Recently I visited the annual show, New Designers at the Business Design Centre, London, a diverse exhibition showcasing graduate design talent from across the UK. It was Part 1 – The areas I am most interested in and love to see – jewellery, precious metal work, fashion & textiles, applied arts and crafts, ceramics and glass. There was also One Year On, a curated exhibition of some stunning work of emerging designers one year into their business.
As a jewellery designer myself I took advantage of a series of free talks hosted by Patricia van den Akker director of The Design Trust to celebrate 30 years of New Designers. The Design Trust supports creative designers and makers by offering online business school training, business club, membership and free resources and more – check their website out…
Originally I had planned to attend 2 or 3 talks but I ended up staying for about 6!
I am a big believer in always learning no matter how experienced you maybe in a particular field, profession or talent…
Even though I’ve been making jewellery some years now, business is not my strong point but it ought to be by now….! So I took away some very useful tips, information and advice that I plan to utilise in my creative business which is always evolving.
It’s no secret I’d rather be making and creating all day in my workshop but that’s not going to pay the bills in the long run… so I’d like to share with you a bit of a review of the talks I listened to before I absorbed the wide range of work on display.
First up was Alex Mathers, a freelance illustrator and founder of Red Lemon Club – a platform to help creatives self promote. I’m already a follower on twitter so aware of his work and some helpful hints already. However this reminded me the importance of being proactive rather than reactive. A good reinforcement of those jobs I need to get on with!
Next up was Rachel Taylor, freelance Surface Pattern Designer and co founder of MOYO magazine, Make it in Design and The Art & Business of Surface Pattern Design School. Close to my heart as I originally trained in Surface Pattern Design, this talk was fab and inspirational. I imagine that most of the attendees were fresh graduates and what a wonderful array of advice and encouragement for fledging Surface Pattern Designers – so many exciting and endless possibilities – I so wish I had this talk back in day! But never the less, it is still very relevant to me as Surface Pattern heavily influences the work I create…!
Jane Toft former editor of Mollie Makes, ‘a lifestyle magazine for those who live creatively’ then took centre stage to advise about using social media strategically to promote your wares, product or service.
Now I use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram and I became very aware very quickly that although I regularly use them, (some more than others!) i am not utilising these tools to the highest potential…
Jane shared some useful tips and advice on the above social media platforms and in particular I gleaned a greater understanding behind using analytics – a feature I rarely use and in the case of this wordpress blog I am able to see that people are reading all over the globe! From people in the UK, Germany, South Korea, Spain, Croatia, Australia, Belgium, Denmark to the US. So I’d like to give a big ‘Hello’ to everyone reading and say thanks for stopping by 🙂 How did you discover this site? Please do comment below I’d love to hear from you!
Lara Watson editor of Mollie Makes followed with more tips on how to obtain press coverage, which again is an area for work!
Anna Denise Floor, Illustrator and Senior New Market Development Specialist at Etsy UK (the online marketplace to make, sell and buy unique goods) advised about online selling and setting a shop up within the Etsy community. As I am in the process of setting up my own online boutique on my website I am also considering joining an online selling community to reach a wider audience.
Do any jewellers, designer makers and jewellery and design lovers have any recommendations? I think it maybe time to trial some targeted online marketplaces to see!
Moving on from online selling. The importance of good photography was referenced throughout, after all the visual aspect of showcasing creative work is fundamental – ‘A picture is worth a thousand sales, ‘the designer makers favourite photographer’ Yeshen Venema presented an insightful and practical talk advising on technical aspects of photography, planning a photo shoot, compositional considerations, size ratio’s and styling tips. Again more ideas to apply to my work! I’m going to be a very busy bee…!! Or should I say Photographer Gareth Partington who has been taken many brilliant shots of my work is also going to be a busy bee…. Here are a couple of examples!
Back onto selling, founder Sophie Rees of Designers Makers, an International Agency and online shop for Contemporary Design and Rheanna Lingham co-owner of independent retailer Luna & Curious, were both interviewed by Design Trust’s Patricia on how to get started, selling online, how to identify and approach retailers, tips to sell at markets, pop ups and fairs. For me this interview served as useful reminders on selling but also raised the potential opportunities to enter other sales outlets besides galleries where I tend to showcase most of my work.
Still captivated, the final talk was given by Alison Lewy, Founder of Fashion Angel, an organisation which offers mentoring, networking and access to business funding for fashion industry entrepreneurs. Finance is often an area overlooked by creatives and I figured this talk was another one I should stay for! Some basics I already knew but I still learned about this organisation and some of the great work they do. It’s certainly got me thinking about starting a reward based project by starting a crowd funding campaign such as Kickstarter... so watch this space! This is an area I must research too.
The talks were then bought to a close as Patricia rounded up the afternoon.
A lot to take in overall but many words of wisdom. A fantastic resource for new graduates, new business start-ups and for those going a bit longer (yours truly) to grow, evolve and develop in an ever-changing creative world.
And then it was time to soak up some work on display!!! So much to see…. of course I did not see everything but what I did see was a feast for the eyes. In particular Jewellery and Textiles were on my radar but I’ll save that review for another blog post, coming soon!
Did you visit New Designers? If so what was your all time favourite part of the show?
As always I’d love to hear your thoughts, please comment below and thanks for reading.