Two years ago my friend Katie, who runs the excellent Confessions of a Design Geek blog, had a wonderful idea. Alongside the trade Home show, a bursary would be offered. The lucky winner would receive mentoring, a free stand at the show, press support, coverage on several blogs and networking opportunities. I decided to offer my support by offering a free photoshoot to the winner.
Surface pattern designer Jess Hogarth came out top the first year and we have since worked together many times. Jess has gone on be a regular at Top Draw and her designs have been licensed all over the world. There's no doubt the bursary gave Jess a huge confidence boost at such a crucial early stage of her career.
Last year, the bursary grew in scope to include a short film from R&A Collaborations, a Wallunica stand covering, Design Trust Business Club membership, products stocked at the Southbank Centre Shop PR and Social Media support from WeAreDecorum and more!
Fanny Shorter took the prize with her stunning, nature-inspired prints and we spent a great day shooting her notebooks, cushions and other accessories at my studio.
For 2015, the bursary has grown once again. Additional prizes include free business cards, stand design mentoring from Mini Moderns, 6 months free membership of Press Loft and much more. I'm delighted to be supporting once again, not only will be the winner receive a free shoot at my new London studio, but I'll also be offering a free group shoot to the shortlisted designers. The shoots will take place in early December, so stay tuned.
If you create design-led home accessories, are in your first 3 years of business and have not done a trade show before, make sure you enter. If not, please vote when the shortlist is announced and follow #coadgbursary + @coadg