Gold Nuggets from Ding

It's time for some more Gold Nuggets where we talk with some of our most loved makers, founders and do-ers. Digging into their stories to reveal tips, precious wisdom, and even some music to get your under-the-desk feet dancing. 

In this edition we’d like you to meet one of our favourite couples, John Nussey and Avril O’Neil from Ding, a project we helped become successfully funded on Kickstarter.

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Tell us about yourselves and Ding
Hi! We're Avril and John, and with support from The Design Council, John Lewis and our amazing backers on Kickstarter we’re launching Ding. 

Ding is a simple, beautiful, smart doorbell that’s perfect for your home and makes your life easier. When a visitor presses the button, the chime rings in your home and also connects to the Ding app on your smartphone, allowing you to talk with the person at your front door from wherever you are in the world!

What’s the one thing you wish you knew in your first year?
There's a lot I wish we'd known in our first year! Making a physical product comes with many challenges and it's hard to know what to prioritise. In all honesty we don't have many regrets, as we've learnt so much through the experience. The one thing I think we wish we'd had was a way of meeting and expanding our team quicker. We have secured an amazingly talented team, including the guys at PWG, but it took a lot of searching to find them. 

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What are your top 3 tips for how to best use funding?
Tip 1. Spend it on things you can't do yourself

Tip 2. Trust your gut and don't worry about spending it

Tip 3. Invest it in the company, rather than using it as an income, get your product out there sooner. 

What was the best bit of advice you were given and who gave you it?
Make the business work for you and don't be a slave to any other formulas or compare yourselves to others too much. 
 
What’s your ambition for Ding?
On a personal level it is to see a product we've made out there in the world, solving a real need. In the bigger picture it's to make IOT products that have a genuine benefit for people, rather than producing technology for technology's sake. 

What song motivates you in the studio and why? 
"Ring my bell" by Anita Ward. Then there’s "For Whom the Bell Tolls" by Metallica, "My doorbell" by The White Stripes...we could go on! ;) 

Gold Nuggets from Flat 15

In this edition of Gold Nuggets we caught up with one of our favourite style and decor bloggers. Gabriella Palumbo from Flat 15 tells us how she works with brands and how she developed her own to become an award-winning blogger. 

Tell us about yourself and Flat 15. 
My name is Gabby and I am an interior designer and founder of the award-winning design and lifestyle blog Flat 15. I find inspiration for my eclectic London-based design and interior projects from my travels abroad, high and emerging fashion, artwork and daily strolls around my Notting Hill neighbourhood. I make sure to document anything that celebrates original style and happy living on Flat 15.

What’s the one thing you wish you knew in your first year?
I think something to remember when starting out is to always have confidence in yourself and just own it! When I first started I was quite nervous about putting myself out there (especially on the blog). I was timid for the first several months about really going for it and in a way I regret that. I eventually found my feet, but I wish I hadn't wasted any time in feeling like "what if people don't like what I am saying" and went for it from the very start. 

Top 3 tips for brands when approaching bloggers?
Tip 1. Be Personal. The brand should really know the blogger (and blog) that they are approaching. Sometimes brands email me and it is quite obvious that it is an email template that they have sent to lots of people. This is very off putting for me. 

Tip 2. Be Upfront. In the past it has happened to me on my part and on the brand's part, where we have not been upfront about what is expected and it caused confusion. Now I like to be very clear about what is expected for the content, timeline and brand exposure across social media. 

Tip 3. Good Fit. I think it is important for brands to be aware of the aesthetic and style of the blogger and make sure that this fits well with the overall look of the brand. This will get the most exposure for the brand and also keep with the integrity of the blog. 

What was the best bit of advice you were given and who gave you it?
I think the best piece of advice I was given was actually from my husband who told me to stay consistent with my content and voice on the blog. I think when you have your own business there are highs and lows, especially when you first start out and it seems that things are moving slowly (or slower than you want them to). Staying consistent is one of the most important aspects of building a blog, brand or business in my opinion. 

What’s your ambition for Flat 15?
I would love to eventually design some of my own products and sell them. I usually have a very specific idea of decor objects that I love so it would be great to create some of these for like minded people. 

What song motivates you in the studio and why? 
I tend to work best when I am listening to chilled music as I can still concentrate on work but feel upbeat at the office. I would say that Drake is always a go to for me during the day.

How to work creatively remotely

You’ll find Paved With Gold mostly in London and Glasgow but we’ve worked with clients from all over the world; from Hong Kong to Berlin to New York. Our designer Kim worked with us whilst cycling across Korea, Japan and then the USA, and Chara our Community Manager works from sunny Barcelona. 

We get asked a lot about how we make working remotely work for us. The most important thing to get right is making sure each team member feels in charge of their work. There’s no time for micromanaging when there’s a small team. We all support each other to make sure it doesn’t ever get too much, and make sure our deadlines work for each individual as well as the makers we collaborate with.

