First New Designers & Makers Conference| Artichoke

The first ever Artichoke Designers and Makers Conference was held in Cheddar in Somerset on 25th February 2022.    The conference was a free event organised 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 conference on bespoke furniture
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.

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


The day’s 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.

speaker at Artichoke bespoke joinery conference
Dr Inge Hill ran through various business models which furniture start ups can use to their advantage.


Bespoke joinery conference speaker
An audience with Charles Byron furniture maker
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.

Bespoke joinery designer and makers conference
Andrew Petherick, Artichoke’s Business Development Director, talked about how great brands can be built.


Bespoke joinery conference panel discussion
Panel discussion, chaired by Paul von der Heyde, on how to charge for your work.


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.

Artichoke bespoke joinery designer and maker conference
David Dewing, past chair of the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers and current chair of the Southwest, closed the conference.


The next Artichoke New Designers and Makers Conference will be held on Friday 2nd of June 2023 at Wells Museum, Wells, Somerset. Find out more.

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