We are fortunate to have a vibrant community of hundreds of members from all different places across the globe. We come together to talk about tools, tech, no-code and new ways to make creating & building even more productive than before. 

At Makerpad we love sharing our member’s journey through learning no-code, using new skills in their workplaces, building projects and even launching businesses. 

Each week we’ll be highlighting a member from our community and sharing their story, background and previous projects through our Member Spotlight blog post series.

This week we are chatting to Charlie Spokes from London, UK

Charlie is the Founder of Hello Solo and My Friend Charlie

Hey Charlie, great to have you be part of the Member's Spotlight. Can you give us some background and how you first got into no-code? How long have you been using no-code tools and what got you first interested?

I'm pretty new to no-code! Although I have dabbled with building drag and drop websites for years. I really started in no-code only a few months ago because I wanted to build an MVP of a membership platform for a new business idea I'm working on. 

I run a company called My Friend Charlie which is an offline dating events company. We offer activities in London, Bristol and Manchester for sociable singles to attend. We hold a wide range of events, from gin tasting to axe throwing and everything in between! Our events are designed to feel like you’re on a night out with a bunch of mates. I set this business up because I wanted to start something where people could meet up, enjoy an activity and actually talk to each other.

Before starting My Friend Charlie, I worked in finance. So I'm fully prepared for the hurdles of being a female entrepreneur. My background has given me the confidence to set the record straight and make sure my voice is heard. The company has grown over time and it has become clear that there's a big interest in the technology that we have designed and developed. We created a custom event booking platform with chat features to allow our guests and attendees to connect and stay in touch after the event too. ‍

However over the past year Covid has meant we have had to postpone our in-person events for now. This has meant that I've had more spare time on my hands recently. Learning no-code and building a prototype for a new project idea was a productive way to keep busy, bring a new idea to life and learn something new too!

Wow, that has been a big change for you over the past year. A real shift in the projects you spend your time on.  So can you take us through the no-code project have you built recently and what tools did you use for it?

I’m currently working on Hello Solo which is a hub for all of the best dating companies in the UK. From dating coaches, to profile photographers, events, talks and courses. So it’s in a similar industry to my business and it aims to help other dating focused companies to find new clients. 

Hello Solo is my first no-code project and I built my MVP with Webflow, Airtable, Memberstack and Integromat. I’ll be looking at adding Parabola next to automate some tasks. We are currently at the beta stage and we recently got our first group of beta users over the last couple of weeks and so far the response has been brilliant.‍

It’s interesting to see how you’ve adapted your knowledge of the industry to address a different problem.  Thinking more of the future, what are you looking forward to seeing happen in the no-code space in the years to come? 

There's just so much potential with no-code. Really anything is possible. I think for me, seeing the existing no-code tools start to add more mainstream user friendly features. That would give them the flexibility to fully replace other more complex tools, that would make me really excited. 

I’m hoping that we get to a point in no-code where there are fewer work-arounds to figure out and fewer platforms to tie together. Where we don’t need to push a platform beyond its intended use cases to develop our own unique ideas. 

I’m also hoping to see growth and maturity of existing tools as they exist in the ecosystem for longer. The ability to pre-fill a hidden form field in Airtable is an example of one improvement I'm pushing for at the moment! I’d really like to see that. My focus for the future of My Friend Charlie is to expand our existing offering, to build an end to end solution for dating companies and singles too! This will be done by building out a SaaS platform for worldwide singles events. As well as continuing to grow the number of in person events and adding more locations too of course! 

Breaking into the tech industry as a woman and a non-technical founder is a big accomplishment as an entrepreneur. I'm lucky to be surrounded by an exceptional team and a supportive network. That’s invaluable in changing perceptions and succeeding in business in the future. ‍

No-code is definitely making tech accessible for a much wider demographic. Hopefully we’ll continue to see that develop further as more successful products and tools are launched.  Do you have a favourite no-code tool? And what's the next no-code tool you're thinking of trying out?

It's tough to pick a favourite out of all of them. I think based on my first no-code project Webflow probably takes my top spot currently. I’ll be working with Parabola next as part of Hello Solo. 

I'd also like to give Bubble a try in the near future. I’ve heard lots about its app building capabilities and I’d like to see what it can do. 

Thanks so much for sharing your story with us Charlie. We look forward to hearing more about your journey soon! 

Keep an eye open for our next Member Spotlight blog post coming soon!