Anyway, here are a few things we do to make working remotely work at Paved With Gold. 

The Tool Kit

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To keep in touch, like most we’ll catch up with video calls on Skype, work collaboratively in Google Docs, and share important thoughts, links and Gifs on Slack.

A Weekly Roundup

When there are lots of projects on we like to send around a weekly roundup of what everyone has been working on. This helps everyone feel involved and gives an opportunity for anyone to chime in with suggestions and tips from their experiences.

Explore Together

Each year we take time out to get the team together. We take this opportunity to look back on the year that has passed and look forward to the year ahead. It’s an opportunity for us to hang out together for a few days and discuss how we work and talk through ways to make things better. 

Recently we all visited Kaye up in Glasgow and met a whole bunch of super interesting people in and around South Block. 

We’re keen on visiting more places this year. So if you like what we do and you’re from an interesting hub or community please get in touch. We’d love to come by!

Gold Nuggets From Make Works

Here’s another edition of Gold Nuggets where we talk with some of our most loved makers, founders and doers. Digging into their stories to reveal tips, precious wisdom, and even some music to get your under-the-desk feet dancing. 

We caught up with the inimitable Fi Duffy-Scott founder of Make Works, factory finders who support makers to make local. We recently worked with Make Works to launch their Patreon campaign.

Image Credit: Peter McNally

Image Credit: Peter McNally

What’s the one thing you wish you knew in your first year?
That it was OK to take a day off! Over the first two years of Make Works I only had a couple of days when I wasn't thinking about the project, and wound up totally exhausted. Now I'm pretty strict about taking myself home in the evening and actually having holidays.

What are your top 3 tips for experimenting with alternative models to support Make Works?
Make Works has always been looking for sustainable ways to make the work happen. Quite early on we realised that public funding wasn't going to be very sustainable in the long term; and equally the typical start-up trajectory of growth and investment didn't fit very well with being a non-profit. So, we needed to find alternative models to support the project.

From what we have learnt so far though here are 3 tips:

Tip 1. Seek out like-minded people. From reading work by Aaron Swartz to meeting people at the Small is Beautiful conference or reaching out to other Patreon creators - have all helped to reassure me that it is not completely crazy to be actively looking for alternative models.

Tip 2. Give yourself time to experiment. New ways of doing things won't always work first time, and can take a lot of chipping away at to make work. I think being comfortable with things not being a 'quick fix' is important if you want to make anything really worthwhile for the world.

Tip 3. Make things for your audience. Starting a Patreon has meant that we've really got a better understanding of what sort of people really find Make Works useful and want to see it continue - it's made me super appreciative of that support and helps keep perspective of who we are making the project for.

What was the best bit of advice you were given and who gave you it?
"Find the right person" -  I remember I was speaking to Janine Matheson from Creative Edinburgh early on about the difficulty I was having getting funders to back the project. She told me that I just needed the right person to hear about it, and soon I had much better success - purely from making sure I was seeking out people who would 'get' it.

What’s your ambition for Make Works?
I'd love to see people setting up their own Make Works all over the world! The ambition at the moment is to work out how to make that work well for people who want to start those other regions, and finding a sustainable, open business model to make that possible in the long term.

What song motivates you in the studio and why?
Pussy Riot - Straight Outta Vagina absolutely got me through 2016! It came out at a time when everything seemed really dark in the world, and still makes me feel super hopeful and energised.

Gold Nuggets from Desk Beers

We’re excited to share the first of a series of blogs called Gold Nuggets where we talk with some of our most loved makers, founders and do-ers. Digging into their stories to reveal top tips, precious wisdom, and even some music to get your under-the-desk feet dancing. 

Recently we caught up with Adam Rogers from DeskBeers, a handy service that delivers craft and small-batch drinks to offices all over the UK.  

Tell us about yourself and DeskBeers.
Hi! I’m Adam. As captain of the good ship DeskBeers, I predominantly make tea. Gallons of the stuff. We can't function without it. If we didn't have tea, we'd never manage to get the craft beers, fine wines, ciders and soft drinks from our suppliers to our customers across the country. The whole system runs on tea.

What’s the one thing you wish you knew in your first year
Apart from the volume of tea required to run a successful operation, it's silly stuff like not only talking to customers but understanding how to interpret what they say. Customer feedback is the best file for developing a product (after tea), but what customers say and what customers do can be quite different. "Talk to customers" is pretty common advice, but thinking about what to do with what you discover is a bit harder.

What are your top 3 tips for finding the best partners to work with?
Tip 1. Good suppliers are as passionate about customer service as we are. If you get palmed off on the phone or wait for ages to get a reply to your email. It's not a good sign!

