before, during and after the launch! Not only has the service they’ve provided been spot-on but they’re a great, fun, vibrant team and we look forward to working with them again!”
So whether it’s a new pub, bar, restaurant or commercial business you’re looking to launch we’d love to hear from you!