By July 11, 2012 Read More →

Jelly French-style

Annette Morris, Languedoc Jelly & La FranglaiseAnnette Morris has been working from home since relocating to a village in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France over 4 years ago. In March 2011 she started Languedoc Jelly to introduce coworking opportunities to people in the south of France:

Living in France has been an ambition of mine for many years. As an online marketing consultant, I have always felt very fortunate to be able to work remotely and move abroad, but since moving to the south of France, I have experienced many of the typical pitfalls and challenges of working alone.

Launching Jelly seemed an obvious step forward, but a free coworking event named after a chewy American sweet, and organised voluntarily, was viewed with great scepticism by my French friends!

A lot of homeworkers I knew at the time were English speakers so to get things off the ground I published information on expat forums. Some Anglophone sites were entirely unhelpful, and banned me from posting any Jelly content at all. Finally, with some great help from other Jelly fans in the UK, a supportive venue, and an article published in The Daily Telegraph, Languedoc Jelly was born.

We have since held dozens of events and a mini multi-lingual regional network has grown – but the greatest need for coworking and support for homeworkers remains in rural areas. Larger towns are generally well catered for with social evenings, colunching, coworking spaces and business networking events happening regularly.

Worldwide, most coworking and Jelly information is published in English, but Languedoc Jelly has – as much as possible – been promoted in French as well as English. Despite this, I have been criticised for being so Anglophone. It seems ironic that whether working from home or working in an office, when small groups of people form alliances, there will always be the office politics!

As a Jelly organiser abroad it is perhaps important to accept that messages can literally be “lost in translation”. Some organisers may wish to structure Jelly and make the concept more commercial. To me the informal and accessible nature of Jelly has provided a great platform to build an international support network of like-minded people.

For now and the foreseeable future, Languedoc Jelly events will remain casual and free. I look forward to meeting you at a Jelly in the south of France.

Posted in: Jelly

21 Comments on "Jelly French-style"

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  1. Jan Minihane says:

    Great piece – I’m all for keeping Jelly as ‘pure’ and un-commercial as possible, as you put it so well

    “To me the informal and accessible nature of Jelly has provided a great platform to build an international support network of like-minded people.”

    Make it more commercial, it becomes a different (not so appealing) beast…..

  2. Annette says:

    Thank you Jan, I guess any entity without regulation is open to change or interpretation. And that risk is increased when languages differ too.

    Jelly is such a great introduction to (and form of) coworking, but keeping Jelly free is one defining factor that keeps it apart from other Coworking or Networking. All these activities have their merits but we will keep Languedoc Jelly events available and affordable for people of any nationality that would like to take part.