CV Writing

In professional practice the last two weeks, Es George, the CSAD careers advisor, talked to us about creative CV writing, and helped us to identify skills which will be useful on our CVs.

Last week we Es showed us a presentation, talking about possible careers, how different CVs suit these different roles, and shared with us lots of websites to look for graduate jobs and internships.

This week, we split into groups according to what career we want to go into, and discussed what would be good skills to list on our CVs etc. I think that I want to be either a buyer or visual merchandiser, so my CV would be more business minded, but with a creative flair. However, I think I will also create a designer CV because I am also considering working in design, either as my career or as a small sideline to my main career, for example perhaps running a small business or taking commissions.

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The Next Black – A film about the Future of Clothing

On Wednesday we watched a film, which talked about various people who are working to create the future of clothes.

There were two people in the film that caught my attention, the first being Suzanne Lee, of Biocouture, who ‘brew’ sustainable fabrics. After speaking to a biologist, Suzanne started to grow fabrics, and now creates clothing using these fabrics. I think this came to my attention because I had come across fabric growing before, in a Ted Talk. I think it’s really interesting that something can be grown that is able to be sewn, dyed and manipulated, and it’s also fascinating that someone has come across this and it’s coming to the market in the future – I’m excited to see where it takes clothing!

The other person who caught my attention was Sophie Mather, an industry expert in sustainable textiles, working with the Yeh Group, who has come across a new dying method called ‘dry dying’, which doesn’t use any water at all, using a gas instead. The amount of water wasted from traditional water dying is equivalent to half the Mediterranean Sea every year, and 200,000 tonnes of toxic chemicals are produced by water dying, which end up in waterways. I think this new method of dying is incredible, and so clean, and so much harm to the environment could be avoided if this method was used widely.

The film was very informative and made me think about what I can do in my practice to be better towards the environment. I think if I’d seen this before beginning my project, I may have thought about my materials, and used recycled or unwanted papers for my cutting.

Ethics and Postgraduate Study

In Professional Practice this week, Dr Steve Thompson came to talk to us about ethical practices during our studies and post graduate study opportunities.

Ethics

Steve told us some historical horror stories of experiments that caused the laws currently in place to come about, as well as some things that previous students have tried to get through the ethics protocol or times when they haven’t asked when they really should have! Basically – if in doubt, check with the ethics team! It’s better to be extra cautious than not ask at all.

Postgraduate Study

He then talked to us about Masters opportunities, and the pros and cons of staying at Cardiff Met or going elsewhere for an MA. However, I don’t think that a Masters is for me.

Branding

On Wednesday, we had a talk from Sian, one of our course tutors, about branding. Sian has her own business, Sian Elin, which sells designs for interiors as well as prints and cards; with a Scandinavian theme running throughout.

As Sian runs her business, she is the perfect person to talk to us about branding! Getting branding right is essential, as it helps the brand stand out to people, and communicates visually what the brand stands for and sells. A brand should be derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be, meaning that you should aim for what your business will be in the future, and the kind of customers you aim to sell to. For example, if you began selling your products for a relatively cheap price and then later increased your prices because your business had become more successful, you may lose those loyal original customers who were used to paying the lower price.

Marketing, the process of teaching consumers why they should choose your product, is also important, and you should be clear and consistent in what you are selling; i.e. prices, promotion, style, source materials and finishes. What your brand will be known for is an important thing to consider, and even packaging and product photography should represent your brand.

At the end of the session, Sian asked us to think about some questions regarding our personal branding. Following are the questions and my answers:

1. What do you want to stand for?

I want to stand for using environmentally friendly techniques/methods, like using recycled papers and being ethical in my practices.

2. What do you want to be known for?

Paper cutting using my own painted and sourced papers, creating delicate yet playful motifs and patterns.

3. Who do you want to appeal to?

Women over 35 who enjoy design and are quirky and like something a bit different.

4. What does your colour palette say about you?

That my products are middle to high end, similar to Cath Kidston.

5. What does your theme say about you?

That I care about nature and the environment, and my designs are quite playful.

6. Are you fun or serious?

Fun!

7. How old is your customer?

35-55

8. Who is your favourite brand? Why?

Oliver Bonas, because their style is simple yet classy and expensive looking. They are playful yet on trend, and they are the price point that I aim to be.

9. How do you stand out from the crowd?

By using my own painted papers, rather than just plain coloured bought papers cut with shapes that are unique to my style.

Starting your own business

In professional practice on Wednesday, Richard Morris talked to us about all the things you need to think about before starting your own business. This included things like overheads, market research and pricing. He told us that 72% of businesses have zero employees, meaning that they’re managed and run entirely by a single person, which I can believe as I know quite a few people (including my own mum) that have a business run only by themselves. Keeping a record of everything you do and spend is very important as a business owner, so you know how much time and money you have put into it, which helps to calculate pricing. Also, it is important to not undersell yourself, especially when you first set up the business, as you want to set prices that will reflect the business and quality in the future, after a few years. At this point, I do not want to set up my own business after graduation, but it was useful to know, as I may want to in the future, possibly after a few years of employment.

Library Refresher

Yesterday in our professional practice session, Martha Lee, the librarian for CSAD, reminded us of ways to research and access information and images.

She showed us how to search effectively to get better results by using “and” and “or” which narrow down results. She also reminded us of how to access databases, and gave us some useful names of image databases which could be really helpful, such as the V&A and The British Library. Another useful site is Fame, a database of lots of companies and their contact details.

This refresher was really helpful as it reminded me of all the resources that are available to me, which will be very helpful.