Tonight I attended the Maker Meet up at the Manchester Craft & Design Centre, a bi-annual social meet up. These events are held so freelance designers and makers throughout Manchester can come together, share ideas and make new contacts, connections and potential collaborators. In addition they offer advice surgeries with established designers to help answer questions about portfolio, careers, marketing, and making the most of opportunities. I was lucky enough to speak to both Ruth Abbott and Elle Simms
Firstly I spoke to Ruth Abbott, designer and maker of laser cut jewellery and accessories. She built her career selling her wears online and is a leader of the Etsy Manchester team. I spoke to her about the best ways to market and sell my work online following graduation.
She advised me to look at retailing my products online at various market places such as Etsy or Folky. As the cost to list products is very low it would allow me the time to explore who I want to be as a designer as well as creating and growing my brand image. This is a great way to find out how people respond to your work and what they like, without incurring the costs of mass production. When setting up online stores she pointed out the importance in creating high quality imagery of my products as well as spending time constructing accurate and comprehensive SEO tags and titles. In addition by joining the Etsy Manchester team I will have access to strong network of designers, makers and experts who can offer valuable advice.
Another thing she told me to think about is my unique selling point. Not only what my USP is, but why that matters to my potential customers. When marketing a product it is important explain to customers why your product is unique and why this is important. For example if every interiors piece I made is unique I would want to explain to potential customers this product would suit them as they are also unique and this piece could make their home personal.
I also spoke to artist Elle Simms, her work explores the stories of human interaction though material language. She is also a member of Manchester art collection, Makers Dozen.
After discussing my research she told me to think about how I would entice someone to use or interact with my product? Does my product send out the correct message? Also how would my customers know they’re allowed to use my product? Products can be intuitive if they have the correct language and are easily understandable, for example everyone knows how and why to use a handle. By considering the language of my product I inviting people to interact with it.
In addition while discussing lighting pieces, Elle suggested I consider how a light could effect the way someone interacts with a space. The importance isn’t necessarily the light itself, but the way in which it makes shadows and patterns throughout it’s environment. She also reminded me of the importance of playing and experimenting with materials to inform my piece. In order to create a playful and interactive piece I need to firstly understand how my prospective audience play and interact with items. This research can be used to inform my design.
Overall this evening was extremely useful and this information will further inform the research for my Final Major Project
Fig 1: Minimalist wallet card holder (2017) OhMyGosh [Online][Date Accessed 13th July 2017] https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/522733974/minimalist-wallet-card-holder-wooden?ref=shop_home_active_6
Fig 2: #In-Source. Four. (2017) Eleanor Simms [Online][Date Accessed 13th July 2017] https://eleanorajsimms.wordpress.com/2016/03/10/in-source-four/