Tuesday, August 24, 2010

part two: melbourne. craft cubed - craft and design as a career.

craft cubed.
So for the following day my good friend michelle and I carried on being inspired by attending Craft Victorias – Craft Cubed seminar on Craft and Design as a Career. Which was a fantastic educational seminar with some fab speakers.

Craft Victoria’s annual festival Craft Cubed is a highly participatory event creating space for practitioners and the public to engage with contemporary craft. The 2010 festival theme of ‘childhood’ is intended to inspire people of all ages, especially the young at heart! Have a look at the rest of the events/seminars and exhibitions for Craft Cubed - it runs till the 4th of September

Rhiannon Hardingham owner of I dream a highway spoke about selling your work through a retailer and offered some handy tips I thought I would share here.

# General retailers pricing is 100% + GST (if you sell your product for $50 - a store would sell it for $110)
# Price points put thought into your pricing – retailers will round it up, so make sure you get the reward and work your price on the 100% accurately.
# Consignment vs wholesale an interesting point was made. Seasonal buying does not apply to consignment so you can keep stocking your shelves. Whereas wholesale they will just say sorry we are not taking any more orders or we have spent our budget for this season contact us again in 3 months etc...

Approaching stores
# General Rule Only stock one store in each retail precinct (postcode area)
# Email (good quality) photos and a brief description/ introduction (include pricing details and info on where you stock and sell your products already)
# Dont rely on Etsy (or similar) to show case examples of your work
# Make an appointment (don't expect to just rock on up to a store to show off your products)

Rhiannon so nicely shared some fab craft retail stores around melbourne areas to consider contacting:
Fitzroy Meet me at Mikes, I like you, Thread Den, Incube8r
Northcote Humming bird 60, Manque & Lupa, I dream a highway
BrunswicPussyCat BlackMonk HouseOkOk, The Curious Kitten
North Melbourne Kids in BerlinThread Den

Lara Olsen and Yann Burden spoke on models of environmentally sustainable working environments and craft practises. How to make your product more sustainable.
# Is there a more efficient way to make your product?
# How much energy do you use?
# Turn your appliances off when do in use (if the light is shining, energy is still be used - pull the plug out of the wall)
# Are your raw materials recycled?
# Is there a closer source or can you get your materials from a local supplier?
# What about recycled packaging - How bout no tissue paper, no foam pellets
# Advise your customers via your website to show how environmentally friendly you and your craft business is trying to be

Melissa Loughnan director of Utopian Slumps shared some insight behind gallery representation and  some encouraging words:
# Don't be afraid to represent yourself
# Have faith in yourself and keep going, one day it will work out
# Be apart of a group – show involvement - blogs and galleries will gain interest.

Grace McQuilten founder of The Social Studio  captured the audiences attention, by wowing us with the studios outstanding accomplishment. Sharing how she and her team continue to create a social enterprise through empowering young people to achieve their dreams via fashion through community engagement and social inclusion. I was hoping to visit there cafe while in melb but sadly ran out of time (on the list for next time for sure). Keep up the great work Grace and team!

Jo Walker Editor of Frankie Magazine spoke on maximising your exposure through the media . Jo had some really helpful tips (read carefully some awesome pointers)

Press releases
# When to send one think 4-6 months ahead (so if you want to be in there christmas issue - send them your press release Now! July/August)
Be aware of print dates - most mainstream magazines have there print deadlines on there websites (Plan and check so you don't miss out)


Press release check list, what to include.
# Allow 2-3 paragraphs (needs to be well tailored - you might need a copywriter to write this)
# Embed clean clear (professional photography) with white backgrounds low res images into your email
# Your real name
# Your business name
# Dates of Event
# Contact details (address, phone, email, website)
# Price of your product
# Stockist details

Things to consider when writing your press release
# Is your product locally made?
# A new design?
# Are your materials organic, recycled, made in australia, fair trade?
# Don't make the journalist/editor/stylist have to guess what your product is, be clear and straight to the point
# Whats your unique selling point (UPS)?
# Whats your story?
# Tell your story - what/who inspired you?
# Add an element of your personal background

Once you have sent out your press release... other things to consider...
# Have high res pics with clean white backgrounds for easy use in all media from local newspapers/marie claire. (make sure you have high resolution images on file in case you are contacted by a journalist, editor or stylist) 
# Have product ready to send out (some stylists will want to shoot there own pics)
# Once your product is in the media, you will probably be inundated with orders (make sure you have lots of product)
# Have a fully functional updated website
# Remember to be as personal and authentic as possible this adds more value to your product


Lucy Fegins from the Design Files added to what Jo spoke about and recommends:
# Target stylists – (send samples) send it like a gift, be friendly
# If your targeting mainstream press - know there readers
# Be friendly with your stockists and keep them up to date.
# If you do get press – inform your stockists
# Fill orders when they start rolling in! (don't let your stockists get grumpy)
# Blogging is Cheap, Online and Present
# Form a relationship with media and customers by giving them an insight into your world
# Be flexible and think laterally – is there another way to tell your story?

Wow..So there is a lot of info there. We had one more speaker Stephan Banham from Letterbox who spoke about graphic design and branding. I might cover this topic in another blog post further down the line though since that is also my background.

Time to now digest all this great info! I think this is enough for the moment! Enjoy everyone!

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