• Jo Watkins

Look beyond the label

Does the product come first or the story? This is an ongoing question while developing JOLT - how do we represent this high quality range where the story is as important as the product. We want to stand on our own as a design led collection, but also shout about the place from which is has come.

We estimate that 70 people have been involved with this collection from start to finish, from the initial experimental workshops to the product labels being fixed into place. During our time exhibiting at Top Drawer our range was received with such positivity and enthusiasm, visitors to our stand were struck by the colour, designs and then became engaged with the story. It’s the story that really matters, it’s what makes us stand out.

Mental illness can be a dark subject, and an uncomfortable one for many. But we need to accept and acknowledge it is part of so many peoples lives, and we all know someone. The statistic stands at 1 in 4 people in any given year will experience mental health difficulties. That’s not something that can be ignored.

Mental health language permeates our vocabulary, from new slants on the phrase “it’s insane!” to “oh you’re bonkers” and “lunatic”. I could go on, and we all do it. There is also the tendency to trivialise. Telling someone suffering from depression to “pull yourself together” or to say “ this will cheer you up” or “you‘ll be fine after a nice walk” however well intended, is to undermine what they are experiencing. The negative connotations of these words and assumptions regarding mental health illness provoked a discussion about how we could use this within JOLT.

We needed a strapline, something to provoke thought. We took it back to the studio and talked to members about what frustrated them regarding others perception of mental health issues. Over and above the general feeling there is still so much ignorance and misunderstanding surrounding mental health illness, it came down to labels. Once you have a diagnosis, or have had mental health problem, the condition will enter the room before you do. You have a label, be it ‘loony’ or otherwise.


This new phrase encapsulates what JOLT is about, and received a unanimous vote from the studio. We have made it our strapline in the hope that by purchasing our products will simply look beyond the label, and see how far your purchase has come.

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