Tip 2. Don't (always) believe the hype. It seems like these days all you need to start a craft brewery is a brewer and a designer. More than a few new breweries only have one of those things and it ain't the brewer.

Tip 3. Ask for what you want. Good suppliers are in business too. Ask for a discount, expedited delivery, marketing swag, or whatever else you need. It's OK to make them say "no". But always be polite and respectful.

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What was the best bit of advice you were given and who gave you it?
My dad used to say "if you're trying too hard you're doing it wrong". He probably still does say that, I just haven't spoken to him in a while. It's very rare that we're actually doing anything truly groundbreaking, and often when we're stuck thinking about the problem a different way can lead to an elegant, simple solution.
 
What’s your ambition for DeskBeers?
To be the default choice for supplying drinks at the office, and in doing so support and promote independent producers of beers, wines, ciders and soft drinks.

What song motivates you in the office and why? 
Slipknot, Wait & Bleed. The warehouse can get pretty noisy and sometimes you need to whack on the headphones, get the double kick-drum going and crank out some code.

If you'd like to try out DeskBeers use the promo code PWG20 to get 20% off your first regular delivery order. Wahey to drinks with the team!

WE’RE KICKSTARTER EXPERTS!

Paved With Gold are excited and honoured to be founding members of Kickstarter Experts. We’re so proud that Kickstarter loves what we do and the projects we work with. To celebrate we wanted to share some of the Kickstarter projects our founders Richard and Kaye helped get funded, and the amazing things those projects went on to do.

Foldable.Me (Funded 2012)

Foldable.Me allowed you to design a personalised buddy online. Your Foldable would then arrive on your doorstep pre-cut and scored, ready for you to put together. They went on to take over the Kickstarter staff page for April Fools, and thousands were even sent to support Fair Trade in London’s Parliament Square!

Projecteo (Funded 2012)

Our favourite tiny little Instagram projector was a Kickstarter success being the first European company to reach its Kickstarter goal within 24 hours! It’s popularity led to collaborations with fashion brands like colette and Opening Ceremony, and because of its beautiful design was proudly put on shelves at the MoMA design store.

Hackaball (Funded in 2015)

The connected (IoT) ball raised over $240,000 which put it in the top 1% of most successful Kickstarters in terms of performance. Hackaball really resonated going on to be awarded ‘Best in Book‘ by Creative Review and becoming one of TIME’s best inventions in 2015. We’re delighted to see Hackaballs landing all over the world and inspiring a new generation of makers (and their parents!).

Technology Will Save Us - Mover Kit (Funded in 2016)

Mover Kit is the first wearable that kids make and code themselves. Unlocking the mysteries of new technologies. After reaching their goal in just 48 hours, and being featured in every possible publication we could find, Mover Kit, and the entire Tech Will Save Us range, has now taken over an entire section of the Design Museum in Kensington.

BLEEPBLEEPS - SAMMY SCREAMER & SUZY SNOOZE (FUNDED IN 2014 & 2016)

Sammy Screamers have already been sent all over the world, and joined collections at MoMA and the colette store in Paris. Their second product, Suzy Snooze was recently successfully funded and is going to ship very soon. We’re excited to be working with BleepBleeps again to help launch their third product early next year, adding to their collection of cute devices that make parenting easier.

Ding (Funded in 2016)

One to watch out for, the Ding Smart Doorbell which Fast Co simply said “gets the Internet of Things right”. Stuff magazine included Ding to make John’s eyebrows dance like never before.

We hope you enjoyed our little trip down memory lane. A huge thanks to Kickstarter and everyone we’ve worked with to help bring these amazing projects to life! We’re looking forward to launching and growing more ideas!

Maker Christmas Markets

It seems the season is truly upon us!  Shopping small, means you get unique gifts and support makers all at the same time. 

This weekend is jam-packed with fantastic maker markets and workshops. We’ll be running around trying to go to every damn one.

In Glasgow there are three amazing events opening this week, filled to the brim with our favourite makers. Kicking off tomorrow night at South Block with Unit 60, then over for some Friday fun at Grey Wolf Studios, then a two day extravaganza with Customs & Excise at SWG3. 

In London there's a veritable feast of ways for you to shop small this Christmas, from Urban Makers East this weekend, to Crafty Fox Market in Peckham and for something extra special check out the Wallpaper Snowflake Pavilion at Kings Cross from Monday. 

If you’re looking for some entertainment and a more personalised gift, why don’t you check out these workshops too! 

And if you just can’t be bothered to get out of your pyjamas, our lovely Carrie’s gift shop is always open.

When you’ve filled all the space under the tree pop down to The Alternative Christmas Carol Concert for a not-so-traditional carol service. Expect plenty of fun and singing along with the all-women Lips choir.

Better design for the smart home: No more routers please!

