Arts Thread interview with StephieAnn Design

This is a repost from https://www.artsthread.com/blog/ - check it out!
Handmade at Kew will showcase Emerging Talents in collaboration with ARTS THREAD for the third time. In advance of Handmade at Kew and Handmade Edinburgh 2017, ARTS THREAD interviews previous exhibitors on their collections, their route to success and the best inside tips on how to apply and make the most of showing your work.
Find out more about Handmade at Kew and Handmade Edinburgh.
Here we have been talking to the amazingly talented Stephanie Woollen of StephieAnn Designs, an ARTS THREAD alumni and lingerie designer who has been exhibiting at Handmade in Britain events since 2014 after graduating in Textile Design BA Hons from Chelsea College of Arts. Digitally printed from photography and paintings StephieAnn creates lingerie and nightwear inspired by poetry. Check out Stephie’s websiteStephie’s work on ARTS THREAD and see her stand at Handmade at Kew 2017 this October.
ARTS THREAD: Please tell us about yourself
Stephie: Hi! I’m Stephie, I founded StephieAnn in 2014 when after graduating with a Textiles degree I joined The Princes Trust with a business idea. I design women’s fashion and accessories featuring my photography and paintings inspired by poetry. Products include pyjama sets, tunics, tops, eye masks, bed socks and silk scarves. I currently sew all smaller items myself whereas larger products are manufactured in Wales.
AT: What Handmade in Britain show/s have you exhibited at?
Stephie: Chelsea Old Town Hall 2014 – New Graduate Showcase; Handmade at Kew – ArtsThread 2015; Handmade at Kew 2016 and Chelsea Old Town Hall 2016. Very much looking forward to exhibiting at Kew again this year!
AT: How were the shows – was it successful for you?
Stephie: I was very nervous before my first show, it was the first time I had exhibited my work and I didn’t know what to expect. Exhibiting with Handmade in Britain has built my confidence in talking to customers and they have been fantastic opportunities for me to gain feedback on products and move my brand in the right direction.
All shows have been very successful and each time I exhibit I catch up with previous customers as well as make new ones, gaining in success each time.
AT: What tips would you give a designer/maker applying for Arts Thread Selects at Handmade at Kew or Handmade Edinburgh for the first time?
Tips on the application
Stephie: Make sure you be honest with yourself – Feel confident that you are ready for this and your products are at a professional standard.
  • Images should be clear, sharp, the correct size/format and a mix with white background and lifestyle photography where the product is in use.
  • Take time writing the application, perhaps send it to a family member or friend. Highlight the creativity and story behind your work. What makes your designs unique?
Deciding how the stand should look – how to make the most of your stand?
Stephie: Stand design is really tricky! I always start by writing a list of the products I want to take. I then make a second list on how the product should be displayed e.d clothing on a hanger. I then do sketches of the stand before planning it out in my living room.
  • Mark out your space on a wall or floor and imagine how it’s going to look for a customer. Is it clear to see? Are you communicating core values (creativity, British made, quality) and your branding?
  • Make the most of the wall space and be creative. Remember: you don’t have to spend a fortune for it to look great. Use bits of wood and charity shop finds by making them new with a fresh coat of paint.
  • Less if more – Something I don’t always get right.
Marketing material and promotion?
Stephie: Exhibiting at a show is a fantastic opportunity for marketing!
  • Engage with other exhibitors in social media – Say ‘hi’ before you get there.
  • Send private view tickets to any customers you may have already, networks, shops or galleries and local press and of course friends and family.
  • If you have a subscriber list, send an email round announcing you’re going to be there. Maybe you have new products, your having a sample sale or running a competition.
  • At the event, network with the exhibitors. Amazing supportive friendships and collaborations can be made.
  • Create a ‘newsletter sign up’. I like to run a lucky dip competition which helps engage with customers.
  • Remember your business cards and postcards.
  • Be friendly! Enjoy chatting to customers, telling them your story. Don’t be afraid of approaching customers and treating them as a friend rather than customer – this will make you memorable and build a deeper connection than just the exchange of money.
Apply for a space on the ARTS THREAD stand at Handmade at Kew or Handmade Edinburgh.
This is a repost from https://www.artsthread.com/blog/ - check it out!


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