Design and the Market - Group Enterprise Research Project - Final Presentation

“Start Creating Jobs For Yourself.”

Judy R Clark graduated from Heriot-Watt University in 2006 with a first class honours degree. Shortly after she decided to move back home, to save money and concentrate on trying to sell her work in various Scottish boutiques. As well as this, she signed up to the Highlands and Islands business course, which provided her with opportunities to attend networking events, exhibitions and arranged fashion events. During this time she met Sandra Murray MBE at a fashion exhibition and she kindly took her on as an intern for one year. Still striving for bigger and better, Judy applied for countless internships with Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood and after many rejections she was accepted to Alexander McQueen, when her idea to illustrate the bottom of her CV attracted their attention. Judy commented that her internship with McQueen taught her primarily how to run a successful studio, how to co-ordinate people and work as part of a team.
“This is something you really have no idea about until you experience it.”
Judy worked as a textile designer for McQueen creating fabrics for swatches or colour ways and producing mood boards. She said she would go back again in a heartbeat but that we shouldn’t underestimate the hard work involved in working for a big design house. “You would spend a full day there, mostly standing. It was pretty gruelling.”
Its interesting how as soon as Judy finished her internship she let the hub of London and moved back to Scotland. She has since set up her own studio space in Edinburgh and is establishing herself as one of Scotland’s best up and coming designers.

 "It's not a major operation it's just me in a room"

Many people who interview Judy in her studio arrive with big expectations. They don’t seem to realise that being a new designer can mean working long hours on your own locked up in a room. Judy mentioned that it can sometimes make you feel isolated and that's not very inspirational, but its just part of building up her business. However she tries to make the studio space itself inspiring, filling it with vintage objects, materials, sketches, and mood boards which give it a creative atmosphere. Often found lying in amongst all her nic nacs are her 2 cats called Vivienne and Westwood and they also help keep her company when she’s working long hours.
Judy’s success has lead to a busy few years with many projects and exhibitions to organise, as well as keeping her business ticking over. But why is she doing everything on her own? She could have interns but she said but it's hard to know whether there what she’s looking for or even whether they’ll get on. She's really not keen on working alongside other fashion designers either because when they're using the same inspirations they can start to come up with very similar ideas and Judy loves her creations to be unique.
Then how is she managing it all own her own? Judy admits she would not have been able to start up at all without winning the NESTA founding, called Starter for six and the JOLOMO award. She learned a lot of what she knows about business from NESTA support, where she got lectures on things like cash flow and yearly projections, something I think we all accept at this stage we know nothing about. She jokes as long as you keep all your invoices extremely organised and can bribe a friend to help you, you’ll be fine. Nesta provides you with enough money to start up but she says she would advise us to try and not to spend so much money when just starting out. After Nesta she entered the JOLOMO award, an award set up by the artist John Lowrie Morrison to encourage and recognise young emerging talent. She said she was completely broke before JOLOMO so has always described it as the stepping stone to her career.

“Who’ll wear it? Well I’ll wear it!”

When asked to describe her niche in a few words Judy said, distinctly modern, with a theatrical edge, Harris tweeds juxtaposed with exquisite Nepali silks and of course tailoring. Her inspiration she admits is largely from historical garments and her love of TV show house of Elliot , she commented that “I once spent about five hours in the V&A in London just looking at the costumes and dresses.‘ You can see this influence in her work along with inspiration from her world travels to exotic places. It’s the combination of these aspects that makes her work so eclectic. She describes her audience as “eccentric wearers,” someone who loves “bespoke style”.
In 2009 her unique style was noticed by New York’s fashion elite, when she was invited, as a top Scottish designer to showcase her work in ‘Dressed to Kilt’ in New York. She managed to nearly sell out her entire collection within a few days of arriving, fashionistas lapping up her classic yet contemporary Harris Tweed creations.
She was described as ‘a great ambassador for Scottish fashion’ and invited back for future years.
Dressed to kilt was all about a celebration of everything she stands for, she wants to keep her look fresh without conforming to changing fashion trends and this is probably easier because of her timeless historical influences. When asked who’ll wear it she said assertively, “well I’ll wear it!” This shows her complete confidence in her work and her unwillingness to change her ethos for anyone! She has a passion for what she does and she does it the way she wants!
Because of this she has been given some great opportunities, recently getting the opportunity to design a dress for Fords centennial year. The challenge was to make the dress out of car parts, from car keys to rear lights to seat covers. Even when working with this unusual material she has retained her use of crinolines and historic style. Making the jacket out of a car seat cover with movable speedometer, so you can choose how fast you want to go. The dress has been a talking point all over the world, being featured in Marie Claire, The Sydney times and USA today, even Jeremy Clarkson has blogged about it.

