Bucks Graduate and award-winning designer Sophie returned to visit current students to share her advice for landing that all important first post-university job, and to inform them about the latest incarnation of prize that helped launch her career. And now we have a second reason to thank Sophie as she has kindly provided the following post about her career journey..
Name: Sophie Carr
Job Title: Hand & Lock Prize Co-ordinator
Studied: BA (Hons) Textiles & Surface Design, specialising in Knit
Please tell us about Hand & Lock and your current role.
I work for the prestigious Hand & Lock in Central London. Hand & Lock are a 249 year old embroidery atelier to European fashion houses, the British Military and the Royal Family.
[See the video below for more details]
As Prize Co-ordinator, the main focus of my role is to co-ordinate all aspects of the Prize for Embroidery and the upcoming events in store for the 250th Anniversary of Hand & Lock in 2017. The Prize for Embroidery is an annual competition that encourages the use of hand embroidery among the next generation of designers and has become the world’s premier embroidery competition.
I’m also currently organising some very exciting worldwide events for our 250th anniversary in 2017; we will be touring with our collections and archive, and holding events in Chicago, London and Sydney.
What is involved in your day-to-day work?
Day-to-day my work involves managing all aspects of the competition; from compiling the entrant’s work, to visiting universities around the UK to present to their students, connecting with and recruiting industry mentors, liaising with sponsors, assisting on photoshoots and planning the annual live judging and prize giving final that is held at the historic Bishopsgate Institute in London.
Alongside this, I’m currently organising the celebratory events for 2017, this includes liaising with various venues and suppliers in Sydney and Chicago with overseas business trips to finalise details.
How has your qualification from Bucks helped your career?
Studying textiles at Bucks gave me the invaluable skills I needed to attain a career in the creative industry. My tutors had fantastic contacts in the industry and introduced me to the Hand & Lock’s Prize for Embroidery and encouraged me to enter the competition in my final year of study.
I went on to win first place in the competition and from there gained a work placement at Hand & Lock , this eventually lead to securing employment with the company.
While studying at Bucks I also worked part time for the university in the Marketing Department. I co-ordinated the Student Ambassadors and often ran and presented ‘University Taster Days’ for groups of school children from the local area. This gave me experience and the confidence needed to present to groups, a skill which I use in my current role when presenting to universities about Hand & Lock.
What advice would you give to a student who is about to graduate into your role/industry?
Make the most of the opportunities given to you at Bucks; when your work is exhibited at New Designers, Pitti Filati and Premiere Vision make sure you have business cards at the ready because there are so many industry contacts you will meet, you need to be bold and make yourself known.
When meeting an industry contact, even a brief introduction, always follow up with an email, make sure you keep in touch so when they are next recruiting you will hopefully be the name they think of.
What advice would you pass on to your first year self?
Spend more time on research and sketchbook work – it’s invaluable and is the groundwork you need to support your designs!
Please tell us anything else about you, your time at Bucks, your industry or role that will be of interest.
I was named one of the Top Ten Knitwear Graduates of 2011 by WGSN.
I won 1st place in the Hand & Lock Prize for Embroidery 2011 and was flown out to New York to collect my prize. I spent a week in the city, met some great contacts and had probably one of the best experiences of my life.
A message from Bucks New University Alumni Service:
Alumni please follow Sophie’s generous example and compete a testimonial of your own, or visit our campus to share the secrets of your success in person.