Meet Class of 2016 – seven up-and-coming designers building their way to business success with the help of Renfrewshire Council.
The seven are several months into an initiative hosted by InCube, Invest in Renfrewshire’s business programme to launch and grow creative retail businesses locally – a move aimed at reinvigorating the area’s economy alongside its proud artistic and culture heritage.
All seven are benefitting from a package of workshops and business advice from industry experts worth more than £11,000 – allowing them to concentrate on developing their products, services and markets in a worry-free environment.
Early signs are good, with high level of sales at InCube’s shop in Paisley’s Gilmour Street. Several are already operating on niche online retail site Etsy and all are about to launch websites.
And some are drawing attention from further afield.
Glasgow School of Arts postgraduate and former award-winning architect Krisztina McCulloch – the creative force behind Paisley-based business KCD – designs hand-drawn and hand-crafted jewellery and homewares using wood and Scottish eco-friendly materials like Harris Tweed.
Her love of cityscapes inspired her most recent collection of hand-drawn illustrations onto silk, linen and clay and her products are now sold throughout Scotland including museums and National Trust properties.
Krisztina’s designs will be on exhibition in The Lighthouse in Glasgow – Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture – in summer 2017 after winning a competition recently.
Melissa Watt, who lives in Paisley, specialises in highly intricate handmade origami paper light fixtures sold under her Misty Concepts. Her products attracted a lot of attention at the Scotland Re:Designed Interiors showcase event in Glasgow in November.
Thanks to winning a Creative Scotland place, she is now being mentored by William Knight, director of 100% Design, the largest interiors & design showcase in the UK.
He said: “I’m supporting Melissa principally because she is a young designer at a fairly early stage of her career. It’s a fragile place to be and I’m happy to provide whatever insights and help she needs.
“Melissa’s products have lots of potential. Her determination and character demonstrates she is capable of great success; it’s got her this far and with support from Renfrewshire Council, among others, she’ll go far
Karen Hanvidge, of Renfrew-based Karen Hanvidge Ceramics, won a commission from Paisley Museum to replicate one of the ceramic trophies she created for the 2016 Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) held in Paisley to commemorate the UK City of Culture 2021 Bid. She also successfully won City of Culture Events and Heritage funding and will be running a series of free pottery workshops for children at Paisley museum.
Dyane Lanez set up her company, Tout Petit, creating luxury children’s wear and nursery accessories after being unable to find good quality baby blankets in bold and fun colours for her young daughters.
She returned to her hometown of Paisley following a 10 year career in fashion production for high-end streetwear brands including VANS, Maharishi and Urban Outfitters and fashion trends forecasting. Her range uses only the softest 100% merino wool yarn.
Others Are is the quirkily-named Paisley jewellery brand set up by Kirsty McQueen, who draws inspiration from the Scottish landscape, culture and history. The Linwood lass specialises in producing eye-catching designs from recycled products and will launch her first collection online and in the InCube shop in Paisley’s Gilmour Street early in 2017.
Life-long Buddy Yvonne Livingston, from Foxbar, wanted to find something to suit after a life devoted to bringing up her four children. After attending a silversmithing course at college she set up her brand Vonne Alleycreating silver and gemstone jewellery.
InCube’s support is giving her the skills to run the sales, marketing and business administration side of her company – including funding for photos for the website she will launch early in 2017.
“I definitely would not have got as far as I have without InCube’s help”, she said
Paisley-born professional graphics artist Lorna Williams is forging ahead with her brand Art with Heart, using her skills to make unique artistic designs and personalised illustrated framed prints.
Her Paisley Burdies range – Paisley pattern-shaped birds designs within a frame edged with a little “burdy” woodcut – are particularly popular with locals, selling well in the town’s InCube shop and at markets throughout Scotland.
A further six businesses have recently been recruited for a new programme starting in January 2017.
Also present in the InCube hub in Paisley High Street are Business Gateway and Prince’s Trust Scotland – meaning people can access business start-up support in a one-stop format.
Councillor Roy Glen, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Economy & Jobs Board which supports InCube, said:
“Our UK City of Culture 2021 Bid is aiming to create a new creative economy in the area and InCube is a great example of how that would work
“We are really delighted with the progress of all seven new designers we’re helping now.
“They are talented creatives in their own right but InCube’s help is providing them with essential business skills to help them flourish, such as setting goals and achieving business targets and growth.
“This group has been the second intake of new local talent under this initiative.
“It’s already clear that the sky’s the limit if they stick to what they’ve learned through InCube and they continue to pour their creative energy into their fantastic products.”
The designers work can all be seen and purchased from InCube Shop, 9B Gilmour Street, Paisley.
Find out more about InCube at https://incuberenfrewshire.com