Unique Design Statement is our company name and that’s exactly what we strive to provide for our customers, a Unique Design Statement. We believe every home needs that certain stand out piece that’s timeless, good quality, unique and which makes your home special. Our eclectic collections of quality vintage, up-cycled furniture and textiles will make any home quirky and standout.
As designers we are up cycling and making desirable one off pieces, from household products to accessories and textiles, corsages and pillows and other various gifts. The up-cycled, recycled vintage trend is becoming hugely popular and it’s a market that has steadily grown throughout the recession, but as creatives we have tried to differ slightly by combining our fine art and mixed media textile backgrounds creating unique pieces.
Every item we up-cycle we source ourselves. We extensively search through charity and vintage shops as well as markets to find good quality pieces that we believe are unique and what we feel we can give a new lease of life. As designers we like reclaimed pieces we can bring out the original charm and character of. When creating our pieces from the pillows to the corsages or the up cycling of furniture we want to make every item that little bit different, knowing it will be a stunning centre piece for your home.
We decided to set our business up around late 2012, both of us are from an art and design background, Alex graduating in both Sculpture and Art and myself (Annika) in Mixed Media Textiles. We had worked for art galleries, artists and designers and had our own works in many exhibitions. But we felt there was a gap in the market for what we wanted to do, so we decided to merge together our talents to create items and pieces we both love and what we know others will enjoy.
The biggest challenge we faced when starting up our business was the whole finance side of things. Both of us had never done our own finance books or taxes before, so finding a system that worked for us was the key. Also sourcing the right advice on how to keep your businesses finances in order and doing your taxes correctly was another big eye opener, as all the jargon you read can be very daunting. The Enterprise Inc program really helped us with really tricky questions that we needed answering or any problems we had. Time management was another challenge for us as we both work full time jobs alongside our online business so having a good balance really helps, as you have to find time to source and make new items for the site, complete the admin side, update the website and keeping the marketing side of things fresh. It does help that there’s two of us so we try and balance out the work load equally to ensure everything gets completed.
The most rewarding part of owning our own business is the achievement you feel when you see your site online and receive positive feedback. Also it’s a really nice feeling managing and making your own decisions whether it is good or bad for your company. We both love being creative so when we make or restore something it’s a really great feeling when it sells and gets shipped off. The business has been started by gaining knowledge from doing internships with galleries, artists and designers and with the help and support of De Montfort University’s Enterprise Inc program. The cash bursaries, support and mentoring helped us kick-start and make a success of the business, with still on going support.
Now our website is up and running and we have been trading steadily for a year, we are looking into our next step for the business to grow, we have a few ideas that we are thinking about. We’re thinking of getting other designers on board to make a wide range of items and even thinking of opening a shop after the success of our pop up shop we had in the Silver Arcade. We have learned lots whilst setting our business up and will continue to learn from mistakes and good decisions.
For anyone starting a business we would recommend to research everything to do with the business you are going to set up, ask and take as much advice as possible and don’t rush the business or try to grow to fast, grow slowly and don’t make quick decisions.