‘There is an amazing density of knowledge within these walls, and people are very generous with sharing their knowledge. It’s refreshing to know that even well-established businesses struggle with the same issues that I do.’
Mark Tallowin crafts made-to-order handbags, painstakingly hand making each bag to exacting specifications. Yet he comes to the luxury handbag market as a largely self-taught craftsman, and realises the sheer scale of the industry he is taking on. Mark’s passion and tenacity for a traditional skill brought him to Cockpit Arts in July 2013. He already had a capsule collection of hand stitched bags, but needed help with getting his pricing and positioning right for the market. ‘In the early days, the one-to-one sessions were like a much-needed MOT,’ says Mark.
In the last year, Mark has completed a commission to make a bespoke case for Billecart-Salmon Champagne and showed work at Christie’s as part of the Multiplied Art Fair. His work has been featured in Elle India and New York Magazines’ The Cut and he was invited to join the Fashion Innovation Agency’s bank of prestigious designers. He is about to launch a fifth bag in his CORE collection, alongside a range of wallets.
Mark has just won this year’s Cockpit Arts/The Leathersellers’ Award, an opportunity he says he would never have considered without the support of Cockpit’s Business Development Team. The award will pay for his current studio space for another year.
‘Being in craft is a tough life,’ says Mark. ‘But when you have the opportunity to make a go of it, it’s fantastic.’
‘Nigel (Rust) is amazing – a business genius and the ideal person for a small business to work with!’
April 2014: Jen Rowland is based at our Creative Business Incubator in Deptford where she screen-prints vintage and hand-drawn illustrations onto beautiful natural fabrics for her range of lampshades, cushions and bolsters. She also designs a growing range of stationery, including notebooks, notelet sets and greetings cards, all printed on FSC certified paper.
Jen joined Cockpit Arts in 2005 and her business is now entering an exciting new phase. She has just launched an online shop and has been benefitting from one-to-one support from Nigel Rust, a Cockpit Associate, to develop her business. This specialist support was made possible through our ‘Commercialising Creative Content’ project funded by the ERDF and Jen went on to access further funding to continue to work with Nigel.
Through the process Jen says she has become more strategic and focussed, with streamlined systems and clearly mapped procedures for her business. She has also developed her range, honed her pricing structure and identified new sales opportunities. Importantly, 100% improved efficiency has helped to readdress Jen’s work life balance and make her feel more optimistic. The future of her business looks bright!
June 2013: Eleanor is a maker in wood and her striking lathe-turned bowls, vessels and sculptural objects are starting to gain serious recognition from collectors and galleries.
Having joined Cockpit Arts in 2011 as a recipient of the Cockpit Arts/Worshipful Company of Turners Award, Eleanor went on to invest in her business with a cash prize from our Jill Humphrey Springboard Prize. She has been working with our coaches to help develop her profile and 2013 has already been a busy year with showcases at Contemporary Applied Arts and HEAL’s. This June Eleanor will also be exhibiting work at our Open Studios, The New Craftsmen and the Balman Gallery.
Eleanor’s work, which uses only wood from trees already felled in the British Isles, was selected by eco design expert Oliver Heath as one of Cockpit Arts ‘Sustainable Craft Picks’ this year. He stated “Eleanor’s work reveals the beauty that hides deep within nature, making precious those pieces others may discard…” We definitely have her tabbed as ‘one to watch’…
Holloway Smith Noir
Holloway Smith Noir is the collaboration between sisters Alice and Sophie. Together they create luxury bespoke lingerie, burlesque costumes and a unique range of ‘teasewear’ accessories. They are committed to best ethical practice and their work features hand sourced vintage or organic materials.
The company was established in 2010. Since joining Cockpit Arts they have benefitted from our loan fund with Ingenious to expand their product range, launch a fabulous online shop and sell through CultureLabel.com. Their work is now stocked in luxury lingerie boutiques across the globe and their costume clients are some of the top burlesque and cabaret performers. Sales continue to grow and the duo plan to take on their first apprentice this year to support production.
Aimée Furnival | Another Studio
November 2012: Cockpit Arts isn’t just for start-ups! Aimée Furnival’s company ‘Another Studio’ is a great example of a more established business to recently join our studios. Aimée works with paper cutting and metal to create intricate architectural models and kits. Her products such as ‘MatchCarden’ and ‘MONUmini’ are sold overseas and have been featured in Vogue.
