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

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Meet the partners: Anita Thorpe, Diverse

Makerhood has many partners and collaborators who work with us to promote the work of local makers and offer them special discounts or exclusive opportunities. So we thought it was time to shine a spotlight on some of them. Here, Anita Thorpe, owner of Diverse, an independent gift shop in Brixton, explains how she has benefited from her collaboration with Makerhood.

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Tell us about how you started your shop, Diverse.
I was a self-employed trainer in the not-for-profit sector, training managers and their staff in how to do their jobs more effectively. I also traded at Brixton Market in Brixton Station Road at weekends, selling sterling silver jewellery. This was seen to be quite risky at the time, selling silver jewellery on a market stall in Brixton – because of Brixton’s reputation at the time – but it went really well and I realised it could work as a shop.

So I started my first shop in 1999 at 54 Atlantic Road. I was there for six years, then at 62 Atlantic Road for five years, then at 65 Atlantic Road for one year! Then the opportunity came up to be somewhere more central, on Coldharbour Lane, so I’ve been there since Christmas.

How did you get involved with Makerhood?
I got a call from someone asking if I could do a presentation at a Makerhood meeting. But I was still running training courses and I was doing a training session in the Midlands, so I asked Jane Doxey, with whom I was working at the time, to do the Makerhood meeting instead. Jane did the meeting and developed the link with Makerhood.

Then at Christmas 2012, Jane suggested bringing in local makers to sell in the shop. We’ve always bought from individual makers as well as from gift companies, but had never featured the makers in this way. So we set up our Makers in the Hood promotion – mainly but not exclusively with Makerhood makers. It was phenomenal – it worked really well. We got a lot of attention through the press and social media – one of the benefits of partnering with a local initiative is it creates a story.

So we did it again in the spring – we didn’t sell quite as much as at Christmas but it still went well. We learned from that, and when we did the Makerhood promotion this Christmas we had stricter criteria for inclusion (Makerhood members only), an interview procedure, and offered some higher value items.

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What have been the benefits to you of collaborating with Makerhood?

  • Giving customers what they want – they like to hear about the provenance of what they’re buying and the story behind local makers.
  • Press/publicity – featured makers and Makerhood spread the word through social media and press. Sometimes makers come into the shop with their entire family!
  • Helping people to learn – this can be infuriating sometimes but I enjoy helping the makers to become better business people. That makes for an easier and more profitable relationship for both parties.
  • Helps keeping both the makers and my business in touch with trends and needs – I can give the makers customer feedback; they give me more insight into how things are developing in the creative world.
  • I’m a showcase for Brixton talent – as the area gets more visitors, this is important – and it helps keep money in the local community.
  • The work is unique – it’s not all over the high street; that gives my business a point of difference.
  • I get to make links with other businesses – for example, I had a call from a maker about another gift shop that might be interested in working with local makers in a similar way.
  • Positive perception of the business – partnering with local people really helps to integrate your business in the community. I often hear people referring to Diverse as “their” gift shop!
  • Social responsibility – it’s a way of building and giving back to the community that supports your business.

So what would be your advice to other businesses considering collaborating with Makerhood?
I’d say get involved! You will gain as much personally and as a business as the makers will, and on so many different levels – including the bottom line! It will affect people’s perception of your business in a very positive way, and help raise your profile.

I’d be very happy to talk to anyone who is wondering whether to become a Makerhood partner.

Diverse is at 390 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton SW9 8LF. You can follow Anita on Twitter @diversebrixton

Makerhood at Diverse Gifts, Brixton

Anita Thorpe of Diverse Gifts, Brixton, has certainly had a stressful few weeks.

Why? Well, she’s been working with Makerhood on the second annual Christmas promotion of local makers – but of course, that has all gone very smoothly. 😉

No – the main reason is because she’s moved shop. It may be just around the corner (from Atlantic Road to 390 Coldharbour Lane), but late-running building work caused several delays. And even now there’s still work to be done – Anita says she may have to come in over the holidays to oversee a new parquet floor being laid.

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Despite this, the shop is looking good – larger, lighter and brighter than the old one, and with a tempting range of work by local makers, including Makerhood.

In fact, Makerhoodies have their own special section of the shop, with lovely work for sale including:

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So if you’re looking for locally made Christmas presents, pop along to Diverse Gifts, 390 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton SW9 8LF. The shop is open Mon-Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 11am-5pm.

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The London Beer Lab

BeerSaskia spoke to Bruno and Karl from the London Beer Lab about the opening of their micro-brewery later this month, and about exciting local beer plans with Brixton Buzz.

Why open a brewery in Brixton?

