MY JOURNEY IN MACE

Posted in PERSONAL REFLECTION on May 15, 2010 by moneisarockworld

Starting life in MACE

I started my MACE journey in September. Actually, I almost couldn’t catch up the course. But luckily, I attended finally on time. At first, I was so nervous because I never left my own country before. Especially, I couldn’t imagine coming across the whole Eurasian plate. It might sounds crazy before, but here I am. I started my class immediately just when I arrived, so I didn’t consider too much about the work, the study, sometimes I even forgot the reason why I was here. All I worried was the surrounding environment. I believe it is the common problem to most people in a strange country. As I said in the blog before, I’m just too used to one thing, one environment, hating to change. In addition to my study, I need to conquer myself, my reaction to outside world. On one hand it was the first challenge to me. On the other hand, it was the mill which is not everyone can experience. So in some degree, it encouraged my after time in England.

Gradually, everything was getting better. Out of my expectation, my adaptive capacity grew much faster. So first time I tried to focus myself on MACE courses. Now when I recall the past eight months, many things happened, especially, young business groups. There are failure, quarrel, and sorrow, of course happy, encouragement, and the smell of success. And I realized why I come to Kingston University to attend MACE course. I saw an introduction of Creative Economy on the university website before I was still in China, it described: Our creative economy is an integral feature of modern society. The prosperity of people across the globe depends upon the creativity of designers, authors, film-makers, musicians, architects and other ‘content’ creators in a way that it has never done before. And the creative industries account for a significant proportion of national revenue and job creation. (http://ourcreativeeconomy.com/ )I think it would be a good place to meet people, to try new things, and to challenge myself. I believe I can obtain enough experience here surrounded by people from diverse cultural, background, and specialism.

Experience of Art Bridge

The team members came together because of the similar business they wanted to do. So in my first company, Art Bridge was the best name to express our passion and enthusiasm to art and young artists. My group members and I hoped to be like a bridge between the young graduated artists and common people who love arts, but no access to appreciate them. I really liked what we did for the business. Because I’m a young graduated designer as well, so I could understand the feeling in this recession situation. Young talented artists want to express their work to people, hope to get reaction and feedback. So we like art agency tried to make both connected. The long-term goal of our business was to promote young artists, by selling their work in temporary galleries and raising public awareness of quality of art made by students in Britain. Art Bridge is the only company selling student art works. (http://maceteam9.wordpress.com/ )

In order to establish the good relationship between artists and people, we determined our short-term goal which was to hold an exhibition in Kingston. The young artists we chose would be graduated art students from Kingston University. From then on, every week, we had group meeting, we always planned our next step.

It seemed the start was not bad, but suddenly, many things happened. We came across obstacles and options. A member dropped out of our team because of the strong dissension with other team member. We tried to persuade her to stay. But it was useless. Since then, although we were still in progress, the situation was not as good as before. We contacted designers and tutors in our university, even gave a short speech to a design class. But the students didn’t show us a positive reaction. We contacted the properties, asked them to provide a space for us. There was not reply as well. I just felt frustrated and disappointed. When other groups presented their big progress in the class, we had just a little which made me a bit frustrated.

And then was the trade fair. We printed our business card, flyers, and posters to promote Art Bridge. I did some cute cards to sell. The result let us see something positive again. However, when we came back from the Christmas holiday, our business ceased. It was so pity that another girl dropped out of the class. Maybe quarrels often exist, new problems always occurred. We still didn’t want to dissolve. But the result was that my first company journey finished.

Conclusion of failure

Now when I recall my time in first business, even if no one leaves from the group, the situation wouldn’t be good either. As the reminders for the next business, I gave some conclusions for the former one. Firstly, we didn’t organize our company appropriately from the beginning. We did have long-term target, but it was a bit too abstract. And that made us ignore the short-term goal which should be very important for a young business so that the plan cannot catch up with the change. Secondly, we were not very realistic to the situation. It does happen only if you are full of confidence and the current state allow you to satisfy your wish. Another problem existed in our team was communication. This is so common in every business. Getting along with colleges seems not that difficult, but it’s a life philosophy. Sometimes it is so essential that can be the basic condition to cause a successful company.