Since joining us, Aimée has engaged in our one-to-one coaching, workshops and tours for Fortnum & Mason buyers. She is now looking to expand her product range and will showcase new lines at Open Studios. Says Aimée:
“I’ve always wanted to have a studio at Cockpit and only wish I had applied sooner. I love being here – the business support is incredibly helpful and motivating. I feel a lot more confident about forward planning and feel I have the support behind me to really grow the company. The location of the studio couldn’t be better. It feels like being back at art college but in a more professional environment.”
Jo Hayes Ward
September 2012: Jo Hayes Ward’s distinctive jewellery has established her as one of the most original talents on the jewellery scene. Jo, who has had a studio at Cockpit Arts’ Deptford incubator for three years, says: ‘I have received invaluable one-to-one business support [from Cockpit] which has enabled me to examine my business and focus on developing and growing it.’
Jo says she was ‘thrilled’ to recently win the Thorneycroft Bell / Andrew Twort Design / Photography Prize, which gives Cockpit Arts’ studio holders the opportunity to develop their business profile. She has also been awarded funding by the International Palladium Board to exhibit for a second time at The Rock Vault at London Fashion Week this autumn. Says Jo: ‘This is a new platform for fine jewellery design in the fashion world and gives me the opportunity to promote my work to a completely new audience.’
Jo is enjoying a growing international reputation and will be one of 26 guest designers from Britain and Ireland attending the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Fair in November. For a chance to see Jo at work in her studio this October, enter our Made in London Tour competition here> and select ‘Deptford’ as your preferred venue.
June 2012: For Paul Vincett, creator of Stitches and Glue, working with monsters is a passion that he has turned into a successful career. All the critters that come out of his Monsters Workshop are meticulously hand-crafted from premium quality fake fur and are collectors’ items.
Paul has worked for many years in film and theatre. Most notably he has worked on X-Men First Class and Tim Burton’s recent release, Dark Shadows. He is currently working with Handspring UK, the acclaimed puppet company behind the South Bank’s War Horse production.
Paul has taken advantage of our one-to-one business coaching and his work enjoys a growing international reputation. In 2010, he won the New York Times’ Puppet of the Year and he also produces bespoke art toys for Urban Outfitters US. Paul exports to France, Japan, China and Russia and has launched a new online shop. Pop along and meet his monsters at the Open Studios.
May 2012: Established artist-jeweller Ute Decker will have quite a presence this summer. This June she will be showing at Open Studios for the first time and exhibiting at The Goldsmiths’ Company Pavilion. She will also launch a solo show during the London Festival of Architecture in July.
Described by the Financial Times as ‘the architectural jeweller’, Ute is renowned for her minimalist yet dramatic wearable sculptures in ethical precious metals. As well as working in recycled silver, Ute was among the world’s first jewellers to launch a collection in Fairtrade and Fairmined gold. Ute’s business has an international outlook. Attending our Making It workshops, she has tapped into the one-to-one coaching we provided through UKTI. She currently has stockists in Europe and exhibited in the US for the first time this year.
Ute is listed in the prestigious ‘Who’s Who in Gold and Silver’ and sits on the Advisory Panel of the Association for Contemporary Jewellery in the UK. Budding jewellers can hear about her ethical business at our seminar at New Designers on 29 June.
February 2012: It is all go for fashion designer Lena Santana, who is scheduled to show her new collection at an exclusive London Fashion Week wrap party at The Harrington private members club. Her Inspiration collection features silk screened African brocade fabrics in pastel shades and techniques ranging from intricate pleating to hand-knitting.
Lena’s approach to fashion is bold and playful which she puts down to her South American background. She has a strong focus on ethically sourced materials and her garments are hand draped, cut by hand and made in the UK.
Lena is developing a plan for business growth and recently benefitted from Cockpit’s ‘Commercialising Creative Content’ project funded by the ERDF, to help improve and streamline production. We also connected her with a UKTI advisor to help take her export plans to the next stage. Stockists in London, Brazil, Budapest and Japan could be just the start!
Sarah J Miller, sjm*
November 2011: Sarah J Miller produces beautiful ceramic decorations and witty graphic gifts. Her business sjm* was established in 2000 and now employs three people. The business has grown significantly and Sarah has recently benefitted from our ‘Commercialising Creative Content’ project funded by the ERDF.
