Our Story started making Christmas Trees out of pallets and selling them in a pop up store during Christmas 2014. We have a long history of working with designer makers, we were mentoring and taking them to Showcase 15 years ago. We always wanted to do more, to help them tell their story, make a living out of their passion and feel less isolated as is often the case working in your own kitchen or workshop. The pop up shop at Christmas 2014 gave us confidence that we could do more, even though we aren’t based in a city we're blessed with a growing tourism industry and increasing visitor numbers, all eager to discover new products and designs.
The summer of 2015 saw Causeway Enterprise open the Designerie. It was born out of a passion to support and enable creatives/designer makers, providing them with a route to market to promote high value craft in a retail shop. We had a vision and aspiration to deliver a very unique, creative space in the village of Bushmills, not only supporting creative entrepreneurs but also that it would service the local community to learn and develop new creative skills through a programme of innovative workshops facilitated by our own designer makers – hence the studio at the Designerie was born. Connection has been at the core of the Designerie’s purpose – bringing artists and community together to create beautiful things and learn new skills.
Over the past 3 years we have focused on sourcing a stock of beautiful, unique contemporary products and growing the Designerie family of artists – we have over 85 partnering with us currently and we have built a reputation of hosting an extensive programme of creative arts workshops catering for a diverse group of customers including children, adults, hen parties, community groups, schools, church groups etc.
The next step in our journey became obvious the more we listened to our creatives, we connected their needs and desires along with our desire to see their businesses thrive and prosper, the result is Makers House at The Designerie. We are able to provide a route to market via a retail outlet with the provision of dedicated bespoke Makers Space that creatives can reside in – a place where like-minded artists could work side by side, collaborate together and build an even stronger sense of community.
Pictured above is Workspace at the Makers House in the Designerie
To make this happen, CEA will do what they are good at in terms of supporting growth and development. Dedicated staff will be on hand to mentor and coach the creatives with the aim of encouraging new and enhanced products being brought to market. An events programme will be rolled out to promote the sales of artists through exhibitions and Designerie markets. Training workshops will be facilitated on a range of subjects including merchandising, marketing, social media, design thinking and assistance and financial support made available for Designerie artists to exhibit at regional and national trade fairs. Digital marketing support on hand to promote the reputation and profile of both The Designerie and its residents and opportunities to network, collaborate and support each other will be facilitated through weekly meetings and networking events. The creatives are also buying into the whole ethos of the Designerie, where a give back attitude is encouraged with artists contributing their time and expertise to ensuring a jam packed programme of workshops on offer to the community taking place in our newly extended workshop studio space.
Brand new Makers House at the Designerie pictured above
Where’s it all happening – August 2018 sees the launch of The Makers House at The Designerie on the first floor of 88 Main Street.
The Makers House will deliver a creative hub where like minded designer makers will cluster together to make, market, educate, support and collaborate and build a strong vibrant creative sector on the Causeway Coast.
The story continues….
Makers House has been funded by The Coastal Communities Fund, which is funded by the Government with income from the Crown Estate’s marine assets. It is delivered by the Big Lottery Fund on behalf of UK Government and the Devolved Administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The Makers House initiative is also supported by the Skills and Opportunities Fund from RBS.