Success for First Artichoke New Designers and Makers Conference

The first ever Artichoke Designers and Makers Conference was held in Cheddar in Somerset on 25th February 2022.    The conference was a free event organinsed by us, aimed at assisting student designer makers and young furniture start-up companies in the business aspects of running a furniture and cabinet making venture.

Artichoke Chairman Paul von der Heyde opened the conference with an insightful overview of the furniture industry.


Over 65 furniture students and start up furniture makers attended the event.  Delegates listened to speakers including Alice Blogg who talked from the heart about her journey as a creative in wood, and Charles Byron of Byron & Gomez who offered an excellent insight into how he and his wife, Maria, started their company.  Both speakers provided excellent advice on some of the pitfalls they faced and how they might be avoided.

alice blogg speaks at the Artichoke New Designers and Makers Conference
Alice Blogg gives an impassioned talk about her work with English woods.
Delegates had the opportunity for a tour of Artichoke’s workshops at lunch.


The days key-note speaker for the event was Dr Inge Hill, a Senior Lecturer at the Royal Agricultural University who is dedicated to supporting start-up small businesses.  Her talk, entitled ‘Being Entrepreneurial and Creating a Business Model that Fits’ focussed on a broad range of challenges and opportunities which delegates are likely to face as they begin their business journeys, including investment, value creation, strategic positioning, business models and grants.

Dr Inge Hill
Dr Inge Hill ran through various business models which furniture start ups can use to their advantage.


charles byron of Byron and Gomez
Charles Byron of Byron & Gomez gave us all an honest and often amusing insight into how he and his wife Maria had found their journey so far.


“We were delighted with how the day went”, said Andrew Petherick, Artichoke’s Business Development Director who gave a talk on brand.  “All the students and start up makers who came were really engaging and it was a very friendly atmosphere.  Artichoke was fortunate to have had great advice from a prominent business leader when the company was launched thirty years ago.  This advice helped put us on a sound financial footing and we’re delighted to be able to offer the same support to the next generation.” he said.

Andrew Petherick, Artichoke’s Business Development Director, talked about how great brands can be built.


The conference was opened by Artichoke Chairman Paul von der Heyde and closed by David Dewing, Past Master of The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers, and Current Chairman of the Southwest Region.   Axminster Tools and Furniture and Cabinetmaking magazine provided free product to conference delegates.

David Dewing, past chair of the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers and current chair of the Southwest, closed the conference.


Artichoke intends to run the event annually following the success of this inaugural conference.

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