Spring 2015

Spring 2015
Illustration by Sophia Watts

Sunday, 13 January 2013

DEZIGNE - The story so far.......

DEZIGNE - The story so far.......

It all started just over 10 years ago when I joined the Creative Collaboration at Broadway in Nottingham but that is another story to tell so lets skip a few years and come to April 2010 when The Workshop - Nottingham (www.thenottinghamworkshop.com) was born. Set up as a non-profit organisation the basic idea is to use the space as launch pad of creative makers and designers using technology to the max and make things happen. We did some exhibitions with the most successful being "The public are not invited"  by Artist and Curator Paul Matosic.

We also did 3 design craft fairs. From the start there was a primitive online shop integrated within The Workshop offering for sale `made at the workshop' items. In December 2011 we did the most succesfull and largest Design craft fair where we launched the new concept of the DEZIGNE department store for makers and creatives. We set aside a small area in The Workshop as an `underground' shop and launched the online store at that craft fair.

The DEZIGNE department store was born!! Oh and also the underground Friday afternoon coffee shop.

In April 2012 Dezigne launched a massive campaign to get funded and promote local designers to go to the Florence Design show in Italy. The application was accepted by the show but unfortunately we did not manage to raise the finances to get there. At least we were left with a beautiful promo video made by Ioney Smallhorne from Is Creative Media (Resident at The Workshop) iscreativemedia.com

Now where do we go next .... we thought ..... struggling to sell online and at craft fairs ..... Hmmmm lets do a Pop Up Department store in Nottingham. Easier said than done ...... No money, no funding, no capital and most important no property.......
Ok lets get inspired so off to London - Clerkenwell and then London Design week ..... all the while thinking and liking and searching and spending 6 months looking and asking for a property..... still no money and no work and "seriously we can not afford this it will destroy us" ....thoughts..... but keep going...... then the final ultimate shot. I post 3 letters under the door of 3 properties in Nottingham and I said "That is it I give up over this, forget the whole thing and even think of closing DEZIGNE"..... Two days later (30th October 2021) a reply arrived at The Workshop:


Thank you for your email dated 26th October regarding a short term let at the above property.
We have contacted the Landlords regarding your proposals and we are pleased to offer you a short term let until the end of December.
A rent of £1,000 will be required for this period paid in advance, and the premises is to be taken as seen. We also require a copy of your liability insurance and some I.D.
If you wish to proceed please give me a ring and we can arrange access and draft a licence to occupy.


Now what.....? It is late but not too late ...... Money ? what money? I can't afford to pay the mortgage and lighting projects are all finished now.... the Athens regeneration proposal not shortlisted .... the next 72hrs were a massive brain activity, crunching numbers, calculating risks. Within 24 hours from the email I set up the whole Facebook call for creatives, invited as many people as possible and wrote full on terms and conditions, invented how the structure and format should work and what the commission basis has to be as well as putting together the application form to invite designers/makers. Now we wait ..... 48hrs later and only 4 sellers are on board .... This is suicide mission!

Ok Executive decision after 3 days.... Lets borrow £1000 from the workshop rent and lets do it.... I calculated all the risk and there was no clear answer..... just focus and work hard, take a chance and do it was the answer.

We paid the rent, signed the contract and got the keys on the 6th of November 2012...... OMG we are here.

7th, 8th and 9th cleaning, hoovering, painting... omg the dust, omg .... unbelievable amount of dust....I am glad no one else was here they would hated us for the rest of their lives..... The plan was to open on the 10th of Nov 2012.... No way ..... Ok the 10th we move thing in the shop.... go go go ....
Massive logistics and transportation 2 vans, one car...... Callecia Brown, her brother as well as Shawn, Alison, me and Thomas full on moving. On the 11th full on decorating, plastering, painting, cementing, removing old seating  ...... Sarah Lidster and Rhea Clements are on board helping and scraping the floor....
Later in the afternoon.....executive decision "That is it stop now ...... We have to set the shop "..... By late night on the 11th we set up the front of the shop ..... Monday the 12th of November We are open .....!!!!

OMG we don't have enough designers and stock........ Decorating work is continuous and I am installing lighting and a sound system, setting up a stage and preparing the pop up coffee shop ..... work continuous for another 10 days.
Stock and beautiful designs start arriving, people passing by, people we have never met just come into the shop asking to sell their makes and designs. This is amazing! Fantastic designs and applications still coming in via email and Facebook.

One day Fiona Allardyce walks in .... She says I was having a very drunken conversation in a pub ` I can't remember but a person that knows you said to come here'..... I think "Hmmm maybe trouble but lets hear what she has to say". "I can come later" she says "and show you my work". We said 7pm and she was not there.  We were unbelievably tired and frozen ...... she is not coming... we are leaving at 7:30pm"..... 7:27pm Fiona calls ... 7:42 arrives with her work...... I am so glad that we waited .... amazing multi-talented work, also a singer and turned to be the most valuable person in the project helping on a daily basis - a special Thank you Fiona.

22nd November -The opening ..... OMG we are not ready, still decorating still preparing ...... oh just chill we cant do everything let the wine flow and see what happens..... result, an amazing night with fashion show, loads of laughter and meeting and networking with interesting and diverse people ....  and of course sales on the day.

WOW what can i say ..... creativity and talent is huge in many types and format......

We were afraid we would not have many customers but slowly things pick up and sales continue running up to Christmas...... and the very first person to order a coffee .....YEY!!!

Jackie Ward comes on board with her designs and also helps in the shop..... Julia Church also starts helping in the shop floor ..... 3 times we were critically running out of stock but beautiful work and talented people kept coming and somehow we keep stock levels replenished.....

Neil comes in and we discuss Designing music live .... and it happens ...here is a sample http://bit.ly/WSO3GZ..... also preparing a full mix from in-shop music design experimenter and recording.

20th of Dec ...... oh well lets do an Xmas event .... just chilled and relaxed , Neil with Marita and then Fiona sing live ..... very wet outside but a chilled night inside.

Xmas passes and we thought sales would go down but they continues and it seems the pop-up coffee shop is getting more visits despite it being cold in the building.
So many things to says but have a look at our Facebook page for more information and set of events

Oh I almost forgot the Nottingham Evening Post found us - read more here http://bit.ly/X62jwT

6th of January 2013 seems to come quickly ..... last day of trading and it is the end of the DEZIGNE pop-up adventure :(

Work continious ......a few more people to pay and done……. Wow doing accounts and if we are not stung by the business rates DEZIGNE made £16.34 profit….. yey I can reinvest this !!…… well far off the £10K needed.
Although calculating just my time and the different trades I performed I should be paid £11,500 hmmm!!
Though at least 3 people that I know of got inspired to restart their creativity and making because their goods sold well in the shop …. Now how do you measure inspiration in numbers ?…..

The comments from visitors and customers are overwhelming. 50 makers on board and a book full of inspiring comments .....
"This is what Nottingham needs" ...... "You must stay"..... "WOW just WOW"..... are just some of the comments.

We must do something and we will do something. This positive creative energy is hard to be ignored.
So after 3 weeks work and negotiations we might be able to get the same space again and finally the DEZIGNE project was approved for Crowd Funding.  If you are inspired we need your help to get to the next level. Please have a look

Crowd Funder pitch http://bit.ly/W0izA9

And our promo video

also have a look at our images

It was hard work, very freezing and extremely tiring with endless hours of work and we are still working.... but it was worth every second....

Lets make the next level happen.........

Adam Spinos

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