The Drum asked us to write about the growing desire for better design in the smart home. Read on to learn about some of the smart home projects we've worked on and love. 

Look at your router – it looks like a router, right? Now look at your doorbell – it probably looks like a router or, worse, an air freshener.

A lot of ‘smart’ products have focused first and foremost on cramming in all the latest technology, with design and how people interact with them an afterthought at best.

But some of the startups we’ve been working with at Paved With Gold are proving that there is demand out there for better design and are now making technology for the home that no longer needs to be hidden away.

Ding

Avril O'Neil and John Nussey of Onn Studio came up with the concept for the Ding Smart Doorbell after their own doorbell broke. Unable to find a suitable replacement they decided to make their own and their idea has resonated with the Design Council and John Lewis, who have supported the project, and also with Kickstarter backers who have helped them double their initial funding goals.

Ding works like any other doorbell by ringing a chime inside your home, but what makes it better is that it also allows you to talk to the the person at your door using your smartphone, so you’ll never miss important visitors or deliveries.

And whereas others have focused more on video surveillance and security, Ding keeps things simple being designed as a doorbell first. It feels closer to a traditional doorbell rather than a surveillance system with additional features that have been driven by the latest technology. Plus, with home styling in mind, Ding doesn’t look out of place inside or out, coming in various colours to suit colour schemes and tastes.

Suzy Snooze

The second launch from BleepBleeps is Suzy Snooze, part of a series of connected devices that aim to make parenting easier. Its primary objective is to get a good night’s sleep for all the family. A baby monitor, night light and sleep trainer all in one, it helps children sleep and know when to get up.

Founder of BleepBleeps Tom Evans found that a lot of connected devices aimed at parents either looked very medical and science-y, or a bit too toy-like. The family of devices from BleepBleeps have been made to be simple and fun while using a design language that is attractive to both children and parents. Children enjoy the playful nature of the devices, each of which has a character like the Tony Tempa thermometer, whereas parents like using the devices as they’re simple, while also appreciating the aesthetic which has been likened to collectible vinyl toys.

Joto

Joto is a smart display that connects a pen to the internet. In the home we display art or write messages and share lists. Joto brings these to life through drawing and writing in real-time. A simpler solution may well be to use a whiteboard, but sometimes you just want things to be more fun than that, don’t you? Imagine the kids getting excited over something as mundane as adding to the shopping list.

Recently nominated for Design of the Year by the Design Museum, Joto will be available for pre-order in the new year.

The smart home is certainly getting smarter, and hopefully we’ll be able to make more space for it on our shelves and walls rather than hiding it all under the sofa. You may now stop looking at your router.

DING DING DING! 222% FUNDED!

The Ding Smart Doorbell has been successfully funded on Kickstarter. We’re proud to be part of making the doorbell even better by helping Ding raise over $111,000. 

We had such great feedback from the press, bloggers and influencers we got in touch with. Here are some of our favourites!

“Ding gets the internet of things right“ Mark Wilson, Fast Co. Design

“Designers are putting the home back into home tech” Elly Parsons, Wallpaper

“The British designers have maintained a purity of purpose” Fraser Macdonald, Stuff

“I need this in my life with all the parcels that I have delivered!” Sophie Robinson, BBC’s The Great Interior Design Challenge

And here’s the amazing Avril and John talking about their story with Campaign!

You can see all the key press in our handy coverage book

Keeping it Weird: Lazy Oaf's 15th Anniversary Exhibition

For 15 colourful years, London-based fashion brand Lazy Oaf has been keeping it weird with their bold, distinctive designs. Smashing cartoon-style illustration against witty down-beat captions and weird, wonky youthful nostalgia they've been keeping smiles on our faces a long, long time.

What better way to mark such a momentous anniversary, than to bring iconic Lazy Oaf icons to life as giant sculptures in their very own art exhibition! We took a trip to Lazy Land. And we loved it.  

Housed in Protein Studios, Shoreditch, Lazy Land visitors entered the exhibition via the mouth of a giant, pink, inflatable head (of course!). A whole gang of super-sized, 3D Lazy Oaf characters delighted crowds of fans and curious passersby. From bonkers cats constructed from tiles and poodles with pink tennis ball hairdos, nude blockheads and 'floating' boggly eyes, these residents of Lazy Land, as imagined and designed by Lazy Oaf founder Gemma Sheil, gave such fun insights into the playful thinking behind the brand. And, as hoards of excitable camera phone wielding visitors will testify, Lazy Land was definitely up there with the most Instagrammable events of the year! 

And to think, Lazy Oaf was born out of a collection of fun, screenprinted t-shirt designs and a stall at Spitalfields Market. Gemma Shiel, you are an inspiration! Here's to plenty more years of Lazy Oaf. Keep it weird.