18th December 2018

Cockpit equips makers with the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to run a sustainable business.

At Cockpit, we’ve been helping makers grow their businesses since 1986. This article is the first in a series of six exploring how Cockpit works with makers through our professional development and London Creative Network programmes.

We find that craftspeople often receive little or no training in the practical side of running a business. Without these core business skills, setting out on your own can be quite daunting as Cockpit based textile-weaver Majeda Clarke explains, “It is often an area of weakness for many craft businesses who struggle to know where to start, especially if their area of expertise is making. I knew I wanted to start my own studio and felt very comfortable with the design and making of products, however, the next steps needed to develop a successful business such as marketing, distribution and social media were entirely new to me.”

Jeweller Ellen Monaghan echoes this, “I have realised how important financial planning is for all parts of running a creative business, what to make, when to make, if I can make! Getting some actionable advice has meant that something that seemed beyond me and scary became interesting and encouraging for other areas of the business.”

Cockpit is the UK’s only creative business incubator for craftspeople; we aim to equip makers with the knowledge, business skills and confidence needed to turn their passion into a successful business. We currently also offer an additional professional development programme as a partner of the London Creative Network (LCN). This enhances the work we do with Cockpit based makers, such as Majeda, as well as allowing us to support makers with studios elsewhere like Ellen. The programme combines tailored one-to-one support with a carefully-planned series of workshops to give makers the tools and confidence needed to create a sustainable craft business.

Here’s what other participants have said about the programme: Fflur Owen creates hand-sculpted pieces with leather and other organic materials, “I’m in my early stage of a creative career, struggling to get my head around various aspects of what being a successful creative these days entails. LCN focuses on giving critical advice and as well as boosting confidence.” Basket maker Alison Dickens says, “I now feel I have a solid understanding of the many strands of activity needed to develop a sustainable craft business. I have gained confidence, knowledge and connections.” And finally, Sarah Marshall who runs John Boyd Hats states, “The LCN programme has been brilliant support for my new business, giving me confidence in all aspects of running a small creative business, and has taught me many new skills that will be vital in making it a success.”

Useful links and how to contact us

We are currently accepting applications for the London Creative Network programme. Deadline for applications is 25 October 

For more information and a link to the application form click here

More information on applying for a place at Cockpit.

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Photos: Top – Fflur Owen by Jamie Trounce. Middle – Ellen Monaghan. Bottom – Sarah Marshall of John Boyd Hats.