As a result of support from manufacture specialist and coach Nigel Rust sjm* has become more efficient and Sarah estimates that productivity has improved by as much as a third (33%). She commented: “We are better able to respond to high customer demand during busy periods such as the run-up to Christmas…”
September 2011: The press have being going wild for Lizzie Allen’s stunning Festival of Britain wallpaper, which she created for Southbank Centre to celebrate 60 years of the Festival of Britain. She will also be showing her work at Decorex as part of the Cockpit Trail.
In addition to her witty hand-screen printed wallpapers, Lizzie has expanded her range to include colourful printed textiles, sold by retailers such as Liberty and Paul Smith. Other high profile commissions include Royal Wedding designs for Marks & Spencer.
Since joining Cockpit Arts Lizzie has been benefiting from one-to-one business coaching which focuses on a range of areas from licensing to pricing. More recently she joined our ERDF funded ‘Commercialising Creative Content’ project, working with a manufacturing specialist to explore new product development and strategic planning. Her brand is going from strength to strength and her business growing year on year.
“My time here has seen my practice grow and change. It is a very encouraging and supportive atmosphere in which to make brave choices and become a little more business savvy, which in the end gives more time to be creative.”
May 2011: COLLECT, the annual fair for contemporary craft at the Saatchi Gallery is opening its doors and ceramicist Katharine Morling will be shimmering in the limelight. She has created ‘Out of the House’, a near life size ‘three dimensional sketch’ installation in the project space. Rumour has it that Cockpit Friend, Lady Gloria Dale has also commissioned a wearable piece of her work for the COLLECT launch.
Katharine has developed her practice significantly during her time at Cockpit. She uses our Open Studios as a way to keep in touch with collectors and gallerists, inviting them to see her newest work ‘hot from the kiln’. Among her many successes and accolades Katharine scooped the top prize at the World Crafts Council’s second European Triennial of Ceramic and Glass last year.
“Winning a studio at Cockpit Arts (Creative Careers programme) this past year has been a great opportunity to launch my own business and has fuelled my determination to continue developing my practice. I have seen how beneficial the business support services have been to current Cockpit Arts members and feel I will benefit greatly from having access to this support structure.”
November 2010: Kethi Copeland is on a winning streak. Having won a place on our Creative Careers programme last year, she has gone on to win a Cockpit Arts Radcliffe Craft Award (sponsored by The Radcliffe Trust), which offers a further spring board to success.
Kethi works with playful graphics to create a range of quirky paper products. She has exhibited at the Tate Modern Christmas Fair and sells her work online. She recently teamed up with two fellow Creative Careers participants to create the design collective J&KE. Together they have launched Collection of Curiosities a pop-up shop – now open!
September 2010: This September silversmith Maya Selway will be putting on an impressive show – exhibiting at the V&A, Origin and the Museum of Childhood.
Since joining Cockpit Arts, Maya has benefitted from one-to-one coaching to help her develop her brand and branch out into jewellery and bespoke trophy design. She regularly shows at both the Holborn and Deptford Open Studios, which boost her sales and contacts.
Maya has just been shortlisted for two prestigious awards – the Bluecoat National Sculpture Prize and Museums Sheffield National Metalwork Award. We were particularly thrilled that she was selected to design and make the exquisite SE100 trophies this year – awarded to inspirational Social Enterprises.
June 2010: Naomi Ryder is an extraordinary textile designer and illustrator specialising in embroidery, drawing with stitch to create beautiful images of the everyday. Naomi creates commissioned pieces as well as a range of cushions, notelets, cards, china plates, mugs and lavender bags.
In addition to intensive one-to-one coaching, Naomi has benefitted from the Cockpit Arts Business Growth Loan Scheme – which enabled her to showcase her home ware range at Pulse for the first time. She was also selected to develop a range of products for Southbank Centre shops as part of our Bloom project collaboration.
Naomi’s business is showing excellent growth potential. In May she was awarded the £1,000 Humphrey Springboard Award at Cockpit to develop new photography and an online shop.
May 2010: Since joining Cockpit knitwear designer Laura Long has re-invented her business in order to capture the growing interest in her ‘emotion evoking’ gifts. Laura achieved a 1st class honours degree in textiles at Central St Martins and completed a stint with fashion designer John Rocha before starting her own business.
