Design in the Market Lecture – How To Promote Your Brand

Todays lecture was about how to get your design work noticed and how you can go about promoting your brand, we were given a talk about work getting noticed via media coverage. The university can help with reaching local press who may be interested in publishing articles about your work. Whats in it for them? They are focused on raising awareness of any of the universities success and promoting DJCAD as an upcoming place as well as your success.


Media is now showing a greater interest in biotechnology, there are a lot of new networks being established with the Dundee V&A and creative industries, design is now seen as established credible centre for design in Dundee.

Press release is first point of call, how do you get there?

Your not telling a story there’s no start beginning and end, it’s all about the beginning, don’t be shy about pushing the unique and freshness about what you are doing. Most people only read the first paragraphs, what you’re doing has to be interesting. People enjoy reading quirky unusual articles that showcase local success. Awards, funding and charity, we can then guide you with what works for your story media wise and what doesn’t.

Part two

Jane Gowans

Jane Gowans geology rocks model

Jane who was a previous student of DJCAD returned to tell us about her progress in her developing jewellery brand. She told us about her current jewellery collection based on precious metals. Her collection launched in Harvey Nicols before Christmas last year, she is also collaborating with successful designer Hayley Scanlan.

She discussed her perspective and experience of business, she told us her business had to develop naturally because when she graduated there were no workshops or modules based on setting up your own business. She developed her first product samples right away and began to sell them. “Don’t be put off by the jargon of business, its nothing special. The more you familiarise your self with it the more you get used to it. Don’t be disheartened if you can’t understand at first.”

She is a sole trader, she organises her business by herself by creating an annual plan with set deadlines that she sticks to. Initially she creates designs on paper which are then; converted to 3D files, are then printed on wax, hand cast in silver then sent to back her to make. She creates 10 items per collection so her time is valuable and must be spent wisely. In business terms Jane had to think ,”What am I doing differently that makes my brand unique. Who are my customers? What is the market place for appreciation for contemporary craft?”

“You have to think about  your target customers. Are the people you are selling to people who appreciate your work? You have to be patient”. Jane’s brand style is chic and contemporary jewellery, she creates for the style conscious woman; middle-aged with a disposable income, who reads vogue, stylist magazines and a regular buyer from boutiques. It is very important to know your buyers persona, Where would they shop? What do they read? Where do they socialise?Who is her audience?

People she wants to share the market with are other brands who share the same values as her, share key brand messages, Scottish made products, a handmade sense of exclusivity and luxury.

“Be aware that anyone you are speaking to could be a potential client. The best opportunities come from the most unusual places, opportunities from people you wouldn’t expect. Six degrees of separation is true.”

She also has PR representatives in London to help her with promoting finding contacts and general press. She has had also used some past relationships she has made herself,  “No one has as much heart and soul about your product then you do.” It is important to build relationships with people who can help along the way such as; graphic designers, hallmarkers, material suppliers, production assistants, gold platters, models, photographers.”


  • Direct Marketing, “Give someone companies something beautiful on their doorstep and they will always be reminded of you when that time comes to look for a jeweller for an upcoming photo-shoot”. The downside however, the scale of prospective clients you want to contact  is vast and might be quite expensive  to do, the cost can add up.
  • On Sales promotions, “Don’t cheapen your brand as a whole when it comes to promotions. “Have a plan for your discount in a marketing sense”.  Jane has sample sales, she feels this “Offers her customers a bigger experience.”
  • Personal selling via trade shows, “They are amazing opportunities to build relationships for the future, you can apply to get funding local or national to attend trade shows. They are excellent places to get noticed.
  • On rewards, you have to be able to sustain your business, “I was awarded no funding, anything I sold was put directly back into my business. When you create a product in the creative industry you get a better feeling of satisfaction when you sell something you’ve hand-made. You get a greater sense of achievement.”
  • Personal qualities, “Prepare for failure” You may doubt yourself but it’s not an easy road. “Success is the measure of how well you have coped with that failure”. This helps develop a stronger business sense. Failure happens a lot and makes you more determined, you are connected to what you are selling because its yours, this makes your determination greater.