Bruno: When I moved to London I could not really find a wide variety of beer and I started to home brew. Back in my home town, in Lyon, it is possible to do home brewing courses. I was surprised to find that there were no brewing workshops in London, and I thought to myself “we should do this in London”. This is how it started. I use to work in finance, this is a bit of a transition for me. The first home brewing workshop took place in my flat last year. My entire flat got taken over by brewing equipment, so we decided to look for a place to open a micro-brewery.

Karl: We looked at possible sites across London, Brixton was the best location we could find. We are close to the Brixton high street,…

Bruno: …other businesses, and the community. The other possible sites were hidden in industrial parks. We are close to Brixton Market and the Tube, making it easy for people to find us.

Karl: We moved in February this year, in June we held our first brewing workshop here. The workshops have been great. People have been returning to bottle their beer and have been very happy. A couple brewed wheat beer especially for their wedding.

Bruno
Bruno

What type of beer will you be making?

Bruno: We just brewed some Bavarian wheat beer, and some amber ale. The brewing workshops we do every week will determine what we brew next. It can really be any type of beer, we will see what requests we are getting. In the fermentation room we have some Belgium styles, some altbier and pilsner. We want to experiment, that’s one of the guiding principles of the London Beer Lab. That’s why I wanted to open a brewery really, to brew different beers.

Karl: For the moment we will be focusing on bottled beer. We are also doing a collaboration with Brixton Buzz, they will crowd source the recipe for a beer from local internet forum Urban75. It is great how they get people involved. It looks like people are going for a medium strength pale ale, with something that gives it a bit of a buzz. Brixton Buzz will probably be available in local pubs from mid August. More will be revealed soon.

Will you cater mainly to the South London craft beer connoisseurs, or are you planning to win over a new audience?

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Karl

Bruno: In fact we are planning for world domination.

Karl: It is not like we have different opinions… We both feel that people should not be drinking bad beer. We also don’t think that craft beer should be the preserve of the beard and sandals brigade or yuppies, it should be accessible to people and hopefully we can contribute to that locally.

Bruno: We will definitely cater for the beer connoisseurs, but also introduce beer to a new audience through our workshops. There are now in the region of 50 micro-breweries in London and we are planning to stock beer from other micro-breweries, for people to buy. Alongside that we will be selling our own beer. If we get a feel for the local taste, we may get local pubs interested.

Are you currently working with other local businesses?

Bruno: We are very much focused on getting up and running, and ready for our official opening later in August. We need to get some shelves, and cardboard boxes for the bottles. We are currently looking for a local bakery to work with. The spent grain we have left over from brewing can be made into bread. Do you know a local bakery?

Saskia: Sure.

To be continued. The London Beer Lab micro-brewery can be visited at Arch 41 Nursery Road (row of arches across the street from bar SW9). More information about the London Beer Lab brewing workshops can be found at http://londonbeerlab.com/

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Join us for Brite London: the Makers & Creatives edition

Are you running or thinking about starting a creative business? Looking for advice on how to succeed? Come to our free business development event on 18 June.

Makerhood has teamed up with Eventbrite to bring you the Brite London: the Makers & Creatives edition – a night packed with great advice from successful creatives who’ve done it all themselves.  Insightful talks, Q&A and plenty of time for chatting to fellow makers. Drinks and snacks will be provided, too!

The event is at 7pm on 18 June at the Craft Beer pub  in Brixton. Please book your free ticket on Eventbrite, or read on to find out more.

Crowd funding: how to raise money for your creative business

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The buzz word has been around for a while, but what does crowd-funding mean in practice? Does it actually work – and for whom? If you are thinking of a crowd-funding campaign, or simply want to find out more about raising funds from the public, this is your chance to learn from someone who’s run a recent successful campaign.

James McBennett is the founder and chief designer at Fabsie, a start-up making beautifully crafted ready-to-assemble furniture. 

Fabsie

For their first product – a rocking stool – James ran a kick-starter campaign, raising over £26,000 and attracting over 530 backers. James will explain how to get your crowd-funding campaign off the ground.

How to use events, workshops and exhibitions to build support for your work

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Events can be great fun and promotion for your business, but how do you know when to use events, and how to run them well?

What are the big Dos and Don’ts, and how do you spend your time effectively?  Organising events is a lot of work – here’s your chance to learn from an expert on how to make that work for you.

Katie McPhee is the Community Manager at Eventbrite UK.

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Katie has organised numerous events, and has seen many others do that – she’ll share her experience of what succeeds and what doesn’t.

 

Social media: how to promote your work on social networks

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Social media is the order of the day, but with so little time and so much to do, how do you pick the right channels for your business? What messages work best? How do you find time to do social media alongside running a creative business?

