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BUSINESS: Retailers Running British Design Open Door Event to Discover Emerging Talent
Most designer-makers will have heard of the much-attended Liberty Open Call events, held annually at Liberty department store in London, where designer-makers from around the UK are invited to show their wares to the Liberty buying team.
Inspired by the Liberty's approach a retail outlet in Kendal (Cumbria), Armstrong Ward, run by two professionals with over 20 years of retail experience, are giving designer-makers the opportunity to bring their products to market with the benefit of their expertise. Jackie and Andrew Ward of Armstrong Ward are holding their first British design open door event from Monday 14 May to Friday 18 May.
Jackie Ward of Armstrong Ward
Armstrong Ward are already big supporters of British producers and designers such as Barbara Coupe and Wesley Barrell and have collaborated with Emma Bridgewater to create the now iconic Love The Lakes mug, a percentage of the proceeds of which are donated to local charities.
As Jackie Ward explains: “We are seeing less emerging talent at the trade fairs we go to. Those designers we do see tend to come from large cities and are London centric. We are very keen to encourage northern or home grown abilities and this open event allows us to be far more proactive and supportive in the way we do that."
Andrew Ward says: “In our experience there are some fantastic small designers and makers out there who may simply lack in confidence or may be unsure about how to approach retailers or how to cost their products. We are offering a partnership to bring their fledgling products to market.”
How do I apply?
Designer-makers who are interested in the open door event need to complete an application form which will be assessed by a panel and those who are successful will be invited to come and see the Armstrong Ward team during design week.
There are several ways to obtain an application form:
- visit the website www.armstrongward.co.uk and use the contact form to request an application form; or
- call in at the shop in person to pick one up: Armstrong Ward, 8 Wainwright’s Yard, Stricklandgate, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 4DP; or
- give them a call on: 01539 720400
Closing date for applications is Monday 30 April.