coadg bursary :: seo, social media and a film

Katie | December 19, 2013

Decorum confessions of a design geek bursary

It’s a full post this week, as we hear from bursary partners; Daniel Nelson from October Communications, who will be giving 2014’s winner Fanny Shorter mentoring in SEO and e-commerce; Justyna Sowa from Decorum, who will be providing social media mentoring; and Richard Foot from R&A Collaborations, who will be working with Fanny to make a short film about her products.

Daniel Nelson confessions of a design geek bursary

Daniel says, “I was really keen to be part of the bursary as it’s a great opportunity to support designers as they grow their business. I mainly work with smaller companies – it’s really enjoyable to work on projects where you can see people grow in front of you. So helping young designers is exactly what I like to do.

“The advice I would give to all the designers exhibiting at Home London is to engage people in conversation – tell them your story, get it down to a fine art. Don’t be too pushy as not everyone is in buying mode, but do make sure you have the information available. Have wholesale pricing printed to give away, with information on lead-times and how to order. Finally, step off the stand when it is empty to allow people to wander on to the stand without you hovering around them.

“The best bit of advice I was given when starting out was to take the time to really get to know the people you are dealing with. Relationships matter so much and you’d be amazed at how much work comes your way when people know you and know that working with you will be good. Every industry is so small so meeting people and spending time with them is crucial.

“My one piece of advice for a new designer would be: margins, margins, margins! Work out what someone will pay for your product and fix that price, then work backwards to the wholesale price and ensure your margins are really good. If they are not good enough then you need to redesign the product. There is no point in having a great-looking product that will never sell, and believe me if the price is wrong it will never sell.”

Justyna & Charlotte Decorum

Meanwhile Justyna says, “The confessions of a design geek bursary is a fantastic opportunity for new designers to kick start their careers and at Decorum we were thrilled to support such a great initiative. We were running workshops for small businesses throughout 2013, and we know that when you start out budgets are minimal, so opportunities like this and finding people who are willing to help are so important.

“My advice for all the shortlisted designers is to tune into all Twitter conversations around the show, follow the people taking part in that conversation, use the hashtag, see who’s at the show and engage with them. Stay active on twitter, talk about your stand, everything happening around you and give clear instructions so people can find you at the show.

“I was given lots of advice when I started out and all of it incredibly useful, but I think the key one must have been to believe in yourself. You have to get through the good and the bad and it’s about all the bad stuff happening, and you still knowing that what you’re doing is right. Just because one person doesn’t like what you do or doesn’t find it useful, that doesn’t mean you have to close your business. Everyone’s got their own opinion, but you have yours and you have to stick to it.

“If I was to give one piece of advice to a new designer it would be to play to your strengths and never try to be what you’re not. What sells best are personalities, people and authenticity. If you do something you love and believe in it with all your heart, people will fall in love with your products and your stories.

Richard Foot R&A confessions of a design geek bursary

And finally Richard from R&A Collaborations says; “We have known Katie for a while and really like what she is doing in terms of promoting designers and makers – it fits with our aims and having worked together making films for Tent London and Design Junction during LDF13, we thought it would be a good idea to link up again.

“Our advice to all the shortlisted designers would be to grab any opportunities that come your way as you never know where they might lead, but do take the time to go through things first before committing to anything. Arrange a follow up meeting and if things go ahead make sure you have a written agreement.

“The best advice we were given was to be open – we try to be as honest and open as we can with our business and I think that goes a long way. Try to be as personable as you can too, it helps build better relationships.

“One piece of advice for a new designer? Know your personal stories and tell them to people, why you do what you do, what inspires you and what you enjoy about making your work? This is what people connect with.”

Don’t forget to come and see all the shortlisted designers at Home London at Earl’s Court, London, 12th – 14th Jan 2014.

With thanks to confessions of a design geek bursary partners: Home London, the Southbank Centre Shop, wallunica, Yeshen Venema, R&A Collaborations, Seen PR, Mini Moderns, HAM, Decorum, October Communications, The Design Trust and Jessica Hogarth.

Further Reading for the Especially Geeky ::

Founding Editor – Katie Treggiden

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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