Experience of Design Balance

The first half of my MACE time came to the end. In January, we were arranged to another group which last until now and we just finished our presentation successfully. But at the beginning of the second group, when other groups were under way, we just started. We didn’t have much time to know each other deeply. The tacit agreement of relationship had to be cultivated with the growing of new business. However, painful lessons should be firmly remembered. We sat together and spent several weeks to have brainstorming of the product for the company. In brainstorming, we sketched ideas out for our teammate. It could communicate them more clearly than words alone. We made it quick and sharp, and then moved on to the next one. http://dschool.typepad.com/news/2009/10/rules-for-brainstorming.html  

In order to achieve the aim in such a short time, we must be very realistic and know well about the product. So we decided to sell fashion accessory and we began from the scarf. The choice for the scarf was very reasonable because we had four designers in the new team, and three of us were fashion designers which means we could design and produce by ourselves, also save the labor cost. As for the target market, we needed to narrow down and focused on a fixed and surrounding group which can guarantee the quantity of customer.

This time we must be very careful of every decision we made. Surprisingly, I was recommended as the leader of the team. Frankly, it was the first time to be a leader and I was the youngest among others. So I treated this experience as the challenge for my future. To be a good leader must have a vision for the organization, have the passion to transform that vision into action, be able to travel into an unexplored path, know how to manage both success and failure, and have the courage to make decisions. (http://www.thepracticeofleadership.net/2009/08/09/the-importance-of-creative-leadership/ ) It sounded I had a lot to learn.

Bur everything was under control, though some small conflict and argues still happened. But that showed we had many ideas, suggestions, thoughts, we were so eager to express them into the business. This time, in the meeting of every week, I arranged the task that we need to complete in a short time and the different steps we need to achieve in different periods of time. So from February, I and other designers had brainstorm of the scarves. At first, every one tried to design three styles. Then put everyone’s together and made selections by ourselves. After narrowing down, we made an investigation that let students in Kingston University choose the samples they liked. We really got many feedback and suggestions from them, who were also our potential customers. After the conclusion, we knew that some of styles were welcomed because of uniqueness. Some of them were not good enough because of the similar one in the market. So we absorbed their suggestions and synthesize the opinions. We decided to design unique, interesting, but also multifunctional scarves so we just kept trying, making, improving in whole February. In order to expand the selections, satisfy more demands, we finally confirmed three styles as our products.

In March, we put scarves into production. In the middle of that month, I considered to sell scarves in Sunday Market and we nearly agree on it. But I didn’t make it because of the last company’s experience. I figured out that if we want to sell in a real market, we need prepare enough scarves, we need to invest a large amount of money for property. However, we might not have enough time to provide assigned number. The risk for the money was out of the standard. It didn’t mean we were afraid to lose. I thought we shouldn’t be rash once more. We had our long-term goal which was to brand our company, Design Balance. Let people know that we provide unique, multifunctional scarves. But to make that reality, we need to be realistic. So selling scarves of Design Balance to students in Kingston University was our short-term goal. In first step, we must attract our surrounding customers which were easier for a young company.

However, we did come across lots of obstacles. Instead of escaping, we faced them. One of the most hard-solving problems was still communication. In our team, we spoke different language, had different ways of thinking. We were even not in a team originally. However, we tried to be good listeners, try to express our point of view that were all be beneficial to the business, we tried to accept, if not, we tried to analyze and convinced others for reasonable reasons. When we were facing too many options, I knew it was hard to throw either, especially when we were discussing final design. Creative people are passionate and have a tendency to think they are right, better, and more humble than the others around, but the truth is that the nature of creative work requires to them to be individualistic and fight for their ideas and beliefs. The challenge is when several of these personalities get together and need to be managed to achieve a common goal. (http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/manuel-saez/power-design/managing-creative-people-achieve-common-goal )So as a team, all members chose what they thought were good, and gave reasons to select the final design. Each decision, each choice was after careful consideration.  

When we came back from the Easter Holiday, it was good that we didn’t slow down the speed of our process as we welcomed the second Trade Fair. The experience of Trade Fair was very impressive. Although we didn’t sell any scarf, we well promoted our company. We fully prepared before the fair. Every member tried their best. The result was not that important to us. Because this time, you could see that we united together. 

