Designers and crafters and bears …oh my!

With host of experts from the craft and design industry, Folksy Summer School aims to offer invaluable advice on starting a business as a maker

For one weekend in a peaceful corner of the beautiful Eccesall Woods near Sheffield, Folksy Summer School brings together a diverse range of inspirational people from across the design industry, to give advice on how designers, makers and crafters can be the best at what they do. With expert-led lessons, demos, workshops and mentoring sessions, it looks set to be a creative know-how feast for building a successful brand.

As the UK’s largest marketplace for handcrafted work by established designers and small-scale hobbyists alike, Folksy have seen an increase in people looking to take the leap to become professional makers, creating a business from what they love. Recognising the value of interaction and thoughtful discussion, the focus of the event is on delivering industry knowledge and skills-sharing in an accessible, friendly environment. “There are lots of great online services but nothing that brought experts and makers together in the same space,” says Folksy’s Emily Barnes. “The summer school seemed like the perfect opportunity to do this.”

Crafty virtuosos and design luminaries include The Design Trust’s Patricia van den Akker; Emma Jones from Enterprise Nation, which provides support for small businesses; marketing expert Polly Dugdale from Handmade Horizons; editor of craft mag Mollie Makers, Lara Watson; Clare Yuille from the Indie Retail Academy; author of State of Craft, Victoria Woodcock; editor of Design Week, Angus Montgomery; Founder of School for Startups, Doug Richard; Industry ideas lab Scribe London; and a whole host of other designers, artists, entrepreneurs, and innovators. The talks aim to inspire, inform and provide expert insight to help develop the skills for successfully growing a business, covering topics such as marketing, press, branding, social media, selling, pricing, blogging, trends, and creating collections.

If you fancy your hand at a new craft, alongside the main events there will be demos in screenprinting, lino cutting and sewing skills, and a product photography workshop to help you learn how to show off work in all its glory. The Amazings – passionate elders brimming with experience and wisdom (see p34)- will also be there to share techniques in knitting, mosaic and felt making. Jump aboard the StartUp Britain Bus for mentoring sessions with info on useful connections and national initiatives. And there will still be time for one-to-one chats with the experts and networking over a picnic lunch and local ice cream.

Folksy Summer School, August 10-11 2013, Sheffield.

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