Thursday, 2 August 2012

Design Factory Mentoring Scheme - the story begins

As you all know I was lucky enough to be accepted onto the first Design Factory Mentoring Scheme earlier this summer. I applied because, having taken part in the Nottinghamshire Creative Business Scheme in 2010, I knew just how good this could be for me. Before I participated in Notts Creative I was on the verge of giving up on my creative dreams as I was severely lacking in direction and felt I was getting nowhere. With the help of the course directors and the rest of group my confidence grew, I found my creative feet, so to speak, and we went on as a group to win an exhibition at a Derbyshire Gallery, The Beetroot Tree, and have since exhibited collaboratively at several other events, including a very exciting Pop-Up shop which you can read all about here.

So after Notts Creative finished I was all fired up and ready to take on the world (!), gaining several new stockists, taking part in several other exhibitions and my first trade fair. I now know I want to pursue my creative career and in one breath, want to do it all NOW, and the next breath, not being sure of what to concentrate on next. So when the opportunity arose to apply to the Design Factory Mentoring scheme I jumped at the chance.

So what were the issues I was currently facing in my practice and what kind of things did I want to address?

  • unsure of next steps to take business forward
  • setting myself realistic goals
  • lack of marketing strategy
  • focusing and prioritising
  • developing my portfolio and skill set

and how would I use this programme to tackle these issues?

  • draw on mentors experience
  • utilise mentors knowledge of the creative business sector
  • utilising an experts opinion/critical feedback on portfolio
  • forging links with other practitioners
  • being inspired by other creatives
  • help with concepts and ideas development
  • working within specified timescales would help with goal achievement and motivation
  • giving my practice more structure

So there you go, they are the kind of things I had identifies as being issues and concerns. It will be really interesting to see how I get on over the period of the scheme. I'll keep you up to date with regular updates of my progress.

My mentor is Design Factory Fellow, successful business woman, award winner and designer-maker, Debbie Bryan, and having known Debbie a couple of years I knew she would be a great mentor as she is always involved in new initiatives and projects. An established designer-maker herself, Debbie knows all very well the challenges of making your craft pay in these tough economic times and over the last few years has built up a successful business and shop in the Lace Market in Nottingham.

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