With the end of Trade Fair, we went into the final stage. We had several things to deal with. We need to have more ideas on new commercial. We determined to do a better one which can show the feature of our scarf properly. It also must be creative and express the spirit of our company. We also had to discuss the marketing. We knew our target market, know the feature of our products. So we need to consider where to sell, and how to sell. Sometimes I felt the huge pressure by so many things so as to be hard to choose what should be solved at first. But that was the responsibility for a leader. I should make everything in order. After cleaning the thought in my head, a beautiful story jumped out, I and another girl in the team asked a friend of us who is in film-making to help us shooting, and we asked another friend to be our model. We spent whole day under the sun and changed six different scenes just for a sixty seconds’ film. But it was worthwhile. I was really proud of it when we saw the final advertising. In the middle of April, we made out all the scarves and the packages. (http://maceteam8.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/our-new-version-of-advertisements/ ) A student who was responsible for marketing successfully contacted the student office and got permission for us to sell in campus.

Everything was ready, and we were ready as well. We welcomed the selling day for Design Balance, although some unhappy thing happened just before the day, we solved it anyway. We performed more actively than in Trade Fair. I tried my best to talk to the customers, introduced them the uniqueness of our scarves, and presented the multi-ways to wear the scarf. Some members kept taking photos for customers and asked them writing their email address. Some of us went to the canteen and introduced directly. If you walked through the front entrance in Penrhyn Road that day, you would find passionate and enthusiastic Design Balance members. We sold more than half of our handmade scarves. The result was much better than we expected before.

In the final presentation on Friday, we were nervous as well. But we accurately made a report which recorded the whole process of time spent with Design Balance and presented whole process successfully. It was really a good experience to me.

The impressive ending

After the whole class, I felt a bit sad, because this was the last class in MACE. In the last eight months, there were worry, frustration, dispute, argument, failure, sometimes even thought of giving up, but we all went through. And now looking back the days before, laughter, handwork and happy time we spent together is the most we get. All the things just finished so quickly as for I couldn’t digest so many knowledge and skills right now. I must admit all the things I learnt from the class, all things happened after the class, all challenges, troubles I met in the young business are exact the things we need to learn.

Especially, by running the company we get so many things not just related to business issue which are beneficial to our future career, such as it is important to know what is before really starting the business. Design thinking aim at drawing on and synthesizing a wide range of knowledge and influences rather than at optimizing. (http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/fred-collopy/manage-designing/just-what-design-thinking-view-blogosphere ) I also learned how to deal with the relationship between leaders and colleagues, and what the persona is that can be useful in considering the goals, desires, and limitations of brand buyers and users in order to help to guide decisions about a service, product or interaction space. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persona_(marketing))And can apply insights from the learning roles and channel the empowerment from the organizing roles to make innovation happen. (http://www.tenfacesofinnovation.com/tenfaces/index.htm )I know how to use business techniques, develop my business mind, and even something about accounting. In addition to above these practical skills, I learned more which are about relationship which expresses in personal behavior and communication, have a good communication skill is very important in real work. It is like a bridge between you and others. Also, no matter what we do, have a good and realistic planning is essential. It can ensure you finish the task efficiently and timely. Never have too high standard. Make a plan for long term goal and establish the reality by stating the current situation. Think about the potential obstacles. Be decisive in front of too many options. Make strategies, finish step by step. Finish a short term goal in every stage.

The whole process should all be valued. Another thing I learned is never giving up trying. In the business, we kept trying our product, trying our market, and then we knew the direction of the next step. I cultivate my integrity in MACE. I’m intelligent and be full of energy in work. I’ve prepared myself and am ready to start my career. (http://lawsofsimplicity.com/2008/08/02/the-tao-of-warren-buffet/ )

Advertisements

Commercial of Design Balance

Posted in S2 week 15 on April 28, 2010 by moneisarockworld

This is the commercial of Design Balance.

Hope you like it!

enjoy!!! 

