Hidden Art Forum 2011: Making Sales

Dieneke from Hidden Art and Patsy Francis from UBS introduce the Forum

Thanks to everyone who came along to the 2011 Forum, which this year focused on the best ways for designers and designer-makers to increase their sales, a topic close to everyone’s hearts.

We’d also like to thank UBS (and particularly Patsy Francis) for their kindness in providing a venue and refreshments.

It was a full-day session with 12 speakers, so there was a lot of information to process! Along the way we found out why curating 60 designers is like herding cats, how much John Lewis charge for making payments on-time, why you should raise your prices for difficult clients, and what height to place your products at if you want them to sell (eye-level, if you’re wondering).

It’s always nice to be able to get out and meet fellow designers and designer-makers, as it can be quite a solitary profession with a lot of time in the studio, and we think our annual Forum provides a great opportunity for our members to network. We’re working on a full summary of the day which will be up on our website, but it’s hard to encapsulate the huge amount of information and tips that we heard over the 8 hours.

You can see some of the presentations from the day on our Slideshare account.

The full list of speakers was:

Product designer Lina Meier (http://www.linameier.com/) on her experience of selling her work to John Lewis.

Jane Carr on the selling exhibition she curated for Fortnum and Masons and how to get noticed by curators

Ian Rudge (Business Development Manager http://www.clarionevents.com/) on about the art of exhibiting

Kal Chottai (DamDesign http://www.damdesign.it/) on online user experience

Snowden Flood (www.snowdenflood.com/) on using new media to increase sales

Simon Cronshaw discussing the successful Culture Label website (http://www.culturelabel.com/)

Charlotte Sale (http://www.charlottesaleglass.com/) on pitching to Liberty as part of the Britain’s Best Next Thing programme.

Christoph Geppert of Grain (http://www.graincreative.com/) on branding and selling

Julianne Lavery, visual merchandising lecture at the University of Westminster on visual merchandising techniques

Plus Micro Sessions from:

Jo Sealy (http://www.to-market.co.uk/), Better Marketing

Patricia van den Akker (http://www.akker.co.uk/) , Pricing

Max Fraser (http://twitter.com/maxfraserdesign), Trends

Jo Sealy

Hidden Art Members watch Jo Sealy talk about marketing and it’s importance to designers

Julianne Lavery

Julianne Lavery (visual merchandising module leader at the University of Westminster) gave us a fascinating insight into the basics of visual merchandising – the art of displaying products. This is something that every designer could use some insight into! If you want people to pay attention to your products when they see them in person, whether in a shop or at a trade show, you need to know how to showcase them effectively.

Max Fraser

Max Fraser was our last speaker, and gave a great presentation to round off the day, backed by visuals from his ‘Joy of Living’ exhibition which supports Maggie’s Cancer Centres. He talked a bit about how he dislikes the whole concept of ‘Trends’, and that designing work to fit a perceived trend can be harmful. He said that designers should never design something because they can see it working well on the pages of a magazine. Designers need to listen to their instincts, see what needs bettering, and don’t look at other people’s work too much. The most important ‘trend’, if it can be called that, is the move towards longevity and sustainability, and it’s something everyone needs to incorporate into their work.

The specific presentations you can view on Slideshare are:

Jane Carr, on the Handmade at Fortnum’s Exhibition
Charlotte Sale on pitching to Liberty as part of the Britain’s Best Next Thing programme
Grain Creative, on branding and how it works
Lina Meier on selling to John Lewis
Snowden Flood on how she uses social media to promote her business

Thanks again for everyone who came along, and please let us know any feedback or comments you have on the event.