Blue Glimpse: Jabels

This semester we got involved with Young Enterprise London with Dwain Reid, British business mentor.  Young Enterprise gives young entrepreneurs a chance to get an early start in learning skills and vital techniques for starting up a business from scratch. Young Enterprise hold workshops every month where the entrepreneurs can discuss their ideas and pick up vital skills in relation to starting up a mini business and coming up with a product. We got into small groups to form our mini business. In our group we have Celia our Business Manager, Karin our Marketing director, Sean our Financial Director and me the Business’s HR and Operations person. Our Business is called Blue Glimpse. It took us a while to come up with this name, it was only an hour before we went on the computer to register our business did we agree on the name. I did wonder if it took this long to come up with a name would it take us longer to come up with a product.

The next task was to open a bank account with Santander and come up with a product. The product can be anything except from a food and drink product. We could come up with a new product or a better version of a product that is already in the market. Our business group had to go back to basics and use the skills we learnt in our Lean Start Up two-day workshop with Eiwei Chen (my first blog post).  As it was hard to meet up during the week we had to observe the public as much as we can and try and look for a problem.  I went to St Pancras and Kings Cross Station, observed people on the buses, bus stops, Clapham common, on the trains, on the streets, in the gym etc.  I went to a house party and asked the people there. Two people suggested I come up with an umbrella that was made from quick dry material. I told them that it had already been done, I was sure we had those umbrellas in Hong Kong. I still couldn’t find a potential problem we could use for our business.

It was coming up to the product deadline and I was starting to panic. I told my group and we finally found time to meet up and discuss our ideas. We all liked Sean’s idea about a fridge system allowing people to know when their food was going to go off, I definitely have that problem in my house we tend to forget what we have in the fridge and it goes mouldy and we have to throw it out. We all then had a few days to try and come up with a product that would help people organise their fridge and allow them to know when their food product will be out of date.

We all agreed on rubber band labels to go over containers. I thought the best idea was to have a tag attached to the rubber band the labels will be erected allowing people to see the tags at the very back of the fridge. I also thought that the rubber bands were going to go on tupperware containers, I thought we were going to aim to target young people who like to cook for themselves and use containers to put their left over cooked food in and who forget when they cooked it. I thought our product was to help people avoid wasting their food in the fridge. However, my team had already decided on Jars.  Jam jars then narrowed our target audience but with the limited time we had we all thought it was a good idea. People usually use jars for home made jam, chutney, sauces, and salad dressing.  Then if the jar labels are popular then we thought that we could extend our product to different size labels, which could then fit over different size jars and containers.

We had to come up with a product name. Sean coined the word ‘Jabels’ by putting the words jar and labels together.

When trying to come up with a product name and a company name we had the problem of coming up with names that had already been done. Once we came up with names we would google search the company or product name. We were lucky that Blue Glimpse and Jabels weren’t taken.

Ideally we want our product to be a rubber band with a white board tag attached allowing people to write on the tag, wipe it off, and write on it again. We want our Jabels to be re-useable.

We needed to make a prototype before our Dragon Den session, 5 minutes to pitch our product to 7 business professionals. Celia managed to buy rubber wristbands (2012 London Olympics) for our prototypes. We found out that we could write on the rubber band directly with white board markers and wash it off. However, we need to test this more when we have our final product and see if this can be done.

Sean and Celia researched and contacted potential UK rubber band manufacturers. We wanted to ask the manufacturers if it was possible for them to embed a white board piece into their rubber bands. But the manufacturers were a little confused on the idea. So we thought if we could test our idea of customers writing on the rubber band directly more thoroughly then it could potentially be our final product. Celia found an online rubber band website where you can customise your own band. However, we thought it was a good idea to play it safe for Dragons Den and so our prototype had the rubber band with white board cut out pieces glued to the bands. This allowed us to demonstrate the writing and wiping away of the texts.

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More blog posts on Blue Glimpse, Jabels, our Dragon Den session and our trade fair experiences will be posted in the new year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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V&A Assignment

V&A WHATS ON GUIDE 2016

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The most interesting and creative assignment I had this semester was for my MA Museums and Galleries course. The assignment was to come up with the V&A What’s On Guide for 2016. During our 5 weeks class sessions at the museum we found out that it takes a lot of organisation, advance planning, extensive research, audience evaluation and editing to create these museum guides.