The important week

Posted in S2 week 14 on April 26, 2010 by moneisarockworld

We are in the final essential stage. In this week, I have so many things to organise. First, in the group meeting of this Monday, I assigned tasks to every group member. So in the presentation, everyone will be responsible to answer two questions from the report. So memebers have to finish a 5oo words discription and then send to me in this week. I’ll check and change something, then put all in ppt. In the meeting, we agreed to take my idea of commercial and ready to shoot.

In Tuesday, I and Yang went to the model’s home. Let her try our scarves and decided the final image in shooting. We also rent a bicycle, a bamboo weaving hat as the properties. In the shooting day. There was sunshine and blue sky. What a good day for us. All the actress, all the properties, all the shooting places were ready. We spent a whole day outside and finally finished well. Then we picked another day to edit our video.

 And now the new commercial of Design Balance is on website.

Today we hold a very important meeting. I showed them the new commercial and the feedback is good. But the mean issue to talk is about Monday’s selling in Penrhyn Road. I have prepared my scarves, and I think the same as Jay. Yang gave the price for the scarf. Sujee arranged time and place. I believe all of us will perform great tomorrow. And try our best to sell. From today, I’ll start to do the structure of ppt in presentation. make sure everyone express our company properly. 

I think every member in our group all do very well this week. Just some people’s role changed. Maybe it is good. Because she knows that’s more suitable for herself. Company will be to the end, I don’t know if the business will continue after the course. At least now we still dedicate ourselves to the company. We need to carry on and keep this good situation next week and good luck for our selling tomorrow.

In final stage

Posted in S2 week 13 on April 18, 2010 by moneisarockworld

We come back from Easter holiday, and what will meet us is a real battle. Now every company should be in finishing products and begin to prepare for promoting their products. Afterall, we are all in final stage. This week I and Yang finished making pillows for Creative Contral. It is great to earn extra money from other business. As more time allowed, we  did more scaves, because the quantity in Trade Fair was obviously not enough. We also added more style in it. Hopefully, the result can be not bad.

These are the new scarves we made, hopy you like them

After the last class in Friday, I know we’ll have so many things to prepare, and finish them in prefect way. We have several things to discuss in the next meeting. First, we need to have more ideas on commercial. We have to make a new one. I hope it’ll be creative and express the spirit of our company. The next thing is about the 10 questions, which will be presented in two forms, ppt and paper. I’ll divide questions into 5 groups, and everyone charge 2. The last also the most important thing is to discuss the marketing.  We know our target market, know the feature of our products. So we need to decide where to sell,and how to sell. Wish Suji and Susan will come back , we need them. They are responsible for marketing.

Marketing exploration & Commercial Advert

Posted in S2 week 9&10 on April 2, 2010 by moneisarockworld

Now we are getting into the final step of our young business. It’s time to take action and make some result. After nearly half a year’ s effort, I still can’t make sure if we can gain the profit from the business. But we really harvest experience, at least I believe it. Who can boast about the business must earn money. As long as he invest the company, even if just a little money, risk still exists. No matter this is the first time to set up a company and run it.

Last week is the second Trade Fair,  all our group members attended. That’s what I feel happy, because it means we were all here, waiting to express our company image. We brought the finished scarves, our business card, packages, confidence, passion, smile…… In selling process, we still try to preform best. We displayed our merchandise orderly and beautifully. The intention of showcase is to catch customers’ eyes. In order to work efficiently, I divided our roles. Two were responsible for marketing, two need to talk to potential customers, introducing our company and its background. The others were in charge of explaining the functions and show the way how to wear scarves.

             

People in this trade fair were not as many as the first one,maybe because of the location of hall and time when most student were having class. But our aim is to explore market. We need to know whether people accept our design, whether they like it and intend to buy it. How about the price we set. If our marketing approach is feasible. So it was a good chance for us to realize our company more clear. And the result is we did need to change somethings. We know young people here like unique creative products. So we keep the mean direction of design, and improve it. As for the price, we need to make it a bit lower. Students can’t afford something too expensive. For the marketing part, we have to reconsider it. The way we used so far is too soft and normal. We must try some brave and innovative ideas.

