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Little tentative steps in freelance print designing

Discussion in 'General Forum' started by Red, Nov 10, 2006.

  1. Red

    Red New Member

    HI :)

    I'm new to this site, and was hoping someone could give me some advice on how to get started on becoming a freelance print/textile designer.

    I already do this full time, but really want to work more from home freelance, maybe thru an agency, but have no idea how to get started!:confused:

    This probably sounds a bit lame, but the creativity for design and an eye for colour and trends I have coupled with knowledge of CAD work, but what I don't have is contacts. In my current position I design printed luggage, handbags, but what I would like is to expand my printed to other areas like wrapping paper, cards, fashion fabric, furnishings even, but don't have any contacts in this area and I am a little wary or approaching my current industry contacts for fear they will tell my current employers or approaching an Agency at 'random' for fear or being 'taken for a ride' (which I'm sure happens!)

    If anyones got any advice, websites, agencies for me to look at/see (west yorkshire based if I have to visit them) that would be great. Its just too big a step to give up a fairly well paid job to set myself up at home to have no income or contacts to begin with, you know?

    Thank you in advance for all your help :D :D
  2. MickeyFinn

    MickeyFinn Administrator

    Hiya Red,

    You are probably in the best place to make the contacts you need to fulfill your ambition of going it alone. Take the time to make relationships with the people who supply you work and take note of how the company you work for gets it work in.

    Certainly seems like you have a lot of ideas about areas where you could work and this really good as a diverse range of potential work will be good.

    Start slowly - make some calls and contact people asking for freelance work. Keep hourly rate down and do this work in the evenings and weekends to start with. Noce bit of pocket money plus you will be making those important relationships that may give you a good supply of work plus you have not burnt your bridges by leaving full time work.

    If you find work really picks up then make the jump and don't look back!

    Softly softly is my suggestion...
  3. Rizzo

    Rizzo New Member

    This is not my area of design, had a quick butchers online and one site lists the following types of companies as possible takers for textile designer. Reckon you should concentrate on cultivating contacts at the following sorts of companies locally first and then work outwards (geographically and product related):

    manufacturing and processing companies that produce clothing, soft furnishings and other textiles-based products;
    large fashion and clothing retailers;
    design studios and consultancies;
    small specialist design companies;
    interior design/decoration services.

    Add greetings cards makers to that and that's a fair few. Make sure you've got a good online presence and portfolio before you find out who's in charge of buying new designs and then try and get your designs in front of them with a clear reference to your website for more info. If you can do it imaginatively then so much the better. You may take months cultivating contacts before you get in front of anyone so start now and build up as Mickey says before you leave the security of your full time job. Don't ever give up though, keep asking those people when they're reviewing current suppliers, what they look for.. There are some articles on Freelance UK on how to tackle telesales and marketing which are worth a look.

    Good luck!
  4. Red

    Red New Member

    Thanks Mickeyfinn & Rizzo

    Your advice was helpful! :)

    Yes, the obvious starting place is to get an up-to-date porfolio together and then research local business which would take on freelance design work. I guess this is/was obvious to most, but I have no friends who are freelancer designers and have never had to deal with them directly myself so have no-one 'in the business' to ask for advise, without raising suspicion if you know what I mean.
    My next question is: Website? :eek: I guess this is obvious too, it would make me much more professional and be taken much more seriously, but doesn't this cost quite a bit to set up? Anyone know the cost implications or is it something I could set up reasonably easily (at weekends, following instructions from a book for example).

    Any advise on Agents? Has anyone found them useful or found it is better to go it alone and does anyone know of any in my area of expertise that they could recommend rather than me taking pot luck (risky) and picking one out of a directory?

    Last edited: Nov 14, 2006
  5. journoman

    journoman New Member

    See this thread:

  6. Red

    Red New Member

    Thanks journoman

    Some useful advice here too, thanks.:)

    My only other outstanding query now is: Agencies.

    'Has anyone found them useful or found it is better to go it alone and does anyone know of any in my area of expertise that they could recommend rather than me taking pot luck (risky) and picking one out of a directory?'

    I want to look at both options (Agencies & Getting business directly) so I can choose which one is right for me and my situation.

    Thank for all your help.
  7. Lupita

    Lupita Member

    Red, there's nothing like going to the top for advice - why don't you contact Lucienne Day? - read her name on the FUK news-page, and found a bit more info here: Classic Textiles

    I'd say a friendly e-mail just asking a few basics would set you straight.

    On the agencies query, I've no personal experience I'm afraid. But I've noticed Xchangeteam and ProfilesCreative seem to be popular.

    HTH :)
  8. Red

    Red New Member

    Thank you Lupita!

    Thanks to all those that have given me advise :)

    The Agency websites looked good, so when I have got my up to date portfolio together (and website researched and up and running) I will contact them then.
    Even though I want to deal with clients directly I feel my safest direction would be agencies first to see how things go, get to know clients I've done work for, understand what to charge for my work/time (can anyone can give me an idea or hourly/daily rate for freelances?) , etc, learn the ropes then go out on my own and hopefully give up my current job to go full-time freelance.

    I will keep you all posted on my progress! Thank you :) :)
  9. Red

    Red New Member

    Agencies in NY


    I've just found out I'm going to NY early next year as part of a competitor/trend trip and wondered if anyone knew or could recommend an NY Agency who takes on Freelance Print/design designer?
    I could possibly squeeze in an interview with 1 or 2 while I'm there and show them my portfolio.

    Its a long shot, but thought it was worth asking! :)

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