We started this retail journey many many years ago and now it's accelerating very quickly and taking us to another level.
From ceramics, to glass, to paper and wire our retail collections for Designs in Mind are eclectic and experimental and now here we are launching a new brand- JOLT- bright & colouful prints for the home.
There is so much to learn. Today we have drawn up a plan of what we need to do over the next 3 months and this includes printing, making, sourcing materials, marketing, packaging, presenting, selling, photography and more...
At Designs in Mind we support adults referred through mental health services to build their self-worth and become active members of society. Our experience tells us that the best way to achieve this is through; 1. A support network of friends and 2. A real sense of purpose and possibility for the future.
We achieve the first by establishing all referrals as ‘members’ – creating a peer group and a supportive environment where we work as a team, respect and understanding for who you are is paramount. We achieve the second by focusing on the development of creative skills on real, high quality projects that are paid for or commissioned. Focus and application is demanded and members are given the opportunity to take responsibility resulting in less hospitalisation and a reduction in medication, better life choices, independence from mental health services, and a move into employment.
Over 23 years we have learned that there is a balance to strike between challenging and extending the potential of members and creating a supportive environment, safe space, where it is possible to take risks and make mistakes, which aids resilience and recovery.
Mental health stigma can be a bigger burden than the illness itself and through JOLT We want to really challenge mental health stigma by building on our two core principles of friends and purpose:
‘I would be more nervous with more exposure, but if we don’t challenge the stigma it will grow’
‘With increased competition we will have even higher levels of excellence, I’m up for the challenge!’
‘Things I make can go further- that is inspiring and informs my work. I think we should show the world what we do, it is such a positive in a difficult time- we’re not stupid, ignorant or second class citizens because we’re living on benefits and not in work. We have aspirations for our ability and the future.’
Not everyone always has the confidence to make decisions and work independently. We break tasks down – so on a bad day when making decisions seems impossible members can help with backup tasks. When confidence is there, making and design flourish and there is the opportunity to lead, research, contribute to planning and develop ideas to inform all areas of the business. We need to offer challenges which suit individuals and move people forward at their own pace. JOLT provides more pathways and options for members to engage in as well as setting greater challenges within the design and making process.