Hannah Needham is founder of This Is Your Kingdom, a curated online guide to the UK’s most lovely places to eat, drink, walk, think, potter, ponder, snuggle and shop.

Hannah left her day-job to start the venTIYKture with her business partner – soon after launch their readership soared, and they grew a loyal community of readers and contributors. Hannah will share her experience of using social media, how they formulated a strategy, and what was key to their success.

Makerhood: local makers working together

477341_10152162104216515_1013092982_oMakerhood is a social enterprise that supports makers and skills in south London, founded and run by a team of local volunteers. A maker’s life can be rather isolated, working away in your studio (or back bedroom!), wondering how much to charge for your work, worrying about stock, and where to get tax advice… Makerhood supports local makers, builds partnerships with local business, helps with business development advice and facilitates a local network for makers to help each other.

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Kristina Glushkova, the co-founder of the project (and author of this post!), will talk about Makerhood’s mission and how being part of a makers’ collective can promote your creative work.

There are 50 spaces available for the event. Click here to book  yours.

We look forward to seeing you there!

When: 18 June, 6.30pm – 9pm

Where: The Craft Beer Company, Upstairs. 2 mins walk from Brixton tube.  11-13 Brixton Station Rd, SW9 8PA

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Foxtrot Designs on Makerhood stall

A few weeks ago we ran a survey among our makers asking about how they had benefited from joining Makerhood and which benefits they valued the most.

As an incentive to get people to answer we offered free space on our stall at Brixton Makers’ Market on 8 December.

We can now announce that the winner is…Nancy Sealy of Foxtrot Designs UK! Nancy is based in Brixton and makes a range of handmade gifts using a wide variety of materials, including recycled leather, clay, fabric, yarn and more.

She also supplies beautiful ethical yarn – great if you’re into knitting, crocheting or any type of textile or fibre arts.

Tomorrow we’ll have a range of Nancy’s handcrafted earrings and buttons, as well as spectacle cases and purses made from recycled leather – all perfect stocking fillers!

We’re going to be very busy tomorrow, as we’re also giving space to the Brixton Society, which will be offering a guided tour of the market at 2.30pm. So come down to Brixton Makers’ Market on Station Road tomorrow and have a look!

Makerhood at the Windmill Festival

Makerhood at the Windmill Festival

Last Sunday Makerhood took part in Brixton Windmill festival. The festival is an annual event that takes place in the park at the foot of Brixton’s very own windmill (Yes – with sails and everything! Hopefully there will even be Brixton-milled flour in the near future). We were ready and waiting with the other stall holders* when the floats and crowd arrived at the windmill after parading up Brixton Hill.

By offering to teach people how to knit we hoped to inspire the makers of the future, and by offering goods for sale by Makerhood makers Flextiles, Eight B Design, Viv Moriarty and Dreamy Me we aimed to show just how creative the makers of Brixton are.

And we did well! We collected numerous contact details on our Makerhood map from people who wanted to find out more. These names have all now been added to our network – welcome to the Makerhood community everyone!

Makerhood at the Windmill Festival
Knitting and map-making at the Makerhood stall
Makerhood at the Windmill Festival
A young maker
Chuka Umunna, our local MP, stopped by the stall

* Our stall was next door to the lovely people from Brixton Green. Check them out at www.brixtongreen.org

Makerhood workshops at Crafty Fox Spring Market

Join in the fun and learn a few skills at the Makerhood drop-in workshops at the Crafty Fox Spring Market! The workshops are organised by Makerhood volunteer crafters and are completely free.

Saturday 24 March, 12.30-3pm, Dogstar Brixton, 2nd floor – free.

Knitting and crochet, with Viv and Shona

Drop by to learn a few basics, ask tricky questions about that technique you’ve been trying to learn, or bring your own project along for the afternoon. All levels welcome, from complete beginners to experienced practitioners.

Making flower essences, with Andry and Sorell

Flower essences are a great way to  use plants to make  safe remedies for helping you through life’s challenges and changes. You will learn how flower essences are made, and see how formulae are created. For a small donation (to cover cost of materials) you can get your own personalised flower essence formula made up for you on the day.

Drawing games for adults, with Kristina

Kristina will take you through simple yet powerful game techniques that help free up creativity and remind us what it’s like to play with each other. Join this workshop to relax and enjoy yourself – the results can be both delightful and eye opening.

Crafty Social

If you fancy doing a bit of craft and have a project on the go just bring it along and join in the fun. Everyone (and any craft) warmly welcome!

Photos above are from Flickr commons, by sparklerawkThai Jasmine and rosswebsdale.

Makerhood exhibition at the Lounge in Brixton

Don’t miss an exhibition of work by Makerhood artists whose work is inspired by urban landscapes around Lambeth!

