‘Makers Across Borders’ with special guests from Indonesia

Makerhood is all about local. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t interested in things outside Lambeth. In the past five years we’ve come across more and more makers all over the world who are working to strengthen their local community and to bring local makers together. So we were very excited to host our first international speakers at a Makers’ Club meeting on 8 February at the Brixton Pound Cafe.

Our special guests at the meeting were Kadek Febryanti (Febry) and Ellya Zukhaylla. Febry manages communications for the Tunjung Womens’ Creative Project in Bali and also works as a freelance buyer of fairly traded crafts for Shared Earth UK while Ellya is a Lecturer in Industrial Design at the Sepuluh Nopember Institure of Technology in Surabaya, East Java, who researches small scale craft production businesses.

Picture of Febry and Ellya

Febry and Ellya are visiting the UK from Indonesia as part of the Create Connect Sustain research project run by the University of Sheffield. They came along to Makers’ Club to meet Lambeth-based makers and to share the challenges of developing businesses as makers. As it turns out, many of the challenges are the same wherever you are based!

Photo of makers in discussion

After short talks and a discussion on the joys and challenges of trying to succeed as makers, we shared possible solutions to some of the problems we currently share:

Selling & Promotion:
Using social media – it’s free!
Including link to own website on social media profiles
Collaborating with others
Selling via someone else – shops and markets
Promoting each other’s work
Telling our story / the story of the product/s

Running a business:
Education – learning new business skills
Networking – sharing ideas and experiences
Taking part in pop-up events and markets
Developing an online presence
Having the time and money to allow for experimentation, development, failure

Time management:
Evaluating each task regularly according to specific criteria
Prioritising activities and focussing on what’s really important
Recording exactly how we spend time
Exercising self-care and sticking to boundaries
Scheduling social media posts and dealing with email at fixed times
Having something to work towards
Saying no to “should”

Photo of post-it notes from the discussion

It was interesting that these tips applied whether you’re a maker in Indonesia or Lambeth. And it was a great way to meet new friends from both near and far.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to our special guests, Andy and Ann from the Create Connect Sustain research project and all our fabulous Makerhoodies for generously sharing their experiences. Now, if only we could make a return visit to Indonesia some time….

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May Makers’ Club: copyright and licensing

Intellectual property issues are important at every stage of an artist’s and maker’s working life and can be central to commercial success – but this area can be hard to navigate.

This Makers’ Club event will focus on IP and copyright, helping you understand what is relevant for you.

Our speakers are:

  • DACS: Established by artists for artists, DACS is a not-for-profit visual artists’ rights management organisation. Passionate about transforming the financial landscape for visual artists through innovative new products and services, DACS act as a trusted broker for 90,000 artists worldwide.
  • Elena Blanco: Makerhoodie Elena is a South London artist who’s experimented with different ways of earning an income from her work, including licensing a design for postcards with a large international company. Elena will share her experience of licensing of her art and the issues to consider when doing so.

When: Tuesday 24 May, 7-9pm
Where: Travelling Through art hub, 131 Lower Marsh London, SE1 7AE
Cost: Free for Makers’ Club members, £5 for others – please book through Eventbrite.

March Makers’ Club: Pop starts – setting up in Pop Brixton

 


Setting up your own retail outlet is exciting but daunting.  How do you find the right premises? How much does fitting and display cost? What rules and regulations do you need to be aware of? Do you need extra staff?

Three Makerhoodies tell their stories of setting up their units in Pop Brixton, both individually and as part of a group. Their experiences and advice will be invaluable to all makers who dream of having their own shop one day!

Our lovely panel of speakers who will be sharing their experiences are:

  • Sarah Bennett of Make Do and Mend runs her own vintage boutique in Pop Brixton, where she also runs workshops and offers alterations. Sarah is also the organiser of the Vintage and Makers’ Market being held at Pop Brixton on Easter Saturday 26 March.
  • Cloudia Vardon of Emethicaluxury is a designer and visual merchandiser with an MA in Design. She combines the ideas of ethics and luxury in her clothing lines with an “Afropolitan” twist, and is a member of the Copop collective in Pop Brixton.
  • Miri Shalom of Vintage Rose Jewellery makes bold, contemporary jewellery inspired by  nature and the spirit of life. She is also a member of the Copop collective.


We’ll be meeting in Pop Brixton itself, so you can see the speakers’ outlets for yourself along with the range of other start-ups and businesses.
And of course there is the usual opportunity to network with other makers and catch up with their news and gossip!

When: Tuesday 22 March, 7-9pm
Where: Pop Brixton Events Space, 49 Brixton Station Road, London SW9 8PQ
Cost: Free for Makers’ Club members, £5 for others – please book through Eventbrite.

January Makers’ Club: Scaling up

Making a living as a sole trader can be a big problem for creatives. One solution is to scale up your business, decreasing your production costs so you can supply larger stores.

At our January meeting, Erica Purvis (right), community manager and expert in sustainable design at the Central Research Laboratory, will talk about the CRL’s approach to scaling up and sustainability considerations associated with this.

Alongside Erica, our friends from the Remakery will be talking about their experience of scaling up their work on a project for Cabana restaurant in Brixton last year. Tips on what to do – and not to do – if you want to scale up your creative business will be given based on their experience.

And of course you will have the chance to network with other creative businesses, exchange ideas and views and catch up on the latest creative gossip! 🙂

When: Wednesday 20 January, 7-9pm
Where: Remakery, 51 Lilford Road, London SE5 9HY
Cost: Free for Makers’ Club members, £5 for others – please book through Eventbrite.

