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The Design Co-Op, spearheaded by photographer Elizabeth Bull of One Fine Print and furniture designer Anne-Claire Petre of Anaca Studio, unites 14 local Melbourne design businesses - including many CWC Members - to create an exciting bespoke event over three days in Melbourne.
We spoke to Liz and Anne to get their hot tips for a successful pop-up event and creative collaboration.
What can people expect from visiting The Design Co-op?
In selecting a variety of local brands and business, we aim to inspire our visitors with products they may not have had the chance to experience in a home situation before. We’d like people to feel like they’ve been welcomed into a friend’s place.
We wanted to take out the showroom vibes and create a space that is open and non-competitive. The showcase has been designed by our three interior guest designers who have blended products from the 15 local Melbourne design businesses.
The Design Co-op is about strengthening the existing design community, encourage the growth of new networks, promote boutique local design brands, and offer interactive learning opportunities for both industry professionals and the design-savvy public.
In creating this event we are also bringing together a pool of knowledge and information that we felt should be shared and create a diverse and interesting event. We will feature 5 panel events with a total of 20 speakers from the interior design, architecture and design magazine industry.
The Co-Op has a unique link to Creative Women’s Circle. Tell us about that.
Anne-Claire Petre and I originally met through CWC many years ago at a morning tea. We then collaborated on a temporary pop up retail space last year.
When designing and organising this event we naturally started thinking about our networks and people we knew that we could contact to come on board. It made sense to reach out to other CWC members. We couldn’t believe how many CWC connections we already both had! It made organising the event that much easier and fun working with other like minded CWC members.
The Design Co-Op has now utilised the services of Jo Hoban for press and pr writing, Fiona Brand for graphic design, Camilla Molders is a speaker on one of our educational speaker panels and Hannah Fox’s beautiful artwork will be showcased throughout the event. We were fortunate to meet all of these lovely ladies through CWC.
One Fine Print and Anaca Studio have collaborated on a pop-up before. What did you both learn from your first pop-up that influenced your plans this time around?
Three months was a bit long, so do the same in three days?!
In all seriousness, we really enjoyed the experience of collaborating and found that it was really powerful way to work. We were curious to see what would happen if we collaborated with more people and were eager to share the positive experience we’d had and involve more creatives. We really took that idea and ran with it as we realised the other day there are 35 people taking part in the Design Co-Op!
There’s real power in collaborations. Although it sounds a bit cliche, we were amazed by the positive response we’ve had from everyone we put the idea forward. Small businesses and brands are keen to get together to not only increase their visibility but to also share, connect and engage.
There’s a rich program of talks and panel discussions during the The Design Co-op. What do you hope to achieve in this outlet?
We hope to have open and engaging discussions about the design industry and about how design affects us all in all walks of life. We want our audience to feel like they can share, learn and ask questions.
The panels are about getting conversations going around subjects that affects us all in some way or other whether we are in the design industry or not.
Design is around us at all time. In furniture, objects, architecture, interiors and art, but do we really understand the impact it has on us? How do we chose what goes into our homes? What’s the definition of a home these days? These are questions we hope to have answered in many ways over the week-end.
The Co-Op showcases majority female designers and creatives. What have you learned from or about observing other women in business that has helped you in your own ventures?
Women are doers. When they have something in mind, they just get on to it and give it a go.
However we have noticed there can also be a lot of self doubt and insecurity at times. That’s where the beauty of collaborating comes in. When either of us is feeling a bit doubtful or lack confidence we just tell each other it’s not a thing and to press on.
A great thing about women in business is that the element of pride is relatively non existent. In a way it’s really empowering. It means women do really try anything as we’re not scared of losing face. Basically “Dust yourself off and try again” kind of attitude.
Your top tips for collaboration in creative industries?
Look for creatives that have a similar vision and values that are aligned with your own.
Split tasks between collaborators to lighten the load and be clear on who is doing what so you don’t end up doubling up.
Work out who is best at what task, sometimes it just falls into place but if not make sure you define everyone's roles clearly.
Meet regularly to help you stay on track.
Use cloud based documents and calendars that are easily accessible by everyone.
Trust your instincts. If somewhere along the line something doesn't feel right, it might be best to draw a line.