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(Etching of the Poynter Room by John Watkins, c. 1876-81, http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/architectural-history-of-the-v-and-a-1863-1873-fowkes-architectural-master-plan-an-interrupted-vision/)

We had to come up with a theme for our guide and I chose to focus on Architecture. I decided to connect the V&A, being one of the first arts and cultural districts, to up and coming arts and cultural districts such as the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong, Saadiyat Island Art and Cultural District in Abu Dhabi, and the Entertainment District in Shanghai.

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(West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong)

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(Cultural District, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi)

The What’s On Guide I was designing was for the July-September 2016 issue. I thought the summer issue will allowing me come up with creative outdoor events and take advantage of the new extension, (Phase 2 on Exhibition Road), that the museum will have opened to the public earlier that year. The new extension will offer the public an outdoor space to relax and enjoy, a new café, access to a new gallery, and a space for performances, art and events.

It was surprisingly hard to come up with two events per event area which then had to relevant to the theme of the guide. We were asked to come up with sixteen separate events. The eight event areas were exhibitions, displays, special events, families and young people, Evening events, course and workshops, demonstrations, tours and talks. We were told to be innovative with creating our events. My friend said she was going to have a famous chef to come in and give a cooking course to visitors and have someone from the Royal family to come in as a guest speaker. I decided my guide will have Australian Architect Michael Lynch and English Architect Sir Norman Foster to come and give a talk on the emergence and impact of creative towns.

Despite the stress from having the freedom to come up with sixteen imaginative and quite realistic museum events I actually enjoyed coming up with event ideas. I confess, I actually want to go to a few of my none-existent V&A events, especially the Friday Late event. The event consists a night of music, food, beverages and spontaneous dance performances around the museum. My embarrassing confession is that this event was inspired from a scene from one of the most terrible dance movies ever to be released ‘Step Up 4 – Revolution’. In the movie the “MOB” organises a flash mob dance performance at a gallery event. In this scene the dancers emerge from the art spontaneously and begin to perform and amaze the audiences. Out of the whole movie that was the best scene, I personally recommend you to not watch the movie but to just watch the art gallery flash mob scene on youtube (Link below).  Just imagine a series of unexpected dance performances from above and within the interior of the V&A interrupting and entertaining groups of people at a V&A Friday Late.

Watch this scene: Art Gallery Flash Mob scene, Step Up 4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VlnaowmqJg

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 It will be interesting to receive not only my teachers feedback to our creative writing assignment but also the feedback from the V&A museum staff.

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Classes at the V&A

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For the past 5 weeks we have been having our MA Museum and Galleries classes at the Sackler Centre at the Victoria & Albert Museum with various Education staff.  We had the great opportunity to meet the museum’s artist residents. The residents apply for a 6 months placement with the museum. They work on projects and utilise their access to the museums archives and collections.  One of the residents is a costume designer. As we entered her studio we were memorised by the pieces of clothing, sketches pinned all over the walls, and unfinished costumes on mannequins scattered around the room. The other resident was a ceramic artist in the studio on level 6 the ceramics floor. Surprisingly, the resident wants to attract audiences that like to listen to rock music and skateboard users to visit his art exhibitions. These are considered new and not conventional V&A audiences, but a risk that the artist and the V&A are willing to experiment with.
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These classes at the V&A have been extremely useful and has given us an insight to potential museum career paths we may want to pursue after our masters degree. We have gained an understanding of what happens behind the scenes in the museum that a normal visitor may not have knowledge of. There is something thrilling about knowing how a museum operates behind the eyes of the visitor. Many museum visitors tend not to think about what happens behind the scenes in a museum but just focuses on what the museum wants them to see. For example, the staff is constantly designing and planning new exhibitions, organising restoration plans of the building and art collections, coming up with new methods in attracting new visitors etc. It was a surprise to learn that the ‘Hollywood Costume’ exhibition was planned and over 7 years, which means most of the exhibitions opened for the public this year were planned and made official years ahead. This suggests that it takes years of planning and organisation to keep the museum functioning and constantly offer something for their audiences. I can understand why the V&A museum is one of London’s top attractions.
It has been a great experience at the V&A and opened our eyes to potential career paths in the Museum industry. Having only experience in galleries and small art organisations to have the insight to the organisation of a large art and cultural institution has been a great opportunity. 
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Victoria and Albert Museum
Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 2RL

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