Interview with Concrete Wardrobe

 

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On Thursday, myself and the jewellery girls went along to The DCA to interview James Donald about his business Concrete Wardrobe.

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If you’ve been following my posts about this, you’ll know Concrete Wardrobe is a small independent business retailer based on Edinburgh’s Broughton Street, specialising in showcasing Scottish design and craft. For our Design and the Market module we have been researching into this business to gain an insight into the world of business as a whole, and what are the things we should be working on in regards to our own business future.

 

We met James in The DCA and after a bit of friendly conversation we headed in the direction of the interview.

To introduce our conversation we gave James a gift that we had made ourselves as an invitation to “fill us in” on his world at Concrete Wardrobe:

 

This got us off to a great start and we were soon chatting away with James, scribbling down all the great advice we was giving us about setting up and maintaining a business.

 

The initial part of the interview went over where Concrete Wardrobe came from, and we discovered it evolved out of Concrete Butterfly, a furniture design shop, that both James and Fiona worked in.

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At the time they were both finding it difficult to get their own textile based design work into shops and galleries and James told us that textiles are generally seen as “the poor cousins of craft” and that they didn’t sell, but both he and Fiona were determined to prove them wrong and thus Concrete Wardrobe was born. Initially it was an experiment, set up as a pop-up shop in the storage closet of Concrete Butterfly during the 2000 Edinburgh festival. It was so successful that it spawned into a permanent business.

 

I love the idea of this organically growing business, something that isn’t overly planned or structured and just happens. Although James mentioned that there was constant communication between himself and Fiona, which in itself is a form of important business planning, there was no formal plan or set of strict rules they had to stick to.

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For myself, this point is key. In my own work and development i like to let it grow organically and just let it build itself, but i will stick to constant communication as a form of business planning, even if it is just communicating with myself!

 

Another interesting point from my perspective as a maker was how the pick out the work to sell in the shop. James and Fiona like everything in the shop, he said that this was key to selling. If you don’t like something that you’re trying to sell to somebody else how are you ever going to sell anything at all? I think this is a key point, not just as a retailer but as a designer/maker as well. In the future i hope to be selling my work, and i know that to be able to sell it and market and create its image as a desirable product i will have to believe IT IS a desirable product.

Also, Concrete Wardrobe has a unique style and feel to it’s image, as well as deep roots in Scottish culture, as all the work has to have a Scottish connection.

Keeping a clear image of who you are and what your brand is is important for any business. Concrete Wardrobe uses a bold black and white “shouty” typeface to get themselves noticed (as James said “the shy bairns’ dinnae get the sweeties”) which is utilized in the shop aesthetics and website to allow the products in the shop to stand out for themselves and get noticed.

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Having this clear-cut definition of what their business looks like is a good base to formulate their unique standing within the retail world of design and craft. Something i’ll need to start doing myself!

 

Now you’ve got your brand… what now? Marketing. Marketing. Marketing. Of course! Facebook, twitter, blogging, pinterst, etc. etc. etc. Concrete Wardrobe and myself are on them all! And the occasional press release is a good idea too!

 

After that you’ve got to get creative. Start your own unique marketing strategies, as well as creating fun and interesting add-ons to your business. For example Concrete Wardrobe have Top Tunes to Shop to on their blog and obviously within the shop you can’t help but want to boogie a wee bit! Also, and exciting development in Concrete Wardrobe is their Maker of the Month where they promote one designer’s work for a month online and within the shop. Having these little niches expands the business and maintains it’s flow. Taking risks and trying out new things is what makes Concrete Wardrobe the success that it is.

 

The most important piece of advice James gave us was to diversify as a designer. Be adaptable. Above all, know your strengths and weaknesses and really believe that you can do anything.

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Thank you James, your insight was wonderful and i have learned a lot from this interview about how to continue creating my own business.

 

Chloe out.

Our gift to Concrete Wardrobe

In our initial meetings discussing plans for the interview we wanted to post a handmade jewellery styled item to Concrete Wardrobe as an invitation… but as time is an issue we decided to go for a retroactive invitation.

So, as we all met up with James for the interview the invitation was presented to him as more of a gift… and it went down wonderfully!

I thought i’d pop up this quick post just to show off what me made (and over the weekend i’ll put up the full interview post… once i’ve finished transcribing my notes!).

The Gift

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The Packaging

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The Excitement

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Stay tuned for the full interview post!

Chloe out.

