Case study

Founder, designer and maker — Chloé Smith

ChloƩ has used her undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications to establish a homewares brand, using her artistic and business skills to set up her own company

How did you get your job?

After my BA in 3D Design: New Practice from Loughborough University and my MA in Design and Applied Arts from the University of Wolverhampton, I decided to establish my own company. I created a sole trader business, Casabi Designs.

I decided to set up my business as I saw a gap in the homewares market for items that are a sensitive amalgamation of craft and technology. The goal is to promote craft practices while utilising technology to aid production.

All my products are handmade (mostly by slipcasting) and include laser cut patterns. This allows for precision in the complex patterns but the processes enable the pieces to retain handmade, original qualities too.

Take full advantage of the facilities available during your studies - it is much harder to find facilities for reasonable prices outside of university

What's a typical working day like?

Currently I am building stock levels ready for trade fairs in 2017.

I start in the studio around 8.30am and work on producing items until 4pm to 7pm depending on the amount of accompanying administration to be completed.

What do you enjoy about your job and what are the challenges?

I like being creative on a daily basis. However, keeping on top of all communications and administration can be challenging.

Also, it is important to decide on how to promote my business in the best light.

How is your degree relevant to your work?

The BA degree gave me a grounding in practical craft skills. The MA has honed my practical and contextual design skills, as well as giving me access to industry and business opportunities.

What are you career ambitions?

I intend to have a career portfolio working in education and industry while furthering and promoting the Casabi Designs brand.

The goal is to become a global homewares brand.

Any advice for others wanting to get into ceramics design?

Dedicate yourself to bettering your skills, both practical and design; have confidence in your work and seek out networking and exposure opportunities.

Take full advantage of the facilities available during your studies - it is much harder to find facilities for reasonable prices outside of university. Also, behave as a professional and take all critique onboard and analyse it, while staying true to your aesthetic goals.

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