 ‎"It's all about the networking"

A point that came up time and time again whilst chatting to Judy was the importance of networking. Our own design and the market module puts a great emphasis on creating a professional online presence for yourself, to raise your profile and create useful connections. Judy would see other designers updating blogs or making connections via twitter and think why am I not doing that? If you are not promoting yourself online there is a whole world of business you are missing out on. Judy maintains a blog, along with Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to connect with her market. She describes social media applications as a direct link of communication with customers, investors and anyone else of interest, giving them a much better insight into her working life and creating a personal connection. Social networking has also helped her reach out to a global marketplace that would not have been available to her otherwise.
When it comes to physically going out and networking with other designers at events and shows Judy insists you must be strict with yourself, "push yourself to go to everything" were her words of advice, regardless of whether she wants to or feels up to it, Judith attends as many networking, forecasting and relevant events as possible. She tells herself “at least I was there”. Because of her connections with the highlands and islands business course and Scottish design awards, she has good friends and connections in Scottish design circles who she says are like a community to draw help and support from when needed, even if it is just someone to accompany her to yet another event. Judy is also registered with Textiles Scotland who provide information on what events are on and where. However it's up to you to make the effort and remember a casual acquaintance made at an event could prove invaluable later on in your career.

“Well there only drinking wine”

Judith is an incredibly motivated and driven young woman, with numerous awards and nominations to prove it. And the secret to her success; a deep-rooted sense of self-belief. To Judith the most important thing you can do when setting out in business, before knowing about cash flow, or technical skills or even the techniques behind what you are selling, is a true belief in yourself and what you want. Without it you wont get very far.
Knowing the right people, and knowing how to get to the right people has also been a very useful tactic in her success. And this is how the Spencer collection came about. She met someone who put her onto Colin Gilchrist and from an interview he did with her the offer to work with them arrived a month or two later. So it can be a case of it’s who you know, not what you know. The Spencer project was to create a new women’s wear range for their clothing label. She said the with the first collection of the Spencer range she had to make smallcompromises, toning down her designs but keeping hints of her unique style throughout. This was a tactical compromise she said as usually she preaches against creative compromise commenting “Never compromise, like I say, believe in what you do and stick to your guns. If you think it’s great then that is enough”.
If the Spencer collection did well there was a view to future sponsoring by the company and therefore perhaps a bigger studio and even a small workforce. Not something she likes doing but she knows that once the label is established and recognised she can start to really make it her own. This self-belief applies to everything related to her business.
Such determination in her work life goes hand in hand with sacrifices in her social life. She often finds herself declining invites to parties or social gatherings in favour of a few more hours sewing or attending a networking event. When this happens, Judith simply reminds herself “Well they are only drinking wine, I’m not really missing out on that much”. This sort of perspective has helped her throughout her career.

“Next on the TO DO list”