Her final advice was to “Not to be shy about what you do, constantly tell people what your work is about, people will respond to friendly people. Enjoy it, make it a job you love,  if you enjoy what you’re doing you will be more productive in the long-term.”


Design and the Market

Today we were given a talk by Dawn from Scottish Institute for Enterprise. This is directly related to our Design in the Market module where we have been asked to think about business plans for our future. Dawn introduced us to SIE to show us the benefits and help that is readily available to us if went want to pursue any creative ideas we have into a business.

Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 12.55.10

The aims of SIE is to support, inspire and encourage. They help students believe that making a job is better than taking a job, may it be a creative idea/venture that is worth while developing. Starting a business is worth while thinking about in your student years, students have the time to be creative and inventive, they have noting to lose! Mid presentation Dawn asked us to get into groups, she had arranged a number of random objects along the front table of the lecture theatre. She then asked each group to pick one object and list as many possible uses we could think of for this particular item. We picked a soft sunglasses case, or what looked like one anyway. She reminded us that no ideas were silly and that this would help us get creative ideas flowing. Some people found it difficult to get into the task but once a few of us started we all started shouting out random ideas and it became funny.

Here are some of our quirky ideas we had; a sleeping bag for a mouse, a secret money pouch, a small animal burial bag, a bag that contains bird seeds, a bag that could be attached to a dog that is sent to the shop with a shopping list inside, a DIY Christmas advent calendar (date windows could be added), a remote control holder, a bag for washing pegs, a protective glove, a humane animal trap if set us properly, a puppet glove and finally a dog wizard hat. There were many more but we didn’t have the time as Dawn had to finish her presentation.


We were then told some business plans that previous students who had come to SIE had successfully taken forward. We were told about one student went to live in spain for a year during university and noticed the demand for whisky. When he came back he thought of the idea of creating a “World Whiskey Day” to help promote Scotland worldwide and its whiskey exports. This idea was from Aberdeen student Blair Bowman,

Mr Bowman explained: “I’m hoping that it allows more people to become interested in whisky and could also boost tourism for Scotland.

“Whisky is booming right now, all over the world. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate this famous Scottish export.

“I’ve had people from all over the world get in touch with me saying they are doing something where they are.”


The idea of World Whiskey Day was a hit and it was covered by almost every Scottish newspaper and evening news with video footage and interviews with Blair about his idea as well as world-wide interest! Blair continues to run this yearly event and his story is inspiring about having the confidence to utilise a strong business idea you have. Oh and The date of the International Whisky Day is on the 18th of May!

Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 13.02.19

Our module asks us to eventually create our own business plan, this may be for years in advanced but the idea of learning about how to get started is very helpful. For next week we have been asked to take our own ideas and make fake evidence. Fake evidence is a mock-up of a and idea or product placed in a real life magazine/website/shop/blog. Interestingly we were shown some previous mock ups from students a few years ago, a few of them have used their future idea as goals and have amazingly achieved them! We have been given tools to help us put our ideas through the tests of being worthwhile, we have to think about funding, desirability and competitors.  Wish me luck!

Friday Presentations, Group 3!

We were asked to give a Pecha Kucha presentation, for those of you who are unaware what Pecha Kucha means: it is a Japanese form of presentation, basically there are 20 slides on a timer each slide lasts only 20 seconds. In order to give the presentation you had to know what you were talking about and stay in sync with the images relating to what you were explaining. It sounds terrible and like something that could easily go so very wrong but surprisingly we had loads of fun doing it! I really enjoyed the style of presentation, sometimes when doing public speaking each slide can drag on and cause the audience to lose interest, with each slide being on timer this problem was eliminated. Of course there were a few pauses of silence between some groups slides but they were filled with light-hearted humour which made the experience that more enjoyable! What seemed to be the dreaded friday presentation was in fact a quick chat among our peers with a microphone included!