Tuesday, 25 June 2013

And Now For Something Completely Different . . . .

Ok, so I don't normally do this but please bear with me here.

As you all know, I am at Manchester School of Architecture. I am also part of the architecture society and hold a position on the committee blah blah blah . . . . .

Anyway, the MSSA (Manchester Student Society of Architecture) has entered a video competition to win funding from RBS for the society so that we can actually get out of the studio and have some fun every now and then! And this is where you guys come in. We are through to the second round but in order to go even further, our video needs to get as many views as physically possible. So, if you have a spare minute (well, 1:34 to be precise), I would really appreciate it if you could watch the video below and if you are feeling super generous, to share it and make it viral!

Thank you in advance and I hope you enjoy it!!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

New Directions: Day 1

Earlier this week, I took part in an enterprise development program organised by Manchester Metropolitan University. The event lasted two days and give me skills to help me set up and run a business.

9am Monday morning:
The day, naturally, started with registration and coffee. I was given various forms to fill in and sign and a name tag with an image of the Monopoly top hat counter. Having being told to sit at the 'Top Hat' table, I proceeded over there and sat down with those who would be my team mates for the duration of the program. There was a Monopoly theme for the entire event and each table was named after a different playing piece (although I don't remember there being a cat or robot in the game!) 45 minutes of introductions and small talk later and we were raring to go and start the first task.

Task 1:
After a summary of the day and introductions from important people from the university, the first task began. We had been given scrapbooks in which we had to record the day. We were also given an envelope that contained questions that each person had to answer and then these would be written in our books. The questions were just to get to know our team and get talking.

After an inspiring talk about social enterprise from Melanie Bryan OBE, we got stuck into the first real group activity of the day. The brief was to create an event to be held at Heaton Park, just north of Manchester city centre. We had  an item that we could use: ours was donated clothing.

If anything, this task taught me that I should really cut down on the amount of The Apprentice I watch. For a small task like this, I feel I got extremely competitive and was definitely one of the more vocal members of the team (which for me really is something!). I was trying to think (possibly a bit too hard) of all the options and the outcome of what we were planning, which I guess can't be a bad thing. We eventually opted for a craft/vintage fair and a community sports day event and encourage fashion and other students to take part in the event. Part of my input was my knowledge of craft fairs and how they can work to make money - although it felt really bizarre trying to explain the concept to other team members. As one of the creative students on the team, I also got the task of designing the poster to sell our proposal. I only wish that we had more time in order to finish it - it looked very empty when on the wall next to all the other posters.

After a great lunch, it was back into teams for more talks about goals and motivation (with a side of interaction to wake us up after lunch!) and marketing and market research from John Keiller of Common Good. We were asked what drives us and keeps us going when the going gets tough. In all honesty, for this part of the day, I wasn't thinking about Made by Emma, I was thinking about my degree. And I've learnt that what keeps me going is to stop. It sounds counter productive but taking the day off allowed me to get stuck back in with a fresh head. We were asked to think about our 'oomph kit', something that we can turn to when everything's gone down the pan.

After the marketing talk, we were given a task to brainstorm ideas for a product that could help users reduce the amount of energy they used. This task had 'To be continued . . . . ' written all over it.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Victoria Baths II

Sunday was my second time at Victoria Baths for their craft fair. Based on last November's fair, I was hoping for a good day, although my previous fair failures made me a little nervous. Then there was also the fact that the Manchester Day Parade was happening that same day. It could have gone either way.

After having a couple of extremely late nights previous to the fair, a coffee was in order Sunday morning. The sun was shining, I guess the birds were singing but Oxford Road is a bit noisy, and I was super organised and had packed the night before to be ready for the morning. I grabbed my coffee from the Cafe Nero around the corner from me and headed off to the baths.

I was on my own at the table this time and after battling with my (freshly ironed!) table cloth, I was ready to get my cards up on display. I found some make-your-own-bunting in The Works when I was stocking up and decided to give it a go. I've always liked the look of bunting and even considered getting some made but when I found this, it seemed only right that
1) I should make it myself and
2) With me being in the paper craft industry, it should be made of paper
The difficulty was deciding what paper to use!

It amazed me that 6 months ago, I half a table to display my good and this time around, I managed to fill the entire table! I though I would have some space to spare so that I could work on some crafts but it was not to be. I remembered to bring my portfolio of cards with me as well this time and had my shiny new business cards on display (full colour ones this time!)

Mid day came and the doors opened. For a while it seemed quiet and it was quite slow and I managed to make my friend's birthday card and another paper pieced picture but things started to pick up later on in the day.

A couple of friends came to see the fair and I think I sold more to them than anyone else but a sale is a sale!

Overall, it was a really good day and although not as successful as my first fair, definitely better than the other since then. I also picked up exactly where I need to improve - each fair is a learning experience and I am looking forward to the next on to work on my social skills. Speaking of learning, it was really interesting to look back at my first fair and see how far I have come. From not having a clue and my brother doing most (all!) of the talking to standing on my own and doing it by myself (although I could really benefit from his charisma!)