Today her work, which includes knitted fairytale characters, lavender mice and personalised wedding dolls, has really taken off – gracing the homes of everyone from the Osbournes to Royalty.
Integral to Laura’s brand are her patterns, books and website which capture the craftsmanship in her work and enable the customer to engage in the creative process. Laura has benefitted from our one-to-one coaching and last month, through Cockpit Arts, was awarded the Grier Award for £1,000 to enable her to further develop her concepts and take her business to the next level.
‘Being at Cockpit Arts, and having that kind of interaction with artists, has been fantastic for us because however un-commercial ideas may seem, you can develop them into something with a bit of encouragement – it makes you much more adventurous’.
2010: Lush Designs produce a range of home accessories which feature their characteristic narrative prints. They combine traditional techniques with cutting-edge digital technology, to create ever-evolving ranges of gifts and interiors. Since joining Cockpit in September 2002, Lush has capitalised on the twice-yearly Open Studios, which have provided a valuable opportunity to test out new products and inform the development and diversification of new ranges. They have tapped into one-to-one support to help boost their business and attended workshops on business planning and growth aimed at established craft businesses. Lush has also benefited from discounted trade shows brokered by Cockpit. As well as being stocked in selected UK stores, their work is now reaching an international audience through their successful online shop. They have developed a growth strategy to take their already successful business to the next level, and in 2008 opened their own shop in Greenwich market.
‘Having a business plan in place and access to regular progress meetings has made a real difference to the way I run my business. It’s great to have someone to discuss my ideas with and get feedback on how best to achieve my goals. It means I can focus on the bigger picture knowing the detail is all worked out’.
2010: Following Karen Henriksen’s graduation from the Royal College of Art in 2003, she set up her own millinery label, underpinned by her MA collection, Windswept. The collection now features sculptural windswept hats inspired by both traditional and contemporary utilitarian and street headwear such as the flat cap, hoods and visors, and headscarves. Once a central London base was secured at Cockpit Arts Holborn in 2005, Karen was able to grow retail sales through Open Studios and focus on brand development. Karen secured a loan through the Cockpit Business Growth Loan Scheme and is well on track to achieve her predicted sale targets for the coming years. Most recently, Karen’s products have been launched on Cockpit Arts’ on-line store with CultureLabel, exposing Karen’s work to a new, culture savvy audience. Two collections are now presented each season – couture and Windswept, both of which are available through selected stockists in the UK, Europe and Japan.
‘I am grateful to Cockpit Arts, not only for offering me a great place to work for many years, but also for supporting my growth as a professional maker, both formally through the business development programme but also through day to day interaction in a vibrant and creative environment’.
2010: Jane Adam has been based at our studios since 1993. Today her jewellery can be seen in galleries, exhibitions and, most importantly, being worn by discerning people, all around the world. She is an established jeweller with an international reputation for her anodised aluminium jewellery, but still felt that she had more potential for growth. In 2006 Cockpit Arts matched Jane with a mentor. The result was a period of planned growth and the production of a new range of work in high carat gold. We exhibited Jane’s new pieces at Collect at the V&A in 2008, to introduce the new work to collectors and boost her already impressive profile and sales. Most recently, Jane accessed one-to-one support from Cockpit to make a successful application to the Crafted project with Arts & Business and Walpole. In June 2009, following two years of research, learning and experimentation, Jane launched ‘Urban’, her first full collection in digitally printed aluminium.
Thornback & Peel
‘Starting a business can be complicated, but Cockpit has supported us with advice at every stage. The loan scheme in particular has provided us with the means and motivation to grow our business and build our brand’.
2010: Design partnership Thornback & Peel produce a range of printed textiles with a playful style – combining contemporary patterns with nineteenth century wood engravings. Alongside collections of interior products, t-shirts, stationery and fabrics, the business offers a high end bespoke service. They completed Cockpit Arts’ business start-up course in 2006, and were provided with intensive one-to-one support by the in-house team to develop a robust business plan. The duo made a series of successful applications to the Cockpit Business Growth Loan Scheme to develop their product range, fund an on-line shop and increase their production capacity. Within two years of receiving their loan, the business reported an increase in turnover of 400%. Thornback & Peel now employs a full time studio manager and has products stocked in over 60 UK stores including Liberty and Paul Smith as well as supplying European and US outlets.
