January 20, 2019
Designer's Table | Now Gallery
Teach A Man To Fish is an entrepreneurial charity which helps schools create fully functional student-led businesses around the world that are both educational and profitable. Journalist Susie Worth attended our Designer's Talk and "Meet the Makers" event at Now Gallery to hear designers Tatty Devine, Wayne Hemingway and Tracey Neuls discuss their creative journeys and building their companies. Sat at the table designed by Tatty Devine, we discussed advice for young people starting a business today.
“You do have to have a unique selling point, a raison d’être” says Wayne, “When you look at [the design of] Tracey Neuls’ shoes, you know immediately that she stands for crafts” - Wayne Hemingway.
Since the age of nine, Tracey has loved making shoes. She loved them so much that she even used to make her own shoes out of cereal boxes with toilet paper rolls for heels. But, due to a lack of footwear colleges in Canada or the States at the time, it wasn’t until later in career that she was able to pursue this directly. Instead, Tracey created a career in the craft that was closest, fashion design, working for companies like Nike and Falke, with a keen interest in body shape. However, it is her background in fashion design has shaped how she designs shoes, and her passion for craftsmanship that has made her brand a success.
When Tracey opened her first shop in London, she wanted customers to feel as if they had come home and would bake bread at the back of the shop, explaining that “when you feel something, it makes a longer lasting purchase”. It is down to this meeting of creativity and customer connection that Tracey has grown her business to encompass four boutiques in London, and has been described as "one of the top ten creatives and fashion influencers living in London" (TimeOut Magazine) “A little passion goes a long way" - Tracey Neuls.
Harriet and Rosie from Tatty Devine also embarked on their business starting with a market stall. Soon after graduating from Chelsea School of Art, the pair stumbled across 14 bags full of fabric and leather samples outside a London furnishing store and decided to cut the sheets into wristbands. Pre-internet, it was through face to face interactions with customers, stylists, and other businesses at the market that they learnt what products people wanted to buy. “The market was a 360 degree crash course learning about business” says Harriet, with Rosie adding that “it’s about making things that people want”.
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