The exhibition will be on display at The Lounge in Brixton from 17 October to 25 November 2011, and includes the following artists.

Brockwell Park illustration by Elena Blanco of Dreamy me Brixton

Elena says: “This illustration is my personal homage to the wonderful Brockwell Park. This is a view of the park in spring, when the grass is at its greenest. It has a melancholic, contemplative mood and lots of details that tell stories within the story.

“This is a print from my picture book When Nothing Happens. This book tells the adventures of a girl and her bird friend.

“This book is a celebration of the power of imagination, and the illustrations through it try to inspire a creative and appreciative view of the world. Inspired by 19th-century Japanese prints, they are painted in bright watercolours and a well defined ink line.”

Brockwell Park photo by Rosie Morland of Rosie Makes

Rosie says: “Photography is my main love but I like playing around with various crafty things.

“All my prints are from film (in date, expired, abused, but always loved). I love old cameras and often try to make them do things they perhaps shouldn’t! I take photos of things that catch my eye, regardless of what they are, and every photo has a story.”

Walk the bike print by Pam Williams Studio

Pam says: “I have lived five minutes from Brixton for over 20 years. A library of sketches of Brixton has been collected….while assisting the Brixton Market street traders………..going to meetings of local groups, a little designing here and there…..it is time to share them with you.”

 High Noon screenprint by Kerry Eggleton of Mashka

A childhood existence in London’s schismatic commuter belt has inspired Kerry to explore and express the juxtaposition of nature and metropolis through the medium of print. Her pieces capture the inherent yet unassuming beauty of the spaces created by the convergence of both worlds.

This duality is reflected in the multi-layered process of creating Kerry’s prints, where photographs and found imagery are first digitally manipulated, then the image split into colour layers and manually developed onto screens using light-sensitive emulsion. These screens are then used to print with inks onto fabric or paper, layer by layer, to recreate the images by hand. Through this process Kerry transforms the initial precision of the digital image into a vibrant piece of art, using a wider range of colours, techniques and finishes.

Incognito photo by Josie Dixon Photography

Josie says: “I am a photographer living in brixton who loves her ‘hood. I first moved here 30 years ago and my daughter was born here. I really do ‘heart’ Brixton – it’s therefore such a pleasure to be involved with Makerhood.

“I started taking photographs over 20 years ago, using my boyfriend’s Nikon camera and by setting up a dark room in the attic. I now tend to use digital and take colour photographs mostly because i find them more immediate. This photo was taken in Brixton market the day after the riots.”

Lambeth print by Jack Noel of Sweet View

This limited edition print of Lambeth shows Brixton market where Atlantic Road meets Electric Avenue.

Jack says: “I love London and particularly my own little corner of Lambeth and knew others were affectionate for their local area too. I felt I could offer them affordable artwork that was unique, non-cliched and would allow them to display that affection on the walls of their homes.”

Bus Stop photo by Laura Ward Photography

Laura Ward is a photographer from Herne Hill who is inspired by local people and neighbourhoods, and makes use of available light. She a member of Makerhood and local photography group Effra FC.

The image Bus Stop was taken at one of the many bus stops that surround Brockwell Park. Laura says: “I’m a local photographer who absolutely loves local community projects. A lot of my photography here has been taken in local places.

“I like working with expired film, instant film, and digital. My nostalgic and quirky photography is very much inspired by daydreams, my grandmothers, my love for photographs in record sleeves, steam trains, tea drinking, listening to music and beautiful natural light.”

Brockwell Park Girl screenprint by Ray Stanbrook

Ray is a graphic designer from south London whose prints are inspired by local people and places. He’s always lived in this area, apart from one year in north London, “which I spent explaining to north Londoners how great south London is. They have no idea!”

South London plants textile print by Gillian Arnold

Gillian is an artist based in south-east London. She is originally from Belfast, then studied Textiles in Liverpool before moving and settling in London in 1996, where she completed a Masters degree in Textiles at Chelsea College of Art.

Gillian prints her own fabric for wall art, fashion and furnishing accessories, as well as working on private commissions.

The Lounge is at 55-58 Atlantic Road, Brixton, SW9 8PZ, http://www.loungebrixton.com/

Make It Grow It Sell It

Don’t forget that tomorrow (Saturday 10 September) is the first of the new monthly markets in Brixton featuring local makers and growers.

Make It Grow It Sell It is a real community event – as well as Makerhood, the Brixton Market Traders Federation has worked with London Youth Support Trust, Incredible Edible Lambeth and the Brixton Pound, and the event is kindly sponsored by Veolia.

The market will officially be opened by Lambeth Mayor Christiana Valcarcel at 10am on Station Road. Join us for the start of something great!