The British Library's Business Centre - a fantastic resource for small businesses! 12 March 2012


The pop-up craft market on the British Library piazza

I had a very interesting time at the British Library's Make It, Sell It! event on 1 March. The event takes place regularly in the Library's Business & IP Centre, and takes the form of a speed-mentoring workshop with individuals working in and with small, creative businesses. I thought I'd share some pearls of wisdom I gleaned from the mentors:

"Look at the calendar year as a series of selling opportunities" Emma Bridgewater, leading ceramics designer and founder of Emma Bridgewater Ltd, the largest pottery manufacturers based entirely in the UK. February is for Valentines Day, March is for Mother's day, April is for Easter and so on...

"Your greatest asset (for a craft-based business) is to tell the story of how it's made, and where it comes from" Jason Hesse, digital director of Real Business, and expert on press and marketing.

"A great book to read is How to Become A Key Person of Influence, by Daniel Priestley" Johnny Martin, experienced finance director who has helped a number of creative businesses make sense of the numbers. Just bought it on Amazon Kindle!

I also met Sarah Hewett, from Craft Central in Clerkenwell, an organisation that specialises in helping designer-makers promote and sell their work. Craft Central run business workshops, organise networking opportunities, and even have spaces for hire for one-off sales and a little pop-up shop.

Apart from invaluable business advice, straight from the horse's mouth, I also got to meet some other very interesting designers and craftspeople making children's knitwear, jewellery, greetings cards and even tiny artworks from old Jane Austen books! A great networking opportunity, I'd recommend it to anyone in a similar position wishing to start-up or grow a creative business. Keep checking the Business & IP Centre's pages on the British Library's website for the next workshop, and other useful seminars.