When asked ‘thinking back 5 years ago did you think then that you would be where you are today?’ Judy said she would not have dreamed that she would have done as well as she has. She commented that when you do budget projections etc you don’t believe you can make that amount of money, but you can! Judy has realised that she is catering to a broad market of mostly 30-60 year olds who have a larger disposable income, after showcasing along side Alison Macleod of Tiger Textiles at the A-List charity Fashion Show ‘Dressed to Kilt’. She also found there was a bigger market for her bespoke couture in New York, as people there have a lot of appeciation for her work and more money to spend. She has in the past sold jackets for £400 to students who seem to have spent their whole student loans just to buy a piece of her designs and she ahs even had people buy her garments as artwork to hang on their walls.
Judy said although she is proud of her achievements, she is never satisfied and that every achievement must be followed by another. Like her recent exhibition in Urban Outfitters in Glasgow where she explored the design story of the world famous fabric, that is very close to her heart, Harris Tweed. One thing she hasn’t done yet is London Fashion Week. People don’t fully understand how strict the criteria is; that you must have a certain amount of stockist’s and have a certain turnover. She said she would Love to go but its impossible at this stage as she needs to expand but its next on her to do list and hopefully she’ll make it there next year!
To expand the business the first step would be to hire another person simply to tackle her ever growing workload, she has also said that she knows she will eventually need to move the business to London as this is the creative capital of Britain and it would lead more opportunities her way. In the future she would ideally like to run her own design house with a workforce, massive collections and shows in Paris, London and all over the world.

 “Don’t be a fashion bitch” 

With a number of successes already under her belt, it could be easily forgiven to get caught up in the fame and fortune of her continual accomplishments, but for Judy, it is her down-to-earth, realistic attitude that has shaped her into one of Britain’s most inspirational young designers.  She is dedicated to her work, admitting that the Judy R Clark production was just her, her two cats and a small studio space. “Work really hard”, was her advice for prospering within the fashion industry. Her drive to succeed is underpinned by her faith in her own creativity and self belief, which seems to be what keeps her motivated and an aspiring entrepreneur.
When asked what would be her one thing for graduates and new designers starting up to bare in mind, her answer was simple and clear: “It’s your business, you have the answers”.
It is Judy’s self assured attitude that has propelled the triumphs that she has reached in her work. “Push, push, push” and “be determined” she insists. “You shouldn’t be apologetic when being asked questions about your business”. She has a steadfast outlook on her own enterprise!
Judy’s unpretentious approach to her work and work ethic are what make her successes come to light. She is clear and concise in her attitude toward communicating what she wants for herself and her business saying “remember when speaking that everyone else is just normal like you” and argues that anyone who wasn’t, wasn’t worth having your time anyway.
Her last piece of advice to us was to ‘believe in your own business, believe that what you are doing is great and even if you seem to be the only one who agrees, still believe’.


Design and the Market - Lectures

Introduction & Tick list:
- Find your own business plan!
- Jobs are disappearing; we have to set up our own business! = Invent your own future!
- How to raise money?
- We have to take massive risk!
- Read a lot about culture!
Books:  Make a job don't take a job
                  Start it up
                  Made to stick
- Ask the Why? question
When setting up your own business you ask questions of yourself:
What is exactly that I going to make?
How I going to do it? On my own? In a team, in a co-operation or working for an employer? Where and for whom?
Beside these questions probably the most important one is: Why am I doing it? Steve Jobs started his business with the Why? question. He wanted to make people’s life better by technology, which provided him inspiration and passion to keep him going. His company, Apple turned out to be the most influential innovator in the century so we better learn from his example.

Lindsay Gardiner – Textile designer/ Illustrator
Lindsay’s children books internationally published and she also runs her own brand called “Quietly Eccentric”. She’s printing bags and her certain selling point is anything to do with dogs. First she bought her dogs to keep her company in the studio but since then she fall in love with them, which comes through in her illustrations, stories and printed bags.  She was talking about how to find your market and places where you can sell your products. Her tips are:
http://www.notonthehighstreet.com  - a similar site to Etsy.com but more organised and the products are more professional, nicely designed and beautifully finished. It has different categories for  - can be personalised, -made in Britain, -eco-friendly, etc.  What I found very useful.
Anthropology – shop in Edinburgh - http://www.anthropologie.eu/en/uk/ - an exclusive shop with sophisticated designs. Nicely organised online shop.
She also mentioned the importance of charity work - http://www.behance.net/gallery/Dogs-Trust-Honours-Awards-commission/2521713 - that helps you to be recognised.
Her most important advice: Rather be a versatile designer than a jack of all trades. Also, learn to say NO! if you don’t have enough time. When you decide not to have an agent you have to organise everything around your business so time management is very essential.

