Confusingly, out of six designers in Boost, the Southbank Centre’s mentoring programme, there are two Chloes. So this is our second Chloe, Chloe Lee Carson, of Shlos, and her mentor Helen Johannessen of Yoyo Ceramics. Chloe’s products are the really rather exquisite Exquisite Cups series.
Chloe, what’s the best advice Helen has given you?
C: How to deal with the manufacturers. In keeping on top of the project it is so necessary to stay responsible for the deadlines by chasing up the manufacturers to ensure things are done on schedule. Related to this, is the importance of phoning, not just emailing to discuss things and building up a relationship with suppliers.
What’s been the most valuable part of Boost so far?
C: Being put in touch with people with such a wealth of industry experience. I have been given great advice about manufacturing, branding and creating and running a business. The mentors have made themselves really accessible, which I am really grateful for. The funding has also been massively helpful in getting the product off the ground.
What do you hope will happen as a result of taking part?
C: I hope to get a good response to the cups and hope that they find good homes. I hope to be able to continue to grow my business and carry on learning through experience.
Why did you want to be involved?
C: It felt like a great opportunity and it came at a good time for me. I had been working on the cups for quite a while and felt that what the scheme was offering would be a big help with taking them to the next stage. The Southbank Centre shop is known for being a great place to sell and to have support and mentoring along the way could be invaluable.
Helen, what about you? Why did you want to get involved?
H: I have a great interest in new ceramics (surprise surprise!) and new designers, I am always happy to help if I can. I met Adam Thow through other projects at the Southbank so was keen to get involved on this one.
What single piece of advice would you give to a new designers?
H: Take a risk if you really believe in something. It will reward you eventually – just maybe not in the way expected . That’s what makes it exciting!
Chloe, what would your advice be?
C: Get good at time management. Having a deadline made it imperative to keep to a schedule and complete the critical tasks on time. This was one of the most difficult aspects of the scheme, which is why I would advise people to get good at it, especially when you are juggling employment with designing in your spare time. Give yourself plenty of time, especially when you are relying on manufacturers to make things for you. Unexpected issues crop up and as you are not in charge of physically carrying out the task, you have to allow for things to sometimes take a bit longer.
Chloe, what’s special about your exquisite cups?
C: They are based on the surrealist game ‘exquisite corpse,’ which most people know as ‘consequences’. Each cup displays a different part of three animals or characters that stack up to form the complete images. Once stacked, they can be twisted around to create amazing cross-breed creatures. I have designed three different sets which can be collected to create even more possibilities. The sets are ‘folk, ‘city’ and ‘wild’ and feature humans to urban and wild animals.
How will they make people’s lives better?
C: As well as being functional and fun, they are beautifully illustrated with quirky details that add to the joy and curiousness of the objects. The engaging and interactive element will make them a great conversation piece, something to really enjoy bringing to the table.
Helen, have you learnt anything from Chloe in the process of mentoring her?
H: Chloe is a logical thinker and questions well – I am quite similar. It is good to see how other creative minds work!
And finally, why is mentoring important?
H: Sharing and exchanging knowledge, advice and enthusiasm is key to developing anything.
Further reading for the especially geeky:
Having established confessions of a design geek in 2010, Katie Treggiden has gone on to a career in design journalism, writing for titles such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Elle Decoration, Stylist, Design Milk and Ideal Home. In 2014, she launched Fiera, an independent magazine dedicated to discovering new talent at the world’s design fairs. Her second book, Makers of East London, was published in 2015.
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