Canberra Lifestyle

The tale of: Fox Meets Bear

Pop-up bell tent events are the newest party and event trend, and we were lucky enough to sit down for a coffee with Jessica from Fox Meets Bear to find out all about her little business providing lasting memories for your special occasion.

Tell us a about Fox Meets Bear and how you got started in the events industry.

Fox Meets Bear is Canberra’s leading provider of pop-up bell tent, teepee and picnic events, specialising in bespoke party experiences. We provide intimate and cosy indoor and outdoor picnics for your next event or night under the stars. If you’re after a stylish new way to host a party, let us create a truly magical space to meet and socialise.

Pop-up picnics are for dreamers, lovers, best mates, kiddy-winks and fun-loving families! I studied Floristy but after years of working in the industry I fell into the Canberra-trap and moved across to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. I guess my interest in bell tents blossomed out of a compromise… my very patient partner is a true hippie-at-heart, but I’m more one for worldly pleasures, goat soaps and espresso martinis – that and I desperately yearned for a creative outlet. Our mantra in life is to ‘meet in the middle’, and so sprouted Fox Meets Bear. Pop-up picnics allow you to embrace the great outdoors while still enjoying those creature comforts – it’s the best of both beautiful worlds! unnamedIMG_4084.JPG

What are the services offered by Fox Meets Bear?

Based in Canberra and servicing the region and beyond, Fox Meets Bear will design and deliver your pop-up picnic in style and completely hassle-free! We offer beautiful bell tent suites along with intimate teepee picnics in which to host unique park or garden-style events. Prefer a casual picnic setting without all the trimmings? We’ve got that covered too! We have outdoor rugs, cushions, pallet tables, poufs, throws, plants, candles and everything in-between. There’s no picnic too big or small – and we can put you in touch with a few clever local platter queens too!

We are dedicated to providing comfortable, bespoke picnic settings, along with a personalised and friendly service to enhance your guests’ experience. Our pop-up picnics are ideal for any occasion, offering a custom-built retreat for you to host your special event. Whether you’re celebrating on a private property, in a local park or in your own backyard, our pop-ups provide a space for guests to mix and mingle in a comfortable and cosy environment. What’s best is we do all the work for you – pitching and styling your picnic, and once the party-goers have called it a day, we’ll return to pack it up too – you won’t have to lift a finger… well maybe to pour yourself a glass of vino!

So whether you’re looking for a fun alfresco backdrop to host a birthday party, baby shower, hens party or high-tea; create an intimate setting to celebrate an anniversary, or even propose to your one true love; treating your mates to a private dinner or garden party, Fox Meets Bear offers fully furnished retreats, accommodating your guests in style, comfort and ease.

During the last year navigating business, have you faced any challenges?

I launched Fox Meets Bear in September and the past 7 months have been a BIG lesson in the art of kicking goals in the right way. Getting stuff done comes naturally to me but starting up a business is a whole new world. I tore up the rulebook early on and discovered a new efficient ecosystem that allowed me to really thrive. I’ve been actively adjusting my work-life juggle too – no amount of money replaces the experiences we have with loved ones.

It’s certainly been a challenging road but I believe success is a mind-set, along with a mix of optimum output and maximum fun.

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What other ‘take-aways’ have you learnt along the way?

I haven’t stopped learning, and I’ve made so many mistakes… but if your business grows from a passion, you’ll never work a day in your life. If there’s a genuine love for what you do, that’s a damn good starting point. You’ll trip up too, but with every rejection comes an invitation to keep going, and you have a choice to accept that invitation or not. Live a life you’re proud of and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.

Give us a good-news story and a not-so-good one…

Let’s start with a positive! #supportlocal

I was blown away by the overwhelming support I received from complete strangers when I kicked things off – I guess I was hesitant to tell my story, be raw and possibly fail. It’s calming and reassuring when you have the army that is Canberra behind you. This start-up is very much ours, not mine. Cheers Canberra.

On the flip side…

Social media. I didn’t know what a hashtag was three years ago. Despite the competitive online world of followers and likes, I’m strict about the account remaining fun – I no longer take it personally if someone unfollows me. I know some businesses use an app to check their engagement rate, but I honestly wouldn’t know where to start. And that breaks my rule about it being fun. I don’t concern myself with algorithms, it’s an energy sapper – my energy is better spent doing a little happy dance every time someone likes my post.

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Who inspires you?

Oh SO many people…

My dreamy husband first and foremost. Super corny you say? Just wait until you meet him! Rob has endured some wicked hurdles in his life, yet still has the biggest, brightest smile you will ever see. He is my sunrise. He brings new hope and light to every single day.

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And not far behind is the local community. I have many fellow fantasists out there who were brave enough to jump and are now achieving great things. In a way it feels like we’re all in this together, and there’s something pretty special about being part of a family you’ve never even met.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone wanting to start their own business, what would it be?

Building a business from scratch can be an overwhelming prospect for even the hardiest of entrepreneurs. Most entrepreneurs have a really big, long-term vision, and it can be overwhelming because it might be impossible to get it all out there at the same time. But if you start from the bottom and find a really easy, scrappy way to test your idea, you can continue to build on it if that initial attempt succeeds. What’s a really simple way of testing whether your idea has legs or not?

I’ve discovered a very important truth too: getting yourself to the ‘start-line’ of anything new in life, means you’ve already won on so many levels. It doesn’t matter what happens next. The fact that you’ve been courageous enough to get there, been willing to go in a new direction or aim for a different life goal, is awesome in itself.

I’m so happy I did, as opposed to just thinking about it for years.

JESSICA BILLS in a flash:

Coffee or tea? Coffee. But make that an extra hot, weak, soy flat white please… yep, I’m THAT girl.

On your bedside table we’ll find: I have a gnarly cross bite so you’ll find my plate soaking in a glass of vinegar water #sexy; a humidifier with my essential oil-of-the-week; and an empty ring box which collects dust as I never take it off.

I could have said anything here, but that’s the reality. #allglamour

Favourite flowers: LOVE this question, but as a Florist it’s a toughie… Magnolias! – as if I don’t have a favourite.

Book you are currently reading: Becoming The Iceman by Wim Hof

Signature scent: Lola by Marc Jacobs – how good is it!?

5 can’t-live-without handbag contents: I typically walk around with only my credit card tucked into the back of my iPhone case. Only when I cross the border does my handbag join me…, Paw Paw cream – for my super-chapped lips, Eclipse mints – for kissing my bear, Hair-ties – for lunchtime gym sessions, Band-aids – for all of the blisters, Bose earphones – to drown out background noise

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