February Makers’ Club – Product Surgery

Getting feedback on your work from shop owners and buyers is invaluable for makers so we were very excited to run a Product Surgery for this month’s Makers’ Club. Makers brought along an example of their work and got feedback from our two fabulous experts – Liz Clamp, owner of Smash Bang Wallop fashion and homewares shop in Crystal Palace and Jane Doxey, retail and product development consultant and ex-buyer for Liberty and Marks and Spencer.

Here are a few photos and some twitter feedback from makers.

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Big thank you to @makerhood Liz @smashbangwallop Jane @CreativeNRetail for the confidence boost & great advice!  DSC_1573_adj

What an amazing session wiv @makerhood Liz @smashbangwallop Jane @CreativeNRetail Totally inspired for hitting the high street. #creativebiz  ProductSurgery0215_adj

@CreativeNRetail @makerhood thanks for such a great workshop, love getting feedback and new ideas for moving forward!

Makers’ Club: Pitching to shops and press

Last Wednesday was our August Makers’ Club on the topic of ‘Pitching to shops and press’ held at the lovely venue of Brixton Impact Hub. We chose the topic of pitching because, although it seems far away, it’s around this time that makers need to begin thinking about Christmas if they want to make the most of the opportunities it offers. Persuading shops to take your work and being featured in press and on blogs are two ways to raise the profile of your business.

Our two speakers this month were Binki Taylor and Kim Winter. At the meeting these expert speakers gave tips on how to approach businesses, journalists and bloggers for collaborations, sales opportunities and features.

RunnyCustard: Makerhood: Makers Club: Pitching 13/08/14 &emdash; Makers’ Club: Pitching to shops and press 13 August 2014

There was a great turn-out of makers for the meeting – even though it was August and the height of the holiday season! It was fantastic to see old friends and meet new Makerhoodies and non-members, and hear about their experiences and adventures in making. Makers were at all different stages of their journey, from not selling at all to supplying independent shops and even a small supermarket chain.

Our speakers personal and professional experience as maker, independent shop owner, coach, editor and south Londoners shone through as they advised makers on questions about following up on positive press leads, how to pitch over the phone and when the time is right to speak to large stores about stocking your work.

It’s not all about the speakers though and it was great to see makers who live and work locally in Lambeth get together, meet one another and talk about their experiences. Who knows where that might lead!

Thanks again to our fabulous speakers, Binki and Kim, to the wonderful Brixton Impact Hub for hosting us and to the lovely Lenny of RunnyCustard for her photography skills.

See you all in September!

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About our speakers

Binki Taylor is a coach-mentor at the School for Creative Startups and co-founder of Circus, an art and vintage homeware store at the heart of Brixton Village Market. Binki is also one of the people behind the launch of the Brixton Design District in conjunction with the London Design Festival which runs from 13-21st September 2014, London wide.

Kim Winter is a director of Makerhood and set up her editorial consultancy Write Expression in 2009, specialising in building WordPress websites for makers, sole traders and small community groups. Kim’s own blog, Flextiles, charts her experiments in textiles, especially wet felting and natural dyeing.

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About Makers’ Club

Makerhood’s Makers’ Club supports makers who live or work in Lambeth by offering the chance to meet other local makers and businesses at talks, business development workshops and social events. We also organise and advertise local selling opportunities. Membership costs £25 a year. Find out more here: http://www.makerhood.com/join-makers-club

Makers’ Club January 2014: Looking back, going forward

Happy new year everyone! So here we are with 2014 stretched out in front of us like a snowy field, all pristine, unmarked and ready for us to play in. It seems natural at this time of year to look back at the year just past and to plan for the new one ahead. And indeed, this was the theme of our first Makers’ Club meeting of 2014 that was held at the Dogstar in Brixton last Wednesday 8th January. We were thrilled that Andry Anastasiou agreed to help makers make 2014 their most inspiring year yet. Andry is a maker and a coach and we knew she’d be the perfect person to guide makers through an evening of creative review and reflective planning.

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To begin, we looked back. Before the meeting we collected together photographs of Makerhood events from the past year. These were printed out and hung around the room like bunting and we invited makers to contribute by adding notes of their significant events and moments from the past year. The result was a collage of overlapping photographs and notes that reminded us of everything we’d done together and individually throughout the year. And what an amazing year it was!

Thinking about what we’d done last year, what had gone well, what we’d learnt from events that didn’t go so well as we hoped, and what had happened that we could build on this year, set the scene for Andry to lead us through planning our themes and actions for the year ahead. But first, hot chocolate!

Andry_portAndry told us that hot chocolate helps set a relaxed, comfortable and indulgent atmosphere for her annual creative review. And it certainly seemed to work its magic at Makers’ Club where making tea and hot chocolate gave makers a chance to chat and work together to come up with the perfect ratio of chocolate and milk to create the necessary liquid inspiration.

Hot chocolate in hand, we then settled down for Andry to talk us through the two review activities she’d prepared. The first was an individual activity centred around writing, the second activity was carried out in pairs and focused on conversation. In both activities, Andry encouraged us to think about moments when we felt at our best during the last twelve months and to consider what contributed to these moments, what we did to make them happen – and how we might enjoy many more similar moments in the year to come!

In the short discussion at the end makers said they found reflecting on the past year both challenging and inspiring. We’re certainly looking forward to see where this inspiration takes them – and us – in 2014!

 

Makers’ Club meetings are held on the first Wednesday of every month. They are free for Makers’ Club members and £4 for everyone else. To become a member of Makers’ Club we ask for an annual contribution of £25 that goes towards the cost of running Makerhood. If you live in Lambeth and are interested in becoming a member of Makers’ Club then you can sign up here: http://www.makerhood.com/join-makers-club