Tracking down New Designers

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I’ve had a couple of exchanges with a lovely South African illustrator, Heather Moore, via twitter, initially, and then, this morning via email.

I started following Heather’s tweets as she always mentions things which interest me….design, illustration, household accessories of desirous qualities etc and I made the point that I’d be interested in seeing if she supplied other outlets ie does she have a wholesale list.  I’ll keep you posted on the response.

I really love her “I wish we had IKEA” tea towels and can foresee a whole range borne out of this beautiful imagery. It has that global appeal to which so many of us can relate.

I wish we had IKEA tea towel by Heather Moore

And it got me round to thinking how do manufacturers decide upon which illustrators’ work they’re going to license for production.

It seems a bit chicken and egg. I might be doing some a disservice, for which I do apologise, but I presuppose the likes of Mary Fellows have made their name in their own right, grafted to attain their position in the design-led world, and can now bask in being approached by other, larger manufacturers to reproduce their designs on things like mugs. Whereas I would imagine a fashion designer, like Orla Kiely does not have to do the running she has become so established I am guessing that she gets approached by all manner of manufacturers wanting to license  her designs….but I could just be being naive.

Trying to find new designers is becoming increasingly difficult in the current climate. Whereas once upon a time I’d shop at degree shows for new talent, I am, like so many of my peers, nervous about going with an unestablished name. As it is, what you’d gamble with on the High Street and win, you simply don’t online because what would people search on google? On the High Street gift buying is impulse purchasing, by and large, so you can take risks with stock, which I’m far more reticent about online. Plus, the age buying groups online seem to be totally different and where you’d easily sell something in the city you don’t get a look in online.

And the other problem as well, is ensuring the quality of the articles produced.

We do try very hard to ensure that what we sell is not only well designed but well produced – quality is all…..which is why we sadly, for now, have decided against trying to stock the Pantone stationery.

As fans will know, we stock a wide range of Pantone products from mugs to cufflinks, linens to kitchen accessories and were on the edge of our seats waiting for the stationery. When we saw it we were, admittedly, disappointed.

We felt the quality of the paper within the notebooks was very questionable and the covers too thin for the retail price. It’s a shame because the range is good and for us, would have been a great addition. What do you think? We’d appreciate knowing if you’d be interested in the products and if we’re just being a bit too precious!

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