Angela Giddon – a creative entrepreneur
‘ Romance and risk ‘
Today we had a really inspiring lecture from Angela, she motivated us by saying ‘if you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be’.
She worked really hard to get where she is now, she stated that when she was in our age she would never think that she will be an award-winning successful designer and be an owner of 3 brands/businesses. She made a lot of mistakes on the way to getting where she is now, but she definitely has learnt on her own mistakes.
Angela stated that she has a dreamy, imaginative habit of mind. Since she was little she was always inspired by three main people: her mom who was a ballerina, Georgie-her favourite footballer and her dad – dental technician who was always questioning everything and making her think if she really wants to do what she does. He was asking her : ‘ do you really want to be a designer? ‘. And what she deduced from it with the past years is that you have to focus on yourself, because, people who inspire you will always question why do you want to be designer because it is not easy to get a job as such, and they might put you off, and make you think that this is not what you want but if you really passionate about what you do, you should aim for it, no matter who and what they say.
‘ Practice, even if you think your good at something, you can always be better. ‘
What do we need to be a successful designer? – passion, self-belief and luck. But luck doesn’t appear itself. The luck comes in the form of opportunities around us, like competitions, collaborations etc. We have to grab the opportunity when we can.
Angela confessed that she’s a risk taker. The industry she works in is very male-dominated, and women often are being underestimated. But she never gave up on trying to get where she wants to be and she keeps achieving more and more. What is important for her is passion and conviction to be damn good not just comfortably good.
Before she set us her own business, she went to Barclays bank to see if she can get start-up money. The man who she was presenting the business plan to said that the idea is brilliant but she got rejected because she’s a woman in a male’s world. Despite the disappointment, she didn’t give up on her dreams and she managed to borrow money from her parents to start up the business.
In her first studio, she was designing for manufacturing and high street retail stores. She worked for many popular brands like Habitat, Laura Ashley, House of Fraser, Next, Liberty, Ikea, Debenhams, Heal’s and The Conran shop.
At some point in her career, she worked as a consultant director. She designed a sofa for a certain company and for every sold sofa she got £1.35. Sounds like nothing but over a few years, she got a rediculous amount of money as the sofas were selling at a fast pace.
What is also important for her is exposure and reputation. As well as designing for future so with the thought of environmental and economic impact.
Angela worked in many different areas. She worked for Nomad wear and she redefined the sit for a wheelchair. She also worked for Camira – textile company.
Key value – make a life better by design.
Angela stated that she has never designed for herself. Only for the customers.
Few things to think about:
- be original
- does it have a competitive edge
- is there a gap in the market
- is there real commercial potential
- can it make money
- will it make a profit
- can you maximise contacts
- do you have a vision
- are you a risk taker
- do you have a passion
The client is for life! We should always keep a good relationship with the customer and take care of our reputation because we never know if we will work for them again or the customer might recommend to further. We should always exceed clients expectations, or at least don’t disappoint them.