Specialise – just not all the time
To specialise or not to specialise: There aren’t many businesses where a decision to enter them means certain success. Maybe there aren’t any. To get a big enough chunk of a market to make a decent living takes commitment, ability, a bit of luck, and more often than not a fair amount of up-front investment. Ask any cabinetmaker who runs their own brand from their own workshop. The set-up costs are prohibitive and the marketing costs can be considerable.
It makes sense for a designer-maker to find their niche, their USP, and work it hard to make a viable space to earn a living. The danger is that the niche becomes a full time occupation, and the small range of products are all that comes out of the workshop. After a while many start wondering if this is why they started. I mean, why be a maker who can make anything if all you do is repeat the same thing.
At Rowden when we talk to students about life after the course, we make them aware of the considerable financial costs involved in accessing new markets. We also encourage them to grab any opportunity to try something new. In our experience, working with other designers has always pushed us out of our comfort zone, challenged our knowledge base, taught us new skills and generally re-fired our enthusiasm for running our own, flexible, workshop.
You don’t always make the most money, mostly because of the learning time and extra tooling, but it does remind you of why you got into this circus in the first place, and arming yourself with new skills is never a bad thing.
Until next time,