Friday, August 18, 2017

Fancy yourself a copywriter? Here's a job opportunity

This post is a job ad of sorts as I'm currently looking to take on another copywriter for the Hedgehog Communications team. In the past, I've only gone on recommendations from friends but this time, I decided to open up to applications from the public.

About Hedgehog Communications

With 15 years in the business, Hedgehog Communications is one of the most established copywriting agencies in Singapore, especially for the public sector. There are currently 12 copywriters on the team (excluding me), with diverse backgrounds and experience. All my copywriters work on a freelance basis, although some of them write exclusively for Hedgehog Communications.

What the Job Entails

Depending on your background and experience, you might be asked to write for a specific collateral, typically an annual report, brochure or human interest article. However, what's more likely, especially for writers new to Hedgehog Communications, is that you will be asked to be part of a writing team, for a larger project such as a website.

Projects may be ad-hoc (in which case the work will be in intensive bursts) or regular (eg. monthly newsletters). This is an ideal gig for those who wish to engage in meaningful work with flexible hours that allow you to juggle other responsibilities. Read this post about the philosophy behind Hedgehog Communications. 

Requirements
  1. Experience in corporate or business writing, eg. annual reports, brochures, websites, newsletters, human interest stories.
  2. Writing flair and ability to write to the brief, and communicate clearly and simply. This sometimes involves helping the client organise their content in a way that makes sense for the reader.
  3. Confidence in meeting and working directly with clients.
  4. Reliability and trustworthiness. I can't stress this enough. We always deliver what we promise. 
  5. A strong sense of ownership and desire to be part of a collaborative and dedicated group of writers.
Things to note

Although I have writers who write full-time for Hedgehog Communications, I cannot guarantee work. In short, if you're looking to fill your rice bowl, this is probably not for you. Also, while my writers all work on a freelance arrangement, this doesn't mean the outfit is any less professional. Hedgehog Communications has been around for 15 years and the agency has earned a reputation of being one of the most established and reliable in the business.

In other words, I'm not interested in the following:
  1. Anyone who has done "some writing" or can string grammatical sentences together and think they can therefore be a copywriter. I'm looking for people with years of copywriting experience.
  2. Anyone who wants this gig just because they want flexi hours. The jobs require writing and more writing. You've gotta really love doing this. 
  3. Anyone who is in between jobs or not sure what they wanna do so is looking to fill the time before they move on to the next thing. We are not 7-Eleven. 
  4. A freelancer just looking for more kang tao to boost their own portfolio. Thanks but no thanks. When you write for Hedgehog Communications, you represent the brand and therefore have to be prepared to own it.
Another thing which I've in the past assumed was common sense but realise that they need to be said: If you want to join us, I expect you to find out more what we do and what we stand for. Interview 101 lah, don't meet me then ask what we do. Waste my time only.

Why Join Us?

You might be thinking, after this stern and naggy read (so typical of an auntie), why would you want to join Hedgehog Communications? Mainly because I look after my writers. 
  • You will get the opportunity to write for major clients and be involved in national level projects that freelancers usually find it hard to win on their own. If you hate chasing down jobs and later chasing clients for payment, I take care of all business and admin aspects so you can just focus on the writing.
  • There's a lot of undercutting in the market and freelancers usually don't have much negotiating power. I compete on quality, not price, as I believe in paying my writers a fair fee. The rate you will get at Hedgehog Communications is generally better than what freelancers can command on their own.
  • If you love writing and want to improve, I (and other very senior writers) are always happy to mentor and guide you. 
  • It's as flexible an arrangement as it can get. You choose to take on as many or as few projects as you want, as long as you're committed to whatever you take on.
  • Finally, the Hedgehog team is simply marvellous to work with - all super friendly, fun and collaborative. No politicking or bitching. Most of my writers have stayed with me from the time they joined, I guess this speaks for itself.  
How Do I Apply?

If you are interested, please send your cv and writing samples to monica@hedgehog.sg by 31 August 2017. It's also important that I know more about you and your motivations, so tell me why you want to join the team and how you see yourself contributing.



Monday, August 7, 2017

Our favourite cafe

Like many Singaporean families, we like going to cafes, especially for Saturday brunch. We look up recommendations online and make our rounds to those that sound interesting. However, many of these cafes turn out to be unmemorable, for a few reasons:

1) The coffee served in some of these cafes is weak and insipid or has a nasty acidic aftertaste, like the beans have been over-roasted.

2) Many cafes have very limited food options. Seriously, there's only so many times you can eat poached eggs before it gets really jelak. Quality too, is questionable. More often than not, I attribute a cafe's popularity more to its ambience than its food.

