Shake the Dust was conceived following my first-hand experience of living and working with those trapped in the poverty cycle in developing countries in addition to the struggles faced by emerging UK creatives in an oversaturated industry. As a creative graduate myself, I understand how hard is it to bridge a gap between independent creative practice and making a sustainable living