The luck is we are in trail stage, and we have chances to make what we have done better. The bad is we just have limited time. And for our company advert, though we took two different videos. The consequence is not satisfying. After the last corrin’s class before the Easter holiday, I realized what we lack. From problem to solution, our advert didn’t show anything. The theme is correct, the representation is not clear. We got ideas in the advert, but we expressed them in a boring way.

Advert is the first image to a company, but we don’t need to provide all information in it. A good advert is to let people know the spirit and character trait inside the company, and what the company try to sell. make it clear and neat. Knowing our problem inside, then trying to find the solution.

get into market & put into production

Posted in S2 week8 on March 11, 2010 by moneisarockworld

Last Friday, we were given the second challenge. This time it is an on-line company which do the branding, customer survey, graphic design, advertising for other companies, who don’t have enough ability or techniques. So we were supposed to promote it  in a form of storytelling. And this compaany has business with different countries, like China, Russia, India……

At first, I didn’t understand what the company is, what they sell. It was quite abstrict to me. And then even if I was clear about this task, I had no idea how to express it. Actually, the company did sell something or a lot, not existing products, but servicef or other companies, branding and survey. Still, we expressed our idea separately. They mentioned about the different market, so I chose China for one of their target markets. China is really a super grand market because of the big population and the rapid rise in the world, so there must exist many business opportunities. Hence, if there is possibilities to use Vision Stimulation to promote themselves in this market. For example, do advertising in super large screen in plazas in city central or put ostentatious advert, signs in crowded streets. Catch people’s attention and let them know this company are worthwhile to believe, to depend. In a short time, more and more companies will take notice, especially in Shanghai, Beijing.

So in my opinion, one is to pack the company itself as good  as possible, then the outside world can get interest in it automatically, the other is realizing different market, using different marketing strategies in suitatible culture.

For the business group, we have begun to put into production. I decided the design and  part of the fabric we would use. The first several products are not good enough. There is always the differencen between reality and imagination. Maybe the fabic is not righr or maybe the design need to be improved. Although we were worried about it, these kind of things always happen. We just have to keep modify, make it better. Also, we finished the shooting for our company’s advert. It was just the rough one. We were not satisfied with it, and we must do it again next week.

The other thing is as a leader in the team. I tried to be professional to my role. Difficulties and obstacles are always in front of you, just be honest to it, solve it creatively.

Plan & Decision week

Posted in S2 week7 on March 5, 2010 by moneisarockworld

Last friday’s lecture, we were involved in an plan for GRM channel. The intension of GRM is to promote unsigned underground bands, and the target market is from 18-25 years old. To me, actually, I was quite interested in this challenge. Because I like bands, like underground music. Thus, I was so willing to distribute my ideas.

The task is to make a business plan to promote GRM company, or the bands and musicians in GRM company. I think the bridge between GRM and young people are these bands and musicians. So we want to focus on the market. Only the market accept and adore these unsigned young people, can GRM be known naturally. So in the case of our group, we were divided into three pairs. Every pair would go to a place to interview people from 18-25 or the staff in shops. the result was quite good. Some people are willing to listen an underground bands’ EP which is attached on a record  they buy. Also they may keep their eyes on these talented people. Some staffs are willing to use these bands’  music as the background music.

We wanted to spread as much information of GRM and bands as we can. We want to let people involve in their music as much as possible. Acturally, there will be a superbig market for this plan. Because there are more and more young people who love music around the world. And most of them support to dig  the talented.  And what made us surprised is that we got the second in all of groups. It was a great confirm for our work.  

In last week’s group meeting, I was selected as the leader. I realized I will be responsible for the growth og our group. But more pressure and more task can make me more tough. We did some samples of scarves. So in this week’s meeting, we had a process of selecting the most proper design for selling. And we went outside, each of us wore a scarf, asked people their opinions, and we get many feedbacks from different aspects which were good and useful to us. The result was most of people like my design. I designed three different style. One is like a tie, a square patchwork with ruffles. Another one is made up of six stripes which is never seen in the market. People said it was special.

 

Finally, we decided to do three style, combine the design of Jay and I, using the die techniques from Jonghua. But after we asked corrine’s opinion. She suggest us just focus on one type of design. develop and mix&match it on the basic one. Yes, it was a good suggestion. We need to rethink of the design and our target market……