Leap of faith

Social media expert, honourary Sheffield resident and sucker for the chance to have a beer in any cool, new venue – unLTD’s Brogan Maguire sits down for lunch with Treat Time’s Hannah Ellis to discuss the realities of working for a start-up and moving up the ranks in your early 20s…

It’s a story you hear a lot in Sheffield, and one not dissimilar tomy own: “I came here for university, fell in love with the city and never wanted to leave”.

Marketing manager Hannah Ellis is no exception, and after first arriving in the Steel City as a bright-eyed 18-year-old University of Sheffield student six years ago, she knew she had found her home.

From the incredible live music scene to the cool independent shops on Ecclesall Road and the quirky nightlife venues like Peddler Market, there’s no wonder Worcester-born Hannah has never looked back.

After working in social media part time at the Students’ Union throughout her studies, journalism graduate Hannah landed a full-time job in social media and video production at the University, which she did for almost three years before leaving for pastures new.

With a wide range of marketing, content creation and communications experience under her belt, an exciting new opportunity to work for a start-up came at the perfect time for Hannah, when she was looking for a way to be more creative and authoritative in her working life.

For a story as interesting as this one, it’s only right that she takes a big swig of her beer before telling me more.

“I had an amazing time at the University and I’ll always be grateful for that,” she says. “But after being there since graduating I knew I was ready to take the next step in my career.

“Being offered the marketing manager role at Treat Time was a little bit daunting, as it was a lot more responsibility than I’d previously had and working for a start-up obviously comes with slightly more risk, but I loved everything the company stood for and felt like I was ready for the challenge. All you need is for someone to show they believe in you, and to have a great support network around you, and the rest you can figure out as you go.”

That mindset is exactly what led then-23-year-old Hannah to accept the position at the corporate gifting company, which is an off-shoot of OPL Leisure Group LTD – a high-end hotel booking and reservations company.

Treat Time works with suppliers from across the UK – and mainly small independents, as Hannah is keen to remind me in between bites of her cheeseburger – to provide top-quality items like cheeseboards, chocolates and experience vouchers which can be sent to employees, clients or friends and family.

It offers a bulk-upload tool, so employers can easily upload a spreadsheet of addresses, or link it to their HR provider’s API, making the process as quick and easy as possible.

“I think it’s really exciting to be working for a new company that aims to make the lives of very busy people much easier, as well as supporting small businesses,” Hannah says. “The fact I get to be involved in brightening someone’s day by making sure they receive a lovely gift is just an added bonus!”

Being trusted in a role that gives her a lot of autonomy and responsibility at such a young age has not only given Hannah more confidence but has further fuelled her passion for supporting other young people in business.

She can often be found spending her evening at networking events and connecting with other like-minded people across the region – and is always on the hunt for new local suppliers to feature on the website.

“I’m very proud to live in South Yorkshire and I feel so lucky to have a platform where I can showcase all the wonderful businesses and creatives in our area. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has in store.”

Well, I’ll drink to that!


Beers and burgers galore at Heist Brew Co

As a Kelham Island resident, it’s no surprise that I’m a sucker for an industrial building as any kind of hospitality venue.

Throw in a brewery, a street food hatch and a whole host of arcade games and I don’t think it could really get much better.

Heist Brew Co, located just down the road from me in an old warehouse in Neepsend, is the perfect low-key place to grab an after-work beer (or during work, in our case) and unwind with friends or colleagues.

The taproom showcases all the wonderful beer the brewery is producing, from staples to one-offs, stouts to sours, as well as guest beers and ciders from around the world. There’s something for every taste, and a large range of wine, spirits and soft drinks if you’re not a beer fan. There are so many options, in fact, that they are displayed on a number of large screens at the bar.

Hannah and I opted for a lager this time – we decided to save the 10.5 per cent drinks for an evening trip, rather than a working lunchtime – served in one of Heist’s signature glasses. It was light, refreshing and just what we needed on a hot June day.

And the best part is that if you like the glasses, there’s a special box where you can drop a donation in exchange for taking one home.

After playing – and winning – on the 2p slot machines for a little while, we sat down and looked at the menu.

The food at Heist is produced by Slap & Pickle, a street food brand that promises ‘banging burgers and fully-loaded fries’.

Interviewing is hungry work, so we both went for the ‘personal cheesus’ burger – their signature double cheeseburger, dressed with burger sauce, shredded lettuce and pickles in a toasted brioche bun – as well as a plate of chicken kyiv fries to share.

The food was ready quickly and as soon as I went to collect it, it was obvious we were in for a real feast.

The double-stacked burgers were oozing with cheese, sauce and meat juices, and every mouthful was full of flavour. The crunchy lettuce and tangy pickles were the perfect accompaniments.

We may have been full, but we couldn’t resist tucking into the huge plate of chips, laden with beautiful crispy chicken, garlic and parsley butter, and parsley and lemon mayo… heaven.

Slap & Pickle definitely delivered on their promise – the burgers were indeed banging and the fries were more than fully-loaded.

Partnered with a pint and some good company, there’s nowhere I’d rather have spent my afternoon.