HNC fashion and textile student at Dundee college, went to interview Erin Ward. She has an amazing and unique independent shop and this is the outcome of our interview...
“Creativeness isn’t forced upon you”
Q1: Is there anywhere you’d take yourself off too for a bit of peace and quiet?
“Recycling centre, I’d say is the most creative bit of Dundee, just because, creativeness isn’t forced upon you, you can take and leave it as you please.”
Q2: About the store?
“Going to refurbish, we’re shutting in May for two weeks because it’s been here for three years now. We’re going to start a fan scene, magazine, sketchbook; I’ve got a giant photocopier so you could use it as a library. But it’s all old students and graduates sketchbooks so you’re researching people who have worked here, and been inspired here(in Dundee)”.
“At first using some ads but they don’t do much for a shop like this. I was paying a lot for good quality posters and flyer's to be honest I had to kind of learn that wasn’t doing anything. To be honest they’re kind of a waste of time, in a city like Dundee, word of mouth is everything. You’ve got to think outside the box a wee bit, or not even outside the box, just use online, its word of mouth”.
Q4: What else did you use to get word of mouth going?
“Posters, you know the information boards around town? I put them up there because that’s free, University campus, colleges and local pubs. I made beer mats; I took beer mats and just stuck images on, about the shop and put them in all local pubs, the really local pubs, little kind of old man’s pubs. I made them look like Polaroid’s, so I had space at the bottom to write what the shop is about.
Q5: Do you think living in Dundee influences you’re design work?
“Definitely, I created a magazine for Dundee.” This “turned into a quarterly magazine”. It was to be all about Dundee at first but now “it’s grown bigger and bigger than just Dundee.” The magazine is called “Jude, Jude magazine. It’s going to be about encouraging creativity everywhere and Dundee definitely was the starting point of the magazine.” The magazine “was meant to be launched next year, but now we’ve got a publisher on board and with advertising and distributions it’s going to be mid 2011, when the first issue will be launched but it’s already online and there’s some events, so its starting up.”
Q6: What did you do at university?
“I did textile design, then opened the business and went back to university after the shop was opened for two years to do my masters, just in design.”
Q7: Have you got your own website, use networking site or blog?
“You know, I didn’t, I just started a blog. I do need a shops website, so that’s in the pipeline, to be honest the blogs the blog’s fine. I think more people look at blogs than just websites now. People tend to look at social networking sites and blogs before they go to websites. So I thought, I’ve got a tumbler website, its fine really, it’s really visual and that’s what the shop needs. I look at blogs all the time, it ranges from fashion to music to design blogs, but it’s mainly design blogs. Facebook is ridiculously good for a shop. I didn’t want to start using it but when I did I realized more and more people came in the shop. I think independent shops can be quite intimidating, but if you put images of what you’ve got on facebook you’ll see more people getting interested in it. If I put images up, I get a lot of attention, a burst of attention but I’ve got to kind of carry that on or else I won’t get any attention and nobody will come in. Everything is totally visual the blog, the networking, it’s all visuals.”
Q8: What do you enjoy most about being a designer?
“A lot of young customers that come here, that didn’t know what they wanted to do or even knew they like vintage clothes and I’ve given them work experience and references to college and things, now they’re going on to do portfolios and things when in high school they didn’t even do art.”
You inspire them? “Yeah..in a less sort of..bammy way to say it. Kind of encouraging it, instead of inspiring it.”