A twitterview with Craig Henderson

A twitterview with Craig Henderson

@ChloeHenderson9: @Craig_Henderson as a “head in the clouds” creative kinda guy, can I Twitterview you about language and literature in our world today?

@Craig_HendersonMy head is far above the clouds, thank you very much. But yes, ‘twould be a delight to be interviewed by your fine self.

@ChloeHenderson9: do you have time to talk now or should I come back later?

@Craig_HendersonNot fully joined twitterdom. Can only access this on work PC til I sort my Mac. Can carry on if you don’t mind slow replies

@ChloeHenderson9: of course I don’t! An easy, little self-indulgence to start with: what is your favourite word(s), and why?

@Craig_HendersonI like “tmesis”. It’s an absofuckinglutely wonderful word and so flexitastically versiwondertile.

@ChloeHenderson9: How would you describe the importance of reading and writing in our everyday lives?

@Craig_HendersonThey’re of enormous importance, but try as we might, they cannot replace a face-to-face. Ideally with a pint.

@ChloeHenderson9: what do you think the effects of the internet (twitter, blogging, etc.) are on our literacy and our literature?

@Craig_HendersonLiteracy and literature has been around for a few milenia, while the internet is in its infancy. Ask me again in a decade.
@ChloeHenderson9: do I detect a cop-out…….?
@ChloeHenderson9: where do you think the value of words, storytelling and all of that beauty sits in our modern world?
a few months later…..
@Craig_HendersonBugger. Are we still in the middle of a twitterview? Lost the plot a bit? Care to help me refind it?
@ChloeHenderson9: I believe I asked you where you thought the value of storytelling is in our modern world?
@Craig_HendersonStories: informative parables, imparting truths, or vicarious tales, eliciting thrills. It’s all good; always was and will.
@ChloeHenderson9: what does the word storytelling make you think of?
@Craig_HendersonMaybe it depends whose asking. I can see several trees talking in a circle, each named after a month of the year.
@ChloeHenderson9: ah, I loved that story. It’s nice to see you’ve been paying attention! *
talking of trees, do you mourn the loss of the handwritten letter?
or do you like instant digital responses? I know you print out and send letters, but do you ever handwrite them?
@Craig_HendersonI hand wrote a letter recently. I would do more but my writing is ugly. Scrawled or printed a tangible letter speaks louder.
@ChloeHenderson9: last one: if there was one book/poem/tweet/song/etc. that you think everybody in the world should read, what would it be?
@Craig_HendersonAm still in love with Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy. But ask me again in 40 years. Ta for the twitterview. Loved it!
@ChloeHenderson9: thank you for the twitterview! You were fanfuckingtastic.
Thank you very much Craig for this little twitterview, although one of the most elongated twitterviews it was still beautiful and full of your awesome insights. Befriend Craig on facebook or stalk him on twitter at @Craig_Henderson
* I gave Craig Neil Gaiman’s “Fragile Things” book for Christmas, and one of the stories is all about trees, named after months of the year, all storytelling in a circle (and I epically recommend it, because it is beautiful – not just that story but everything Neil Gaiman has written).
Chloe out.

A twitterview with Tom Dickins

A twitterview with Tom Dickins

 

 

@ChloeHenderson9: @tomdickins as a writer of glorious lyrics and maker of beautiful music, can I #twitterview you about literature and language?

@tomdickins: absolutely! I’ll be offline for the next halfa – then go for it!

@ChloeHenderson9: great! Give me a tweet when you’re ready my love.

….30 minutes pass….

@tomdickins: I can do it now? Do you want me to do a shout out about it? xx

@ChloeHenderson9: awesome. Yeah sure, that would be great.

@tomdickins: about to do a #twitterview with @ChloeHenderson9 ! Keep an eye on my feed!!! Xx

@ChloeHenderson9: p.s. if ya’ll miss it/can’t keep up, I will be archiving it on my blog later on :)

an easy little self-indulgence to start with: what is your favourite word(s) and why?

@tomdickins: loquatiousness – it sounds the same way as it means. Just say it out loud… its beautiful…. and trivial ;-)

@ChloeHenderson9: ooo I love words with sss sounds. Good choice!

@tomdickins: why thank you!

also love – I have to run an errand in 20 – so any I miss I will answer as soon as I’m home! x

@ChloeHenderson9: don’t worry about it, i’ll try and keep it short and sweet :)

how would you describe the importance of reading and writing in our everyday lives?

