At the end of 2020, David saw a post about KWMC The Factory’s MADE in South Bristol business support programme on Facebook and applied to take part. A member of Sing Out Bristol, the South West’s largest LGBT+ choir, David runs their website and social media pages as a volunteer, and is a part-time retail worker.
He had been searching for things that he could do in his spare time. He said, “I wasn’t necessarily ready to start my own business but the MADE in South Bristol advert came up on my Facebook, and I thought there is nothing to lose by signing up! I went in with no expectations and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
David participated in the Exploring Creative Enterprise strand of MADE, which offers an introduction to product design and running a business, and has been designed for people who have creative interests or hobbies and would like to explore turning them into potential business ideas.
Thinking about the needs and interests of his choir, David was able to expand his ideas during the MADE programme, and as a result of learning about prototyping and making, he developed a business idea inspired by his hobby.
David explains: “The idea I developed wasn’t my original idea coming into MADE. I enjoy making marketing videos for the choir, but then I thought about the merchandise. As a choir, we wear performance T-shirts and have been looking to expand our merchandising range. We used to use a service in Bristol that became unreliable. I realised that [exploring making] merchandise would be really interesting, after thinking about how you can make things.
“I realised there was a gap in the market for choir merchandising, and from my involvement with Sing Out Bristol I know what is needed – I have knowledge in that area.”
During the MADE sessions David thought about his core values, explaining that most members of the choir have experienced oppression or discrimination at some point in their lives.
He said: “My key value is to make my idea inclusive: inclusivity is the most important value to me, quickly followed by sustainability and being kind to the environment. I know that for most people in the choir they would feel passionate about my idea being developed into something that is naturally sourced. Members of the choir are interested in sustainability and sourcing things in eco-friendly ways. It is very important to them.”
When KWMC The Factory is able to reopen to the public, in line with COVID-19 regulations, David intends to make a prototype. He explains: “I intend to trial my idea with my choir after I have used The Factory’s applications to prototype my idea and understand the process of making. If the trial with my choir is successful, I would have an organic way of rolling it out, via word of mouth in the Bristol choir circuit.”
He concludes: “[MADE in South Bristol] was great because you got to mix with other people online, who are similar to you, who are all interested in learning. It helped a lot, having other people who were in the same boat. I learnt to be a bit more confident. For me MADE was a positive experience right from the word go, it was pitched just right for me and I enjoyed it.”
David has already recommended MADE to a friend!
You can see what David and the Sing Out Bristol choir have been up to by following them on Facebook at SingOutBristolChoir and Instagram and Twitter at SingOutBristol
MADE in South Bristol is a creative programme at KWMC The Factory designed to support residents and small businesses in South Bristol to explore the potential of digital manufacturing and enterprise.
MADE in South Bristol is free to take part in and is open to people ages 18+ in South Bristol who:
The programme provides 12 hours of support through workshops, mentoring, and coaching. There are two programmes available, each tailored to support people at different stages of their enterprise journey.
Exploring Creative Enterprise (Pre-start): For beginners and those ready to kick-start a business and explore creative enterprise. This strand is specially designed for individuals who are currently not running a business but are interested in starting one. The course provides a guided introduction to the design processes, a streamlined approach to business basics, space to explore, and prototype your ideas. The next course starts in February 2021.
Business Support (Existing businesses): For creative businesses, sole traders and freelancers currently trading looking for support to grow their business and ideas. Includes a mix of one-to-one business diagnostics, individual coaching and workshops. Begins March 2021.
MADE in South Bristol is delivered by KWMC The Factory as part of South Bristol Enterprise Support (SBES), which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and West of England Combined Authority Investment Fund. SBES is delivered in partnership by Bristol City Council, YTKO, School for Social Entrepreneurs, The Prince’s Trust, and KWMC The Factory.