Friday, 27 November 2009

Scout me out

Vauxhall Fashion Scout Salon: Business Development

On wednesday evening I hop on the train up to London and make my way to a pub in Islington where I am meeting Brian in preparation for the 2 hour talk we are about to attend, compliments of Vauxhall Fashion Scout.
Fashion Scout offers this service to all applicants. The seminars run for a year, providing expertise on all aspects of setting up a fashion business, this is the second one (I unfortunately missed the first as I only found out about it an hour before and South West trains just don't provide that kind of service. i.e. they don't fly).
As we settle down, it's a relaxed atmosphere and everyone chit chats away, note pads a ready. Information absorption time. GO.

Speaker number one: CHARLOTTE BLAKEY: KELTIE
Keltie is a leading firm of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys based in Central London, representing UK and overseas clients, in a range of industries who wish to identify, establish, protect, exploit and enforce their intellectual property rights in the UK, Europe and worldwide.

Charlotte is more than helpful and raises our awareness of the importance of copyrights, trademarks and registering your designs. All expensive business though. Registering one of your designs starts at £370/£400! It goes down after that but still. Ouch.

Emma's no nonsense approach to finance was very popular at last week's Salon. With years of experience working with designers Emma will be advising on financial planning and growing your business.

Emma is lovely and immediately hands out this spreadsheet (a foreign word in the eyes of a creative)...

Emma has provided us with an example of what we should be doing in keeping track of our costs. i.e the bit that no one really wants to talk about or admit that they are slightly behind on.
FORTUNATELY I have Brian and we already have done one of these with a few others 'spreadsheets' to go with it. We give each other a nudge and a wink...I grin and wriggle around in my seat. Brian doesn't. Damn his cool. Must try harder Charlotte.
Then I drop my pen.
I can't find it and I need it. I am disturbing the class. Climbing as quietly as possible under my chair Brian taps me on the shoulder. "What's wrong?". I tell him. He says he has an application on his iPhone for blimey! how can an iPhone find my pen...? I have a quick conversation in my head about how times are a changing and in my day...etc, when Brian passes me his iPhone with an illuminated screen. Aha. I get it. A light. I locate my pen. I apologize to those around me for my bull in a china shop behavior and sit down. Brian grins. I don't.

The Centre for Fashion Enterprise based at the London College of Fashion is a business development programme that works with early stage fashion companies in London. The aim of the Centre is to support the very best of this talent in helping them build successful fashion companies by giving designers access to their network of diverse fashion professionals.

Jason again is lovely and provides no nonsense, unbiased advice for people like myself. He talks mainly this evening on interns, how to get the best out of them and also whether we should pay them (a hot topic it would seem as opinions immediately fly around the room). However it is not until after the salon has finished that we really get somewhere. Brian practically pins Jason up against a corner and questions him like a man on trial. The icing on the cake being when he asks Jason "So, how can we use you?". AMAZING. As if I would ever say that to a lecturer and as Jason laughs he proceeds to tell us all the ways in which he can helps us, gives us email addresses, advice and then asks my name and says to get in touch. Worth the trip just for that. GO TEAM


  1. Haha! Nice one Charlotte. I haven't got the online version of the spreadsheet going but I will do it over the weekend!

  2. I have a pen that is attached to a string that goes around your neck. Let me know if you would like to borrow it before the next session. These seminars/seeions sound amazing - are they free?

  3. Just found your blog, it is so useful to see how you're getting on, trying to make a name for yourself. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the intern debate, mainly as I'm one myself. Hope it goes well for you.

  4. Just found you, too. I feel triggered, thank you. Will stick around...

  5. Hahaha! You have a really amusing way of story-telling. Brian's app would make millions!

    I've just found your blog through style bubble (PR working I pressume!) and it's really fabulous. But then I am one of those folks desperately hoping I get into uni (for fashion design, pretty obviously) this year so might be a little bit biased on that opinion. But it's like a rare snippet of insight which I've no doubt will be useful in (business) life, so thankyou!

  6. hi! i too recently took the plunge, left my job and and set up my own knitwear label. reading your posts has been very close to home - i want those zip sample cards!

  7. Probably the most useful thing a designer could do in the blogging world.
    Amazing, i admire you and will follow your journey.

    Madeleine Louise