British Library fashion

There’s sustainable fashion and then there’s Tom Cridland and his clothes guaranteed to last 30 years

tomcridlandlogoLast Tuesday on my way to get my early morning coffee, I stumbled across our own little bit of London Fashion Week at the British Library.

British Library fashion

It got me thinking about this year’s event, and how the media had picked up on the theme of sustainability in fashion. The London Fashion Week events putting sustainability in the spotlight.

But none of the stories mentioned Tom Cridland and his clothes that are guaranteed to last 30 years. What might have remained a tiny niche business started with a £6,000 loan four years ago, has grown to £3 million turnover with a long list of celebrity customers.

His approach is certainly the opposite of high street brands such as Primark, who are known for their very low prices and disposable approach to fashion.

My only concern is whether his clothes can really last that long. I guess time will tell.

30-year-t

My new favourite brand name is Ugly

Triple BerryIf you read this blog, you will know I am slightly obsessed with brand names.

And I seem to spend quite a bit of my time at work trying to persuade people not to obsess about their trade mark. As long as the name is legal (check here for the UK) and not owned by someone else in your area of business (search here to check), the only thing that matters is how memorable it is.

And you can’t get much more memorable than Ugly. This big and bold name certainly caught my eye as I browsed the drinks available in our restaurant at the British Library yesterday.

Ugly flavours

On visiting the Ugly Drinks website, I was glad to see a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section explaining their unusual name.

Ugly Drinks FAQ

I haven’t yet managed to taste one of their range of drinks, but I’m looking forward to asking for an Ugly Drink.

Ugly Drinks

 

The shoelace is dead – long live the Hickie

Hickies lacesA while ago I wrote about the shoelace knot that never comes undone, but it seems my efforts to learn this amazing knot may have been wasted.

According to Gaston Frydlweski and Mariquel Waingarten, the inventors of the Hickies Lacing System, no one will ever need to learn to tie a shoelace again.

This inventive way of keeping shoes on your feet was launched via a Kickstarter campaign in 2012. And they managed to raise over $150,000, six times more than their initial target.

Since then the company has sold over 2 millions sets in 45 countries, and continues to grow.

Call me old-fashioned, but I’m not quite ready to ditch my trusty old laces for this futuristic replacement. But I do admire the founders for persevering with their 20 year dream of improving how you lace you shoes.

Hickies patent US D686909

 

 

Celebrate World Radio Day with a station just for builders

World Radio Day logoToday is World Radio Day, created by the United Nations cultural body UNESCO to “remember the unique power of radio to touch lives, and bring people together across every corner of the globe”.

Given the global presence of social media and streaming television, it is perhaps a little surprising that such an old media as Radio remains so popular. In fact it is nearly 100 years since the BBC started regular radio broadcasts in the UK. And yet it’s flagship show the Today Program on Radio 4 is now more popular than ever with a weekly reach of 7.66 million listeners.

In 2017 there are around 600 licensed radio stations in the UK, with the latest Radio Fix aimed at builders. It’s another great example of a niche product, catering to an untapped audience.

Fix Radio logoFix Radio says it will provide music, banter and information targeted at bricklayers, plumbers, electricians, plasterers, roofers, painters and decorators whether they work on building sites or in people’s homes.

The new station is the brainchild of Louis Timpany who came up with the concept while working on a building site to earn extra cash after graduating from Leeds University.

“I noticed builders listen to the radio all day but there was no one station they could all agree on,” says Louis. “I thought it would be great to create a station specifically with them in mind”.

“One thing that came out strongly, for example, was the need for detailed weather forecasts throughout the day as builders depend on knowing what the weather is going to be like to plan their work,” says Louis.

“The main weather forecasts on Fix Radio every day will, therefore, be very detailed and accurate – almost like the shipping forecast for tradespeople.”

Sponsorship and advertising packages have already been pre-sold for the first six months. “We can offer our commercial partners a very pure, very targeted audience so they can engage with their customers with little ‘wastage’ on people who don’t work in the trade,” says Louis.

Fix Radio to target tradespeople in London

Loos for Doos – a name Thomas Crapper would be proud of

I can never resist a good business name, and today I spotted Loos for Doos as I crossed the road when when popping out for lunch today.

But when I did a quick trade mark search on the UK IPO database, I noticed they don’t yet have a registered name.

Hopefully they will read this little note and take action…

trailer-standard

 

Harry Potter A History of Magic wandmakers

Harry Potter and the real wand-makers

sixpenny-large-carved-vineOne of the surprises of the recent BBC documentary Harry Potter: A History of Magic (repeated on Christmas Day) were the two real-life wand-makers from Kent.

Dusty Miller XIII and XIV are Master Elfin Craftsman from the “Saelig Silverdobbs”, a tribe which lived in Great Britain since the last Ice Age. Together they make “unique handcrafted magickal Tools which inhabit a benevolent Tree Spirit”.

The long line of family craftsmen goes back hundreds of years and the Millers have the same given name handed down from one generation to the next.

Dusty XIV explained: “We work for the tree spirits so they tell us where to go to collect a piece of wood and which tree to collect it from. “It’s all very complicated and often involves getting up in the middle of the night to be in the forest at daybreak.

“Why it always has to be daybreak I don’t know. Why can’t it be lunchtime?” he asked. “Trees don’t have lunch,” retorted his father, Dusty XIII.

The Millers sell their wands all over the world for a variety of magical and healing purposes. Kent wand-makers: Wood you believe it?

