Today I met up with the team from Radiance, a lighting and craft shop in Hebden Bridge. They were kind enough to discuss my research and the current lighting and craft market. The shop was founded in 2005 by lighting designer and author of ‘Illuminate’ Hannah Nunn. The shop is now run by her daughter Ffion.
After meeting Ffion and Julia in the shop I asked them a number of questions to inform my research. Firstly I asked if they thought there was still as strong market for traditional craft and customisation product? Ffion said she felt people are wanting to move away from mass produced items. Customers are often looking for a more ethical products and like items which are hand crafted or hand finished. In addition people often seen interested and excited by the prospect of creating their own light shade, crafting a personal product they can display in their home. In terms of selling a craft product she mentioned it was also important to bare in mind multiples of an item are easier for a retailer to sell. Especially when selling online retailers would only have to list one item, create product photo, write one product description etc.
I was also interested to find out what the demographics of the Radiance customer was. As my research showed, they confirmed most customers tend to be female and are usually aged 35+. This is mainly due to the fact this age bracket are generally more likely to have a disposable income. However, there is also a market for younger people who treat themselves, people who make fewer purchased but save up for one quality item. Many people invest in lighting and craft interior product when they are decorating or renovating their homes.
I wondered what in particular what Ffion felt her customers were looking for when shopping for products? Within Radiance she felt many people were looking for items made in England, or even made in Yorkshire. They also like to know the story behind the designer or the item they are purchasing. As Radiance work closely with their suppliers they are able to tells customers where the designer is from and what inspires their work. Handmade products have more of an individual narrative which retailers can share with their customers. In addition if I was thinking of producing a craft kit she mentioned it is important to think about the branding and instructions. This was something I struggled with my last project. The packaging needs to be clear and aesthetically pleasing.
I also asked what the most popular designs are in the store. Ffion pointed out the Lush design light shades, beautifully illustrated, screen printed products. They are mid-range in price, approximately around £40, and have a bold and unique prints. They sell well for both adults and children’s due to their colourful and charming animal prints.
In addition Julia pointed out the Wild Wood origami lampshades which also sell very well. They also costing around £40 and these striking shapes are very appealing as they are bold and contemporary in design.
I wondered if there was a market for children in lighting store such as Radiance? Ffion said children’s products sell well both with parents decorating children’s rooms, as well people purchasing gifts for friends and family. Items which have animals and whimsical characters on them often sell well, for example the wooden lamp bases by Lesley Bisseker. In addition personalised items are popular especially in the gift market. When items are personalised people often feel more closely connected to it as it is one of a kind and unique ti them. In addition with gifting people are often prepared to pay slightly more.
Finally I wanted to know what Radiance look for when they’re looking for designers? Ffion said the work needs to fit with the aesthetic of the shop and so packaging and branding is important. Also it is a good idea for designers to have a complete product with pricing in place, so retailers can mark products up appropriately. For Radiance, ethics such as being eco friendly and using responsibly sourced materials are important. Finally all items must be hand made or hand finished.
Overall this information is great in helping me to understand how create a commercial product which is suitable for my target audience.
Fig 1: Triangle lampshade by Lush Designs (2017) Radiance [Online] [Date Accessed 14th July 2017] https://www.radiancelighting.co.uk/collections/lush-designs/products/orange-black-triangles-shade
Fig 2: Back Gardens lampshade by Lush Designs (2017) Radiance [Online] [Date Accessed 14th July 2017] https://www.radiancelighting.co.uk/collections/lush-designs/products/back-gardens-shade-in-turquoise
Fig 3: Cumulus Paper Lampshade by Wild Wood (2017) Radiance [Online] [Date Accessed 14th July 2017] https://www.radiancelighting.co.uk/products/cumulus-paper-lampshade
Fig 4: Alena Paper Lampshade by Wild Wood (2017) Radiance [Online] [Date Accessed 14th July 2017] https://www.radiancelighting.co.uk/products/alena-paper-lampshade?variant=18989588103
Fig 5: ‘Morgan’ cat lamp base by Lesley Bisseker (2017) Radiance [Online] [Date Accessed 14th July 2017] https://www.radiancelighting.co.uk/collections/lamp-bases/products/morgan-the-cat-plywood-lamp-base