Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Student design competition - deadline 3 April 2015

As part of the Affiliation of Rotomoulding Organisations (ARMO), the British Plastics Federation (BFP) is launching a competition open to all UK and International design students.  There are financial prizes for each winner and a six month work placement for the overall winner.

"The Challenge
Rotational moulding is a production process that offers extensive creative possibilities to designers in terms of shape, strength, size and functionality. To find out more about the rotational moulding process click here.

The design challenge is to create a product that demonstrates an appreciation of the many advantages of this moulding process within one of the following categories
  •   Our green environment
  •   Illumination
  •   At leisure
A representative of the BPF Rotational Moulding Group would be happy to give students a presentation on the roto moulding design competition if required. Course leaders should contact Paul Baxter on for more information."

"Entry Submissions
  •    Maximum 4 x 2d/3d illustrations/sketches/renderings from a minimum of three perspectives.
  •    A4 Product poster
  •    A brief essay (max 300 words) on your design highlighting features and USPs
Entry Deadlines
  •    All entries for the competition must be received by the BPF by 17.00 GMT on the 3rd April 2015
  •    The winning entries for all categories will be announced on the 22nd May 2015"

To read more about this including details of criteria, prizes and sponsors plus link to submit entries please see : ARMO/British Plastics Federation

For more on the BFP including typical materials and products used please see here

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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

How To Create A Brand

It is from a couple of years ago but this article by Marjo Johne in Canada's The Globe and Mail has some excellent points to make about brand creation. It includes Axle Davids, of Distility Branding in Toronto, sharing his thoughts. 
"The classic misconception is that branding is just about a logo or a name.” To do it right, he advises, start with these questions:
"Who is your target audience? Before you say “everybody” – which many businesses do out of fear they might limit themselves – think hard about who your most important customer is. That’s your primary audience, Mr. Davids says. Then identify your secondary and tertiary audiences.
What’s the competition doing? How are they addressing your target audience? This is easier to determine if you’re in a mature market with one or two well-entrenched competitors.
What’s your brand position? What sets you apart in your market? If you can’t answer this, then you’re losing on a critical concept of branding: how to differentiate yourself.
What’s your brand promise? Determine what you’re passionate about, fuse that with the needs of your target audience and you get your brand promise – the benefit that you promise to deliver.
What’s your brand personality? In what style will you deliver your brand promise? Will you be dependable but surprisingly fun? Will you be the hero, with better-than-the-rest deals that don’t compromise on quality?"
For the full article and links to other items on start-ups, entrepreneurship and blogging please see here.

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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Cofi Coo's Alina gets triple entrepreneur nominations

Interiors & Lifestyle Futures is delighted to learn that one of the stars of our 2012 Venture programme has been nominated for three business awards. 

Alina Masood, co-owner of Cofi-Coo with her sister Ammara, is a nominated finalist in three categories of Birmingham City Council's Business Catalyst Awards 2015:  Entrepreneur of the Year, Female Entrepreneur of the Year and Innovation Award for Business. The awards are aimed at the City's leading businesses and most promising start-ups.

Alina and Ammara took part in our second phase of the Venture programme in 2011-12, establishing children's soft furnishings brand - Cofi Coo, which had early trading success in the Birmingham Made Me shop in the Mailbox. 

The awards will be held at Hotel La Tour later in February and tickets will be available on Eventbrite.

We are keeping our fingers crossed for Alina and Cofi Coo. Find them at and follow them on twitter; @CofiCoo

Alina Masood
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Thursday, 8 January 2015

Visioning workshops - latest dates.

Interiors & Lifestyle Futures's popular free Visioning workshops for creative and small West Midland businesses begin again in 2015. So, if you want to give your thinking and/or your business strategy a good spring cleaning, the next available date is:

Workshop 19 Wolverhampton - The Pavilion Sports and Social Club, Stafford Rd, WV10 6AJ
Day 1 Tuesday 17 March and Day 2 Tuesday 24 March. Days run from 9.45 until no later than 16;30.

Visioning workshop Worcester Oct 2014
If you'd like to attend either workshop 18 or 19 please contact Ruth Edwards:

T: 0121 331 7922

About our workshops
If you are a creative West Midlands based small business or sole trader  wanting to take a fresh look at your future business direction, then this will be two days well spent.The workshop is free thanks to funding from the European Regional Development Fund.

You'll need to working broadly within the interiors and lifestyle sectors (furniture, furnishings, textiles,  interiors, ceramics, glass, jewellery, art or services that support these areas).

The two-day Visioning workshop  helps you
  • identify strengths, gaps and opportunities through our unique network wheel
  • take a look at your existing business and/or explore new ideas 
  • map your current business network, identifying positive and negative aspects
  • create an action timeline for implementing changes
  • discuss issues with and learn from other businesses

Monday, 5 January 2015

Exhibition showcases the 'Polyprop' chair - last chance to see.

The latest exhibition at Birmingham City University's Parkside Building celebrates the landmark Polypropylene side chair.

Professor Richard Snell charts the development of this 20th century classic by furniture company Hille and designer Robin Day. Richard's exhibition demonstrates the evolution of the chair, still sold worldwide, in the context of 19th and 20th century chair design and takes account of the creative and commercial possibilities offered by new materials and processes.

Professor Richard Snell
Private view  Day and Hille exhibition 

Speaking at the opening of the exhibition, Cherrill Scheer , youngest daughter of Ray Hille who led the company from 1932 - complimented Richard on the elegance of the exhibition. Cherrill also shared some vivid memories of life at the company in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cherrill Scheer (r) and daughter Danielle Benson
If you are visiting Birmingham this is informative exhibition well worth visiting.

Exhibition opening times
The exhibition is open 9am to 7pm (closed Sundays). It will close for the holiday period from 20 December and reopen on Monday 5 January. Last day Friday 9 January 2015.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas and happy new year

Interiors & Lifestyle Futures send their best wishes to to all our West Midlands companies, partners, colleagues and participants on the ILF Venture and Visioning programmes. Have a very Happy New Year. Our office reopens on Monday 5 January 2015.

Unlikely, we know!

Friday, 12 December 2014

Venture's Rosemarie Va Va vooms with her creations in London

Rosemarie James, who took part in our Venture start up programme last year, had her designer dresses wowing people on the catwalk in London.

The Fashion Designers and Craft Makers Young Designer Awards took place in November. VV by Rose's  designer outfits for larger busted women were showcased in the Emerging designer category.

"It was wonderful to see my designs on the catwalk at such a prestigious event," says Rosemarie. "I networked a lot and met many great designers including some from the USA."