Judith Booth runs her own company designing and producing children’s gifts – Made With Love by Mrs Booth. “I was looking for things for my own children and couldn’t find much I liked so I began making my own – colouring and counting books, alphabet friezes, stickers, prints and cards.”
Like many creative people, Judith found designing and producing products relatively easy and enjoyable, but marketing and selling them much more difficult.
A contact at the East London Design Show recommended CIPs’ London Style project and she was accepted onto the mentoring programme. Judith had intensive one-to-one sessions with creative industry experts who helped her to develop strategies for reaching wider markets.
“A lot of it is nitty-gritty and practical – really looking at your products and thinking about them as a range, what are your best sellers, how can you develop a pricing structure, what is the strength of your brand? They encouraged me to go to trade fairs and coached me in approaching people and how to ‘sell’.”
Part-financed by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund, London Style worked to assist London’s creative businesses in a sustained support programme to access new markets and win new business. Based at the Fashion and Textile Museum, the mentoring programme provided designers with essential knowledge and skills, enabling them to maximise on their strengths, tackle any challenges, and develop and grow their businesses. London Style also offered designers the chance to socialise with other friendly, like-minded creatives and build working relationships.
The project helped Judith to become more business-minded. “They get you to focus on being pragmatic: Is this going to make you money? You also go to some group sessions – which are great because you meet other people facing the same kind of problems as yourself – and it’s a brilliant networking opportunity.”
Judith’s turnover has doubled in the last year. A buyer from John Lewis saw her range on Not on the High Street website. This led to her biggest order yet. “John Lewis have taken two of my pictures and the alphabet frieze which they are going to sell in the Nursery Department and in their online catalogue.”
CIPs currently have a similar project offering support and advice to creative individuals and businesses. Please visit our Creative Hub page for more details.