In our latest Member Focus we want to share a fascinating insight into UK designer, Sandra Vick. Sandra’s mission to make art more accessible began in 2016 and her distinctive designs continue to bring artwork inspired by a love of nature into the homes of many. All the inside stories of our amazingly diverse membership all have one common theme – protecting their intellectual property to achieve growth and putting IP at the heart of their business strategy. Sandra Vick is no exception!
When and why did you first start to creating your products/designs?
I first started to decorate products using my designs in 2016 when my friends were asking for my distinctive black and white bird paintings on things for their houses. I realised that lots of people like art but can’t afford it. I also wanted to bring my love for nature and our local birds to the attention of more people. So, I thought I’d produce things that had my art on them but didn’t cost so much. I started with a few mugs, and it grew from there. Now I have lots of designs and products including various styles of mugs, wash bags, tableware, and tea towels.
Did you have any knowledge of intellectual property when you started your business?
No, not really. I signed up to an accelerator programme and found out it was an issue then. But the lawyer there was showing me an expensive copyright system that was way out of my budget at that stage. I thought as an artist I had automatic copyright, but hadn’t appreciated that I might need to defend that copyright.
Which ACID membership services have you used and how have you benefited from being a member?
I won the first year of my membership at the British Craft Trade Fair. I had looked at membership many times before but hadn’t taken the time in the first couple of years of business to really look and see what it was about. I have now listed my products on the marketplace and uploaded my designs in the IP Databank. I hope I never have to use it, but it’s good to know ACID has my back if I need it.
Have you brought anything to the marketplace recently that you would like to share?
I’ve not added anything to the marketplace very recently, but I’m in the middle of doing a Kickstarter to bring some notebooks to market and will put them on the marketplace once they are in stock. If you’d like to support my Crowdfunder here’s the link. My most recent products on the ACID marketplace are my ‘mugs2go’ which are china travel mugs with my black and white bird designs on them.
What is the best aspect of ACID membership for your business?
Being able to lodge my designs somewhere as evidence that they are my designs, and when they started being my designs. It’s also a great way to keep up to date with issues to do with IP.
What advice would you offer to a new designer?
Join ACID to keep records of your designs – you never know if someone is going to try to copy you and consider registering your designs with the IPO.
ACID values the support of its members to enable it to campaign for design law reform. Do you have any messages for government on IP issues?
Protecting the small makers and designers in the UK is really important. They are the innovators and big companies should collaborate with them not steal from them. It would be great to see the government encourage big companies to work with smaller makers more and to licence designs and ensure that creative people are recognised and valued more.
Winner of the ACID Post Newcomer award at BCTF 2019