3) Price is a huge factor. I know cafes have to pay rent lah but I balk at having to cough up $16++ for Eggs Benedict or $6 for a latte. By the time you add service charge and GST, you can end up with a bill close to $100 for a family of four. For nothing more than a fancy version of breakfast.

So this post is to share with you the Tan family's favourite cafe to date. This is NOT a paid post. I'm also not related to the owner in any way. I'm spreading the word simply because we love it and all good things should be shared. We started coming here a few years ago and over the years, we've discovered that amidst our cafe hopping, we somehow wind up back here, and the experience has been consistently great. We're like the fickle boyfriend who keeps checking out the new pretty young thing, and eventually realise that the best one is the one he had all along.


The cafe is Oberstrasse on French Road, right behind Lavender MRT station. It's opened by an enterprising young man and is named after the street in Switzerland where he stayed when he was studying there.


The interior is simply decorated but welcoming. You order and pay at the counter, and they serve your food. The menu is typed on A4 paper and the food selection itself takes up 4 sheets. Drinks take up another page and there's one for dessert pies. It's a crazily wide variety of food and we're always amazed at how just two cooks in the kitchen can whip up so many different dishes.

We've met the owner and he told us he's constantly looking at ways to improve the menu and add new items (as if there's not enough choice!) What an enterprising spirit.

You would think that with such a long list of food items, there would be hits and misses, but honestly, we've tried loads of stuff and we haven't found anything we dislike yet. Most of the dishes are seriously delish. We even brought my mother-in-law a couple of times (she's a notoriously fussy eater) and she said the taste reminded her so much of the great English breakfasts she used to have in London.

Here are some of the items we've tried over the past few years:

Norwegian rosti (with smoked salmon) $14.50
Do you know how difficult it is to find good rosti in Singapore? I only know of Marche and the rosti here is better. Crisp on the top, perfectly cooked in the centre and without any oily residue. There are four types of rosti on the menu, just choose your topping.

Mushroom baked rice $9.50
They don't stinge on the cheese so it's a plate full of cheesy, gooey goodness. Again, there are four types of baked rice. Personally, we like the chicken baked rice best.

Grilled cajun chicken with baked potatoes $9.50
According to the owner, this is one of their best sellers. A very tasty option for chicken lovers.

Crabmeat Arrabiata $15
Yes, they serve pasta too! 12 different types, in fact. Their cream sauce pastas are pretty good. This one is loaded with crab meat.

Classic French Toast with berry compote $10.50
I only tried this on my recent visit and I was completely blown away. It is honestly the best French toast I've tried. The combination of berry compote and mascarpone cheese with granola bits elevates this usually boring dish to a whole new level. The portion is huge though - three thick slices, so unless you have a very sweet tooth, I recommend sharing this with someone.

Smoked salmon avocado sandwich $10.50
This is one of Lesley-Anne's favourites - the sandwich is generously filled with chunks of smoked salmon and a hefty spread of avocado. It normally comes with chips and a small salad but she always asks to replace the chips with more salad. They're very flexible that way. Note: you should order this only if you like chewy bread, which is typical of German bread. If you prefer soft pillowy bread, you probably wouldn't like this.

Chicken mushroom pastry pie $10.50
One of the newer additions to the menu. There are two types of pie: chicken and beef. We prefer the chicken as it comes in a creamy white sauce. The beef pie sauce is a tangy tomato base.

BBQ Babyback ribs $18
This is possibly the most expensive item on the menu but you get a long slab of fall-off-the-bone ribs in an addictive BBQ sauce.

Buttermilk waffles with berries $10.50
Comes with butter and maple syrup (the waffle, not the kids). The waffle is light and crisp, not soggy like in some places.

Flat white $4.50
And finally, the coffee! A very decent cup of joe at a very decent price.

We've sampled more food than the above, but I only posted the ones I had pictures of. The poached eggs and big breakfast here are superb, so are the duck confit and molten lava cake. The full menu is available ALL DAY, so you can eat breakfast food for dinner, or dinner food for breakfast, however you wish to define them.

The prices here are truly reasonable, considering the portions and quality, and have I mentioned, all prices are NETT? That's right - no service charge or GST.

Some other plus points:

1) Free wifi (so you can post food pics without using data).
2) Free water (help yourself at a counter).
3) Accessible - it's located a #01-50 Kitchener Complex, which is just behind Lavender MRT station. If you drive, there's coupon parking along the road.

They open every day from 9am to 9pm, except Saturdays when they close slightly earlier at 5pm. I recommend making reservations for lunch as it can get quite crowded. You can book a table online via Facebook.

So support small local businesses and make your way to Oberstrasse! Your tastebuds will thank you.

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