 01/02/12 Making Design Work - by Professor Mike Press
How working used to be? Chose a job, do it, retire.
How is it now in the 21st century? Jobs are disappearing just now so we are becoming our own boss/ own brand. It means we have to build up a portfolio related to our discipline - portfolio career.
The top 10 jobs in 2014 did not exist in 2004! Everything is changing and nobody knows what is going to happen.  We have to keep learning during our whole life.
How to understand recession? Karl Marx - Capitalism
What is going to change?
- Jobs will get smarter and people focussed.
- We won't "go to work" but connect to work.
- There will be more women in managements, which will create more profitable companies.
Best example of 21st century woman is Mary Portas - art school graduate, manager, business focused, service designer
- Different generations will be mixed up at workplaces and that will create a union of their different strengths.
- T-shape employees: besides having a general knowledge, interpersonal/social skills becoming important too.
- Every work will become globalised.
Crystal CG – Beijing based huge, global design company with a big office in London. They create identities for other countries!
Although we don’t know anything for certain about the future we have to get ready for it and suck up every information and skills, which could be relevant to our discipline.
“It’s like building an aircraft as it flies”

Audience Development – Emma Walker – Chief Executive of Craft Scotland
- People centred
- The audience affects the performance in a theatre as it affects a company or even art
- Your brand projects your personality so it has to be thought out and unique
- Ask: Who is your market?
- CV is also very essential, has to stand out from the crowed. Even if you don’t have work experience, just put interesting, inspirational lectures on it.
- Register with Craft Scotland because they have the contacts and the information you need.

03/02/12 Professor Mike Press
Way of innovation: best example is Vivienne Westwood who’s a brilliant thief. She steals ideas, rethink them and create something new.
Think outside of the box! Find your own Niche!
Look at your life as you look at a piece of fabric, creatively. Try to create something out of it!
About portfolio careers:
- Multiple jobs, multiple identities (learning more than one discipline, be a versatile designer)
- If can’t get a job in your own discipline you still have to keep going! Sometimes you have to have 4-5 jobs at the same time and you have to create opportunities to use your skills anywhere you work (jeweller who designed models in Space Odyssey, ceramic artist who designed Babe – piggy movie, glass artist who made a piece for a Massive Attack album cover, etc.)
Work in the 21st century will be very different:
- No more full time jobs – portfolio working instead
- Being flexible
- Always keep trying, never give up, ever!
- Intuition and feel for the market + being informed, read newspapers
- Be passionate, it will keep you going
- Make work fun!
- Take a holiday in Silicone Valley – learn how to create something out of nothing!

10 things to think of:
-        Get faster
-        Be curious
-        Don’t apologies – it’s negative thinking
-        Be flexible – with clients, in terms of brief, cost, etc.
-        Be a sponge – have to take in every knowledge, conversation, skills, etc.
-        If you don’t know, don’t pretend! ASK!
-        Check the brief again and again; don’t get caught up with your design.
-        Always have ideas – lots of them.
-        Be organised – before a meeting or presentation.
-        Don’t give up, keep going!

-        Don’t rely on reputation.
-        Give yourself enough time.
-        Competitive research!!! – Have a look at your competitors, it gives you the chance to do something different/better.
-        Be creative – presentation.
-        Spelling and grammar.
-        Testimonials.
-        Personalisation.
-        Cost.
Think about your image!
Your portfolio represents you!
You have talent, remember that!
Have fun!

Design and the Market - Group Enterprise Research Project /6

We met up and started to work on our creative presentation. We took a quite textile oriented approach with yarns, wools, fabrics, and bits&bobs. It was fun and the final wall piece turned out to be really nice. Well done everybody in the group! The slides are all working so we just have to rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse. Good luck for us!


Design and the Market - Group Enterprise Research Project /5

We had a quick meeting couple days after the interview. We started to think about the structure of the presentation. It went pretty slowly at first but then we decided to make a mind map of our ideas which made them more perspicuous and easier to change them around. We tried to set up 7 categories, one each so we can think about them for the next meeting. 

We also started to think about how would we create an exiting, creative presentation. We thought about using collage, threads and maybe do an animation.

On the next meeting we had our rough compositions of the topics so we would see if there’re any overlap between them. We started to put together the main structure and decided to write 300 words each. Once we done that Amy will edit them all together.

