Rheanna Lingham, jewellery designer and co-owner of London store Luna & Creative, the Curator of One Year In shares her advice for emerging designers and makers looking to make their mark – and profit.
One Year In is the a curated show part of the annual New Designers exhibition, featuring 100 of the most promising and intriguing designers, studios and entrepreneurs that have recently launched their own businesses.
It’s a time of considerable economic anxiety – why is 2018 a good year for an emerging design brand to set up in business?
In times of economic uncertainty, it is the creative businesses that pull us through. The unknown quantity of Brexit and a poor-performing pound will affect already-established and big businesses, but small companies with the flexibility to adapt easily are in a much stronger position. Start-ups only know the current situation, so plan their business to begin and grow in current times.
People are yearning for good news and change – new designers and makers can provide this.
What advice would you give a new designer/brand looking for a foothold in the industry?
Starting a business is like building a house; every house needs strong foundations, but when it comes to the building, this is when you can get creative and stand out from the rest. Good foundations to a business come through research and planning. You must know what you want to achieve. Long-term goals can seem vague and unrealistic – so take small steps, just plan what you want to achieve in the first year.
- Research your industry, from the big players to the one-man bands:
- Where do they sell?
- How do they present their product?
- Whom do they sell to?
- Plan your money. Cash flow forecasts might seem dull and just something that the bank makes you do to get a loan but, trust me, a business that knows its ingoings and outgoings week by week or is much more likely to succeed. With this strong framework, trusting your instinct is then easy.
- Design with creativity and responsibility. Don’t imitate.
- When starting out, sometimes you want to take every opportunity thrown at you, selling in a shop, partnering with a brand…but if this isn’t the correct fit for you it won’t work out. This can be waste of time and money but is mostly demoralising.
- Don’t be afraid to say no. Pick a few good opportunities and throw yourself into them.
In your experience, what are the common pitfalls that new design businesses can fall into?
Visiting trade shows over the last 12 years, it is evident which brands are trying to tick every box, be everything to everyone and in doing so don’t attract any excitement. It is really important to develop a cohesive product range – keep it tight, especially at the start. Do everything you do perfectly and don’t grow too fast.
If you had to list 3 traits that a designer needs to survive and thrive, what would they be?
Resilience, kindness and self-awareness.
Find out more about Rheanna Lingham’s jewellery designs and her London store Luna & Curious with co-owners Polly George and Kaoru Parry (above) here
And be the first on the know about next years New Designers 2019 here
If you want to try out planning your own cashflow forecast for your creative business download your free template here