Harry Potter A History of Magic wandmakersThe Wand-makers BBC website

So many wand-makers in the UK

A quick Google search reveals lots of rival wand-makers in the UK. It seems there is a demand for this niche product way beyond Harry Potter memorabilia.

Thornfield Handcrafted Wands

Thornfield Handcrafted Wands

Daniel and Daniel

Daniel and Daniel

Spirit of Old

Spirit of Old

British Originals

British Originals

And we must not forget our American cousins, who also have a variety of wand-makers including the wonderfully named Acme Wand Supply Ltd

Acme Wand Supply

 

Paris – the place to try a Frog Burger

My favourite business names are ones that have a built-in sense of humour (Dry Patch and Ass Saver). So I was delighted when I first came across a Frog Burger pub in Paris.

I love the way the owners have turned an historical negative term for our next-door-neighbours across the ‘English Channel’ (La Manche to the French) into a marketing success.

This is all part of the revolution in French eating that has seen ‘Le Burger’ rise to the top of the menu across France. ‘Le burger’ now top selling dish in French restaurants

Below are the current variations on the brand, with my favourites being The Frog & Rosbif and of course The Frog & British Library.FrogBurgerTHE FROG & ROSBIF
THE FROG & PRINCESS
THE FROG AT BERCY VILLAGE
THE FROG & BRITISH LIBRARY
FROG XVI
FROG REVOLUTION
FROG HOP HOUSE
THE FROG & UNDERGROUND
FROGBURGER IN PARIS
FROGBURGER BASTILLE
FROGBURGER ST-MICHEL
FROGBURGER NEUILLY
FROGPUBS IN BORDEAUX

 

 

 

Wisdom & Wordplay cover

Robert Eddison’s Wisdom & Wordplay – 300 original one-liners to enrich your day

I have long been a fan of great quotes, or aphorisms to give them their proper name. Dating back to well before I had even heard of that sophisticated word, and possibly triggered by this Monty Python Oscar Wilde Sketch.

I currently use three of my favourites quotes in my Introducing Social Media for Small Business Workshop at the British Library. The point being that if you are able to express something of relevance to your potential customers in just a few words (for instance less than the 140 characters required for Twitter) you are likely to be a success.

Workshop slide

So, I was excited to receive a review copy of Robert Eddison’s Wisdom & Wordplay which contains ‘300 original one-liners to enrich your day’.

Wisdom & Wordplay coverIn the Foreword Gyles Brandreth, who is well known for his wit and encyclopedic knowledge rates Eddison as a possible match for Wilde.

I wouldn’t go that far, having just re-visited some of Wilde’s classics quotes.

But there are still some wonderful gems scattered across the pages.

Here are some of my favourites:

–  The spendthrift is more spend than thrift

–  It’s hard to lick your wounds after being stabbed in the back

–  Trust, like money has to be carefully invested

–  The curious are their own best teachers

–  A clear conscience makes the best sleeping pill

–  Verbosity acts like a weed throttling meaning

–  Deep thoughts take time to surface

–  Those with a way with words usually get their way

–  In a democracy, it’s ideas that are flogged to death; in an autocracy, it’s people

–  History teaches us that we rarely learn from it

–  Reality, like the sun, can never be faced for long

–  Given enough notice, anyone can appear spontaneous

–  Coffee is not everyone’s cup of tea

–  Dressing young adds years to the older man

–  Knowledge is too often mistaken for intelligence

–  Youth, like money, is valued when lost

You can read more on Robert’s Twitter feed @roberteddison1, where you may not be surprised to find he currently has over 30 thousand followers. Which proves my point above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooking up a beautiful website without a techie in sight

Back in 2014 I wrote about the revolution in website building. A few years later, and it is now even easier and cheaper to build your own website.

A great example is the website for my neice’s recently launched baking business Olivia Infield Cakes.

oliviainfieldcakes

As you can see, Olivia is a very talented cake artist, but she is not a techie. I suggested she try using Squarespace to build her website. And after a few hours of work she produced this simple, but very professional looking site. It was a bit of a challenge for her, but because she knew what she wanted the pages to look like, she was able to work towards that goal using the built-in tools.

To get an up to date review of the 10 best website builders go here: Best Website Builders
I signed up with them, here’s my review..

According to the author Robert Mening, the top three are SiteBuilder, Wix and Squarespace.

Best website builders 2017

 

 

 

The Ass Saver that stops you getting a wet bum on your bike

Ass Savers logoSo many entrepreneurs I meet want to have a name that describes what their product does. But ironically the UK IPO may not allow you to register a name as a trade mark if “it is a descriptive word or term.”

For example Apple Inc would not be allowed to register their trade mark for fruit, as it would block everyone else from using the word apple. Much better is come up with a clever play on words that gets across what your product does. Even better if it achieves it in a fun way.

Now that autumn is here in London, it is time to think about trying to stay dry when travelling around the city. I wrote about Dry Patch – A BIPC success story with a great sense of humour a while ago. But more recently have spotted quite a few of these on my commute to work.

Ass saver

The name Ass Savers may not be to everyone’s taste, but it certainly is short, simple and memorable – the most important aspects of a trade mark.

So far the owners have only registered the name under Nice Class 12, Vehicles and Conveyances for Bicycle mudguards. So it looks as though they aren’t ready to take over the world with their brand just yet.

Update! 24 October 2017

One of our clients designer Roderick Brosse at the Business & IP Centre has just won the the top award at this weekend’s British Invention Show with a minimal mudguard. His “Mud Bug” won the Diamond Award for British Invention.

Roderick has yet to find a manufacturer for his impressive invention, so watch this space.

mudbugpic