We also decided on the form of the presentation. We will make individual collages on one evening with photographs and bits & bobs then build it all together. We organised who prints out what for the collages and I volunteered to embed the final composition into Power Point. We agreed to meet up on next Tuesday afternoon.

Here’s my bit of the presentation:
"It's not a major operation it's just me in a room"
Many people visit Judy in her studio to interview her with big expectations of her studio. They have to realise that being a designer can mean working long hours on your own locked up in a room. It can make you feel isolated and bored and that's not very inspirational. She bought 2 cats called Vivienne and Westwood just to keep her company and also tries to make the studio itself inspiring. Her space is full with vintage objects and tools, sketches, and mood boards, which give it a special atmosphere. She works from home as well as her studio; her pattern-cutting table and sewing machines are at her house.
The good thing about working locked up though is when you have a chance to go out you really appreciate it. Once she spent 5 hours in the V&A Museum just looking at costumes and dresses. Her advice is to be a sponge and take in everything you can whenever you have the opportunity.
 She has so many projects, exhibitions to organise and she also runs her own business, which keeps her super busy all the time. But why is she doing everything on her own? She could have interns but she said it's hard to find good ones and sometimes she found it hard to get on with them. She's not keen on working alongside other fashion designers either because when they're using the same inspirations they start to come up with very similar ideas. She could employ someone but she cannot afford it.
Then how is she managing it all own her own? As she said she would not have been able to start up at all without NESTA founding, called Starter for six and could not have continued without JOLOMO award. She learned everything she knows about business from NESTA, where she got lectures on things like cash flow and yearly projections. She says as long as you keep all your invoices extremely organised you will be fine. Being organised is very essential. NESTA also improved her public speaking. She says you should remember when speaking that everyone else is just normal like you. They also provided enough money for her to start up but as she says she would not spend so much money when starting out. You need to resist the excitement of getting paid.
She was completely broke before JOLOMO so she describes it as stepping stone to her career. Unfortunately NESTA and JOLOMO are the only courses awarding funding that she is aware of and nowadays they are much more popular therefore there are more people to compete with.


Design and the Market - Group Enterprise Research Project /4

Mr Ross hasn't answered for our email so we decided to move on. We agreed to contact Judy R Clark since we loved her work and  her business seemed to be interesting too. Katy send her an email and she applied almost immediately. We didn't have much time for research so we all head into the Media Lab and tried to find as much information as possible. 

 Judy R Clark at Urban Outfitters

Here are my additional notes for the previous research:

- appointed lead designer for new clothing label SPENCER

Spencer Collection

"It all started with a phone call from Mr Gilchrist and we haven't looked back. The company/manufacturer were looking for new brand manager/marketing expert to work with an innovative fashion designer so with a lot of work Spencer Clothing was born." Judy R Clark's blog

Under Creative Director Colin Gilchrist (The Social Tailor) in collaboration with the Couturier Judy R Clark (Ex-Alexander McQueen) our women’s wear collection is aimed at the 25 – 45yr city girl. Spencer is designed for the no-nonsense confident dresser at work, who enjoys a glass of wine at the end of a hard day in the office. Our gowns are not for the faint hearted, with curb sweeping hemlines and a body conscious cut.

The Social Tailor is a Digital Marketing business that design and build websites with social media strategy plans. We have a particular interest in fashion retail but also have experience in many other sectors.

A piece from the Spencer Collection

Notes about the collection:

- simple, sophisticated, beautiful (more ready to wear than Clark’s garments)
- colours: red, black, deep blue (different from Clark’s usual colour range)– elegant, luxurious
- European brand – although designed in Scotland they have sourced fabrics from England, France and Italy – they have a sales office in London city centre and their manufacturing base is in Kaunas - it is the second-largest city in Lithuania and has historically been a leading centre of Lithuanian economic, academic, and cultural life

Question ideas:

What was her benefit from Starter for 6?
How Mr Gilchrist found her, did they work together previously?
When she started online networking and did she find it useful?
How did she create her brand? Was it more like an intuitive process or based on some other source? (experience, cultural movement, fashion trend, family, etc.)
The colours of the Spencer Collection are amazingly luxurious but very different from her style. Does she have to compromise a lot?
Does she follow her competitors? Why is it important? (Do something different, or similar or find a different audience, etc.)
Seems like she has a good relationship with lots of fellow designers. Was she thinking about collaboration? Do they help each other or is it very competitive?