@tomdickins: I wish I read more, but I couldn’t really exist without writing on a daily basis. It’s as essential as morning coffee…

@ChloeHenderson9: as a creator, where do you think the value of storytelling is in our modern world?

@tomdickins: storytelling is our quintessential way of learning and healing. Whether written, sung or danced – stories are our medicine.

@ChloeHenderson9: aww, that was like a little story in itself.

what do you think the effects of the internet (twitter,blogging,etc.) are on our literature and our literacy?

@tomdickins: I think it’s exciting for our literature and abominable for our literacy…. (Cont’d in next tweet)

EG: Our ability to research, share and publish independently is phenomenal. Our speeeling and: grammar? sucks now.

@ChloeHenderson9: do your mourn the loss of the handwritten letter? or do you like instant digital responses? or do you still write letters?

@tomdickins: I always wrote letters but never got around to posting them… which make them more like diaries in the rediscovery.

case in point:

@ChloeHenderson9: haha love it!

p.s. your sunglasses are making me jealous as I sit here in the dismal Scottish rain :(

@Rosie_Cotton: I do the same – the rediscovery of Boston/New York letters & poems today. Made me happy-sad. love.

@ChloeHenderson9: last one: if there was one book/poem/song/tweet/etc. that you think the whole world should read, what would it be?

@tomdickins: Book: A Heart Breaking Work Of Staggering Genius – Dave Eggers, Poem: Everything Auden ever wrote, (cont’d)

Song: Ladder Song, Bright eyes and Tweet: everyone should follow @DeadEndFiction . Xx

Gotta run! Much love! xx

@ChloeHenderson9: thank you very much wonderful @tomdickins for this kick-ass little #twitterview :)

 

 

Thanks Tom for this beautiful little twitterview, as one of the best musicians and songwriters that I know of I really appreciate your insights.

Still don’t know who Tom Dickins is? Your missing out! Check him out on his website!

Thanks again Tom :)

 

 

Chloe out.

A sort of twitterview with George Archibald

A sort of twitterview with George Archibald

 

George doesn’t have a twitter account but has read my twitterviews via this blog and wanted to give me his answers to the questions.

 

“These are instinctive thoughts on the answers to the 6 questions, and apply now. They might not have applied 20 years ago. And they might be different again in 20 years time. Such is the way of life maybe but here they are now.”
what is your favourite word(s) and why?
“1. Love.
With it the world survives and prospers, without it it wont.”
how would you describe the importance of reading and writing in everyday life?
“2. Very very important.”
what do you think the effects of the internet (tweeting, blogging, etc.) are on our literacy and our literature?
“3. Often, maybe mostly, detrimental.
The more ways and means we find to communicate with each other, the less we seem able to communicate well, and effectively.”
how would you describe the value of storytelling in our modern world?
“4. Extremely important.”
do you mourn the loss of the handwritten letter? or do you like instant digitial responeses? or do you still write letters?
“5. I do, yes.
I also like ‘instant’ digital response. I do both. “If it’s important enough, put it in writing” remains ever true.”
if there was one book/poem/tweet/song/blog/etc. that you think everybody in the world should read, what would it be?
“6. A song, called ‘Nature Boy’. Written by Eden Ahbez c1947, and recorded by Nat King Cole and others. It contains, in my view, the best lyric ever written. How’s that for a claim to fame?
Check it out, and see if you agree once you hear it. The lyric is “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn, is just to love, and be loved in return”.”
^ I love that song!
Thanks George for answering my questions. I really appreciate your insights and am glad that you were happy enough to respond without the confines of twitter (p.s. if you wanna answer the questions but don’t have twitter, just email me at chloehen21@aol.com or if you wanna be twitterviewed tweet me @ChloeHenderson9)
George is a member of Ragged Glory, who are a wonderful Scottish folk band. If you have never heard of them before then you should head over to their website and check them oot – it’s well worth your time, I promise :)
Looks like they have an upcoming tour date at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – GO!
Thanks again George.
Chloe out.

A twitterview with Steven Hislop

A twitterview with Steven Hislop

@ChloeHenderson9: Normally I contact ya’ll when I want to twitterview you, but if anyone wants to come to me please please tweet at me for a twitterview :)

@CandyCupcake92: Hi Chloe @THE_OAM in Marchmont would like to be twitterviewed :)

@ChloeHenderson9: Hiya, are you free for a twitterview just now,or should I come back later?

@THE_OAMAvailable today apart from between 12 and 1 if any good Chloe?