‘We know how to make shoes, but we didn’t have experience of building and running a business, which involves a whole new set of skills. We have had a lot of support from Cockpit Arts to help develop these skills, prepare our business plan and to get our business ready for growth and success. We were put forward by Peter Ting of Asprey, and supported by the Cockpit Arts’ team, for the Walpole and Arts & Business ‘Crafted’ programme and we are thrilled to have been chosen to be part of it’.
2010: Business partners James Ducker and Deborah Carré are passionate about handsewn shoemaking, bringing a unique combination of design detail, craftsmanship and customer service to bespoke men’s shoes. Their business, carréducker, creates bespoke and made-to-order handsewn shoes; carréducker signature English-manufactured Limited Edition Half-cut shoes and Tweed Winkers shoes, available online and from their studio at Cockpit Arts, Holborn. Since locating to Cockpit Arts in September 2004 they have taken advantage of Making It seminars and workshops, Open Studios and, most recently, made a successful application to the Cockpit Business Growth Loan Scheme. The loan has supported developing new products, entering new overseas markets, and forging new manufacturing partners. carréducker has also continued to benefit from one to one coaching from the Cockpit Arts’ team and is one of four selected businesses from Cockpit to participate in the Crafted scheme with Arts & Business and Walpole.
‘The workshops and one-to-one support at Cockpit are really in tune with what I need as a designer-maker and really help keep my business on track. Going through the loan application process was particularly helpful. Mapping everything out on paper means I can see what I need to do much more clearly. What were once dreams are now becoming realities!’
2010: Ndidi Ekubia is a contemporary silversmith using traditional techniques to create visually stimulating yet functional silverware, recognised for its distinctive style. The business was formally established in 2005 when Ndidi set up a workshop at Cockpit Arts, having graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1998. Since joining Cockpit, Ndidi has benefited from skills development workshops, one to one support and Open Studios. A successful application to the Cockpit Business Growth Loan Scheme in 2009 has provided Ndidi with a three year growth plan, which was utilised most recently to secure a place on the Arts & Business ‘Crafted‘ programme. Her business has continued to grow since 2005 and Ndidi has secured a loyal following of collectors for her work. Ndidi’s pieces can be found in high profile outlets throughout the UK and in a number of private collections.
‘Being at Cockpit is an excellent way to start your business and has opened up lots of positive opportunities for us’.
2010: The Society of Revisionist Typographers (SORT) offer a series of letterpress printed products alongside a typographic design service for a range of clients. Their unique stationery and books are stocked in selected UK stores such as Liberty, Magma and Paul Smith. SORT joined Cockpit Arts in 2007 as a start up business; featured in Cockpit’s ‘Quick Collect‘ tour during Open Studios in 2008 and have benefited from subsequent buyer tours. Following this, SORT were selected to take part in Cockpit’s Pop Up Studio during the London Design Festival in 2009, delivering workshops and making sales to the public for a week in Carnaby Street, Central London. Most recently SORT successfully applied to take part in a design collaboration project with the Southbank Centre, which was also brokered by Cockpit Arts. The project, Bloom 2010, is supporting six Cockpit Arts’ designer-makers to create new work for sale in the Southbank Centre retail outlets.
‘I’ve found that being in Cockpit Arts has helped my work a lot, partly due to the exposure you get through the Open Studios but also because there’s a lot of business and marketing support. You can have one-to-one coaching, whether it’s about approaching the media or because you need to sort out your financial records’.
2010: Jacqueline Cullen is the only contemporary jeweller working with Whitby jet in a non-traditional way, and she is dedicated to raising awareness of this ancient and sensual material by bringing it to a new audience. Her collections are sold through selected high profile galleries and outlets in the UK and USA, as well as made to commission for public and private collections. One-to-one support from the in-house team helped Jacqueline to make a successful Arts Council ‘Grants for the Arts’ application to make and show new work at a solo show in Canary Wharf. In 2008 Jacqueline was one of four Cockpit Arts’ jewellers showcased at the high-profile exhibition Collect, and has also benefited from ongoing one-to-one coaching. Today Jacqueline’s business is thriving and her sales income has more than doubled in the last two years. She now has work in international collections and exhibited in New York for the first time in 2009.