- She has been nominated as the best new Scottish artist or designer at this year’s Variety Awards.
- She successfully collaborated with Alison Macleod of Tiger Textiles. Results: The Gaelic Frock Coat made it s debut at the Scottish Style Awards and has since travelled internationally gracing the catwalks of Japan for the ‘Tweed goes to Tokyo’ exhibition, New York at ‘Dressed to Kilt’ and also at ‘Sachs on Fifth Avenue’. The jacket also represented the winners of textile manufacturer of the year, Harris Tweed Hebrides, at the Scottish Fashion Awards at Stirling Castle.
She participated in the Harris Tweed Bike Ride

After we collected enough information we sat down and discussed our findings. Sarah quickly made notes of all questions came into our mind and then we put them into categories. We ended up with about 20 questions, which we split up and reword them. 

 Sarah's notes

 Categories and the numbers of the questions

Here are my three questions to reword:
8.What influenced your niche, are your family a factor, (uncle/sister)?
9.How do you keep your work fresh but maintain your personal style/niche.
10.Do you keep an eye on the competition, Is it important to?

8. We found it interesting how you involve your family members into your business. You and your sister inspire each other’s work while your uncle provides you Harris Tweed for your garments. What would you name as a main influence to find your niche?

9. While working with other designers you probably have to compromise sometimes. How these experiences affect your own style?

10. We think it's important to keep an eye on your competitors in the market? Why do you think it's useful for a designer?

Because Judy’s studio is tiny she preferred to have just two of us visiting her. Jenny redefined the consent form so everything was prepared for the big day. Katy and Sarah were happy to do the interview so they went to Edinburgh to meet up with her.


Design and the Market - Group Enterprise Research Project /3

Further research:

We realised that is fairly hard to find information about Marc Ross on the internet since his website hasn't been set up properly yet. We found interviews with him and other bits which could help us to construct our questions. We set up a group on Facebook where we post anything relevant we find. 

Katy wrote up an email for him about a week ago, Jenny framed a consent form and the rest of us was researching. Unfortunately Mr Ross hasn't answered yet so we decided to wait until next Monday and keep looking at relevant topics. I got Brand & Market as a theme to research.   

His attendance on the internet is not a very good example of his work so far although the front page of his website - http://www.marc-ross.co.uk/  is nicely designed and suggests a strong, confident image of his brand. I would love to find out when it's going to be updated and what's the reason it hasn't been finished yet.  

I found this description on a branding company's website and I thought it very accurate and inspirational:

'Your brand identity is much more than a logo: it's the colour and packaging, the space in which you deliver your services and products - whether physical or virtual; it's the definition and essence. It's about focusing in on what's special about your company and communicating it effectively so it stands out against competitors and appealingly to your customers.'

An interesting description of  the “Marc Ross” woman in an interview:
- strong, independent
- she dresses to look important and capture her audience
- not afraid to express her  individuality
- be who you are and wear what you want

He follows these instructions himself and as I imagine he's doing real life networking at parties instead of sitting in front of a computer but I'd like to find out more about this. 

He's also a participant of Cultural Enterprise Office's Starter for 6 program which meant to provide new creative businesses an experience in collaboration, a founding, and a business plan. I checked their website and it seem to be easy to apply online for the programme and all the participants were very happy about their outcomes. 

Question ideas:

He learnt stock broking for a while so he must has some interest in business and maybe marketing too. How does it helped him to set up his own brand?
How is he networking?
What would he name as the most important thing to do to get to be known?
How much effort goes into building up his brand identity? Did he had any help from other designers or other companies?
What did he really get with Cultural Enterprise Office's  Starter for 6 award?
Do they give advice how to spend the money wisely?

Tomorrow is the day for our next meeting and fingers crossed he will reply to our email otherwise we have to contact someone else. Fortunately there are so many young successful designers out there.