@ChloeHenderson9: how about now?

@THE_OAMPerfect!!

@ChloeHenderson9: great! an easy, little self-indulgence to start: what is your favourite word(s) and why?

@THE_OAMFamily time…self-explanatory

@ChloeHenderson9: aww, that is such a beautiful way of looking at the question.

where do you think the value of storytelling sits in our modern world?

@THE_OAMHighly as there r 2 many serious situations happening around the world so it’s important to stay “light-hearted” so 2 speak

@ChloeHenderson9: how would you describe the importance of reading and writing in everyday life?

@THE_OAMAgain highly as technology (like this) is taking over and the younger generation are missing out that importance

@ChloeHenderson9: ooo you touched on my next question! so, with your answer in mind…

@ChloeHenderson9: what do you think the effects of the internet (tweeting, blogging, etc.) are on our literacy and our literature?

@THE_OAMWow tough questions haha. I think it has its merits but as you can see from this you can get used to shorthand ie 2, r etc

@ChloeHenderson9: on the whole, do you consider the internet a positive or negative thing in relation to our language, literature and literacy?

@THE_OAMProbably a positive in the grand scheme of things but a negative in terms of language, literature and literacy

@ChloeHenderson9: do you mourn the loss of the handwritten letter? or do you like instant digitial responeses? or do you still write letters?

@THE_OAMI wouldn’t say I mourn it but times change&digital response is the future. Ive written letters recently but it felt strange

@ChloeHenderson9: last one: if there was one book/poem/tweet/song/blog/etc. that you think everybody in the world should read, what would it be?

@THE_OAM:  I genuinely don’t think I can answer that 1 but I do believe that every1 has a song that they remember for their own reason

@ChloeHenderson9: thank you very much for this little twitterview, it has been fantastic and your thoughts have been so useful :)

@THE_OAM:  My pleasure. I enjoyed it and there were some tough questions there.

 

Thanks again Steven for this wonderful twitterview, your insights and thoughts were greatly appreciate and deeply valued. Follow Steven on twitter at @stevenhislop or at @THE_OAM

 

Chloe out.

A twitterview with Vicky Featherstonehaugh

A twitterview with Vicky Featherstonehaugh

@ChloeHenderson9: Normally I contact ya’ll when I want to twitterview you, but if anyone wants to come to me please please tweet at me for a twitterview :)

@TheWoolShop1: I will, if you like :)

pants! am logged on as the shop. I’ll log on as me if you want to twitterview…. I already know my fav word ;)

@ChloeHenderson9: yeah sure that would be great :) Tweet me as yourself when you’re ready.

@vickyfsh: go!

@ChloeHenderson9: an easy, little self-indulgence to start: what is your favourite word(s) and why?

@vickyfsh: aluminium because if flows & you don’t need to lift your pen… that’s about as much as I learned during chemistry!

@ChloeHenderson9: do you say it the american way (aloooominum) or the british way (alUminium)?

@vickyfsh: the british way!

@ChloeHenderson9: where do you think the value of storytelling sits in our world today?

@vickyfsh: I think it’s very important, especially when it comes to using your imagination

@ChloeHenderson9: how would you describe the importance of reading and writing in everyday life?

@vickyfsh: It’s essential. I can’t see how we’d function properly without either of them.

@ChloeHenderson9: with that in mind…

…what do you think the effects of the internet (tweeting, blogging, etc.) are on our literacy and our literature?

@vickyfsh: I think people read less, in book form at least, but I find I write more than I have in the past through blogs & the likes

@ChloeHenderson9: do you mourn the loss of the handwritten letter? or do you like instant digitial responeses? or do you still write letters?

@vickyfsh: Hubby & I wrote to each other loads when he was in the army (in the days before email!). I prefer quick emails now.

@ChloeHenderson9: last one: if there was one book/poem/tweet/song/blog/etc. that you think everybody in the world should read, what would it be?

@vickyfsh: oh, that’s a hard one! Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh, purely for the way in which it’s written.

@ChloeHenderson9: Thank you very much @vickyfsh for this littlw twitterview, it was beautiful :)

@vickyfsh: You’re welcome :)

 

Thanks Vicky for this wonderful little twitterview. Your insights and thoughts are greatly appreciated and inexplicably valuable. Vicky is a fantastic woolsmith and creates lots of fantastic little bits and pieces, follow her woolly adventures on the wool shop blog and follow her on twitter at @vickyfsh or at @TheWoolShop1

 

Chloe out.