Swygge sat down with Hens With Heart’s Founder Amy Sillince to talk about her incredible mission on sustainable hen party ideas. Amy has been breaking boundaries in the UK since it was founded in 2019.
“Over time you see the challenges, what works and what could be changed for the better.”
We had a cocktail with Amy to talk about Hens With Heart and here is what she had to say…
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into the industry?
I’d say there are two paths that led me into being a social entrepreneur and the sustainable wedding industry. The first was indeed my personal participation in hen parties - as both an attendee, and Maid of Honour planning numerous hens over the years. Over time you see the challenges, what works and what could be changed for the better.
My other path, that really led me to the idea for Hens with Heart, is my own relationship with volunteering and community support. Since 2016 I’ve been committed to giving my time and skills back in various ways - supporting the homeless, women’s charities, and acting as a mentor for LGBTQ+ youth and The Prince’s Trust are some.
What is Hens with Heart?
Hens with Heart is the first and (as far as I’m aware) only hen party company that’s devoted specifically to socially-responsible hen party celebrations. That could mean choosing activities that give back to people or the planet, making sustainable and zero-waste choices, or doing some volunteering or fundraising.
We promote sustainable small businesses that offer hen party activities and we collaborate with charities to develop group volunteering opportunities for hen parties that are really fun to do as activities for your friends. The website is a resource of all these hen do ideas, and the businesses and charities you can choose to do them with.
Tell us the history and inspiration for creating the organisation?
It’s quite predictable… I was on a hen do! One day in 2019 I was at a hen party when I realised how these two group activities - hen parties and volunteering - could combine to become something that’s both fun, and a really powerful feel-good moment for everyone.
Since that moment I couldn’t un-see the potential for hen parties to celebrate in ways that make a difference to others as well. Whether you give some time, money or just some of that great hen party energy there's a way to help the world, while having the celebration you’ve always dreamed of.
What has been the biggest obstacle you’ve faced as an organisation/charity/business?
I’d say the biggest obstacle is getting people to see what a hen party can mean and include from a different angle. Many people who get married have a clear image of what they want their celebrations to look like, which they may have been attached to for years.
I don’t expect anyone to detach entirely from their dream hen do, but I believe there is room to tweak it or replace something that makes it more friendly for the planet and to help other people. Being more socially conscious can only add to your celebration with another layer of meaning and love.
What social challenges do you wish for Hens with Heart to overcome?
Hens with Heart doesn’t have one particular social challenge that we target, rather we want to help hen parties support a social cause that’s meaningful or interesting to them. That’s why volunteering at a hen party can be such a fun activity - because it aligns with the values of the bride and her friends.
We build partnerships with all sorts of charities who would love to welcome hen parties as volunteers; from helping charity shops with Oxfam, to baking a birthday cake for a child whose family can’t afford one, to doing a beach clean in support of the Marine Conservation Society.
Everything we offer is underpinned with sustainability as well, as we believe that hen parties shouldn’t cost the earth.
“Being more socially conscious can only add to your celebration”
Do you intend to scale Hens With Heart, if so how?
Absolutely! In fact, that’s what I’m working on this year. Until now it’s been a source of inspiration and a resource to help brides and hens make their own plans.
I’m working on some packaged full-day activities you can book through HWH to make it much easier to give back and celebrate at the same time. And, watch this space for some really fantastic sustainable hen party accessories…
Where has Hens with Heart taken you, do you have a favourite memory?
Oh that’s hard to choose… then I’d be picking favourites amongst hen parties I’ve arranged or helped! Each one has its own distinct special memories and in the end that’s what hen parties are - these moments in our lives full of friendship, love and fun.
What is your favourite cocktail?
Soho House Barcelona used to have a cocktail on their menu called the Ginger Cosmo - and I still ask them to make it when I’m there! It’s Carrie Bradshaw with a little extra spice.
What is your favourite thing to do when it comes to giving back to the community?
Personally, I’m really passionate about supporting the homeless because you can do it on your own, at any time and at any scale. It can be as simple as giving someone a smile when you walk past or offering to buy them a cup of tea on a cold morning. Or if you’ve got more time, making sandwiches to hand out or working at a local soup kitchen.
Amy’s Top Tip: One tip I always give is that homeless people can lack personal hygiene items and the little bottles you get in hotels are perfect for them because they’re not big or heavy to carry around. So if you’re staying in a hotel for a hen do, or any time you travel, grab the soap, shampoo and anything else like toothbrushes or combs to give to homeless people. Also, giving sanitary care items to homeless women is really supportive.