24th November 2016

As a jeweller with several years under her belt of building up her collections and reputation, Sophie Stamp has made the decision to take a step back from exhibitions and make time for development. We asked her why Cockpit’s London Creative Network Programme suited her needs.

What was the main motivation behind your application to the LCN programme?
Since participating in the Crafts Council’s Hothouse 3 Programme for emerging makers in 2013 I have had three years to develop my practice, test the market and start establishing myself as a jewellery designer. Through trial and error I started to get to grips with what was and wasn’t working for me in terms of my business and I began to have a much better idea of what I wanted to achieve and how I would like my practice to grow over the next few years.

Having identified the many ways in which I wanted my business to evolve I began to feel quite overwhelmed and felt that I needed support in planning how to make changes and implement strategies to help me focus and push things to the next level, so I decided to apply to the LCN programme.

What new product, service, business system or project are you introducing to your practice and why?
I would really like to develop my business within the e-commerce realm with a new e-commerce function website using a different system, and increase sales online through this and social media channels, including starting to use Pinterest. My ultimate aim is to be able to locate my practice wherever I like in the world (with an internet connection of course) and make a living mostly from international e-commerce and stockists (ready-to-wear and bespoke commissions) without the pressure of an endless cycle of shows and exhibitions.

To begin achieving this I will be working hard over the next year or so developing a number of areas within my practice including re-branding, product development, marketing, and figuring out a strategy for building relationships and trust with my potential market without that face to face communication you have at shows or exhibitions. This is going to include developing a range of new ready to wear products, plus a new material (leather), and expanding my product ranges to include both jewellery, but also accessories and bags. I also want to offer a new bespoke service – a kind of ‘build your own’ service where customers choose from a selection of predetermined elements to create their own piece.

What is the most useful advice or tips you’ve been given on the programme so far?
During the initial session we were guided through techniques to help us visualise where we wanted to be in terms of our practice in a given timeframe. I chose a three year period and made a list of all the areas I thought needed focus and development in order to reach my goals. We then attempted to refine our list into the top 5 things we needed to focus on, in the order they needed developing, and discussed this in pairs. I found the discussion process really useful in clarifying the order of my list of priorities because it turned out to be slightly different than I first thought.

Another technique I found really useful was a way of breaking down each item on our list of priorities into separate tasks, just focusing on one mini-task at a time, to make the development process more manageable and therefore less overwhelming.

What plans do you have after participating with LCN?
My aims after participating with LCN are to continue marketing and growing my e-commerce business, slowly expanding my product ranges and building a sustainable practice. I can’t think too far past these goals right now but I hope to continue growing and perhaps employ a small team at some stage in the future if things go well.