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New collaboration aims to boost creativity

By Mark Hayhurst 15 May 2017

Create and Craft TV and AFCI.UK - Association for Creative Industries UK have joined forces with a commitment to bring the UK’s best new creative products to the market and in turn generate inspiration and creativity across the craft industry.

This motion to develop the creative, craft and hobby industry, is being realised through Create and Craft and AFCI.UK’s work with small craft businesses, helping them achieve success through the Creative Dragons and Business Mentoring schemes. Creative Dragons is an annual event which takes place at the One Big Show giving suppliers and designers the chance to pitch their product or idea to a team of experts to gain feedback and potentially lucrative contracts.

Following the launch of Creative Dragons in 2016, several of those who pitched to the panel (including Sharon Callis founder of Florartisry, Toni Wilderspin founder of Wildspider Designs and Karen Bandford co-founder of Threads) have gone on to grow their crafting businesses substantially, and have subsequently gone on to launch their ranges on Create and Craft TV, selling thousands of products in the process.

Commenting on her experience of working with the Creative Dragons, Sharon Callis said; “I cannot recommend the Creative Exchanges and Creative Dragons experience highly enough for those who are serious about advancing their creative career. As a designer and product developer, connecting with market leaders is a must and to have the top industry insiders together on a panel is a unique opportunity. Without the Creative Dragons I would not have had the doors opened to me that this event has provided. Since my presentation to the Dragons in June 2016 I have launched my own craft range in early 2017, and had my first show on Create and Craft TV in April. This is only the start for Florartistry as there are exciting plans ahead.”

The One Big Show is back again this summer, running from the 18th-19th June 2017 at Ricoh Arena, Coventry, and will include not only another Creative Dragons opportunity, but also Key note speakers from industry, educational sessions to increase product knowledge and promote best business practices and also space for manufacturer and designers to showcase their work. For more details on applying to pitch to the Creative Dragons, or to find out more about One Big Show 2017 head to: www.afci.uk/one-big-show-2017

Create and Craft’s partnership with AFCI.UK and its involvement with One Big Show’s Creative Dragons scheme is part of their wider Incubator Programme dedicated to support small businesses with under a £100k annual turnover in their first year of business in the Craft industry.

As part of this programme, Create and Craft open up their teams to help and support, through coaching and guidance from the buying, logistics and merchandising departments.

This is Create and Crafts 14th year of specialism in the craft industry, and it is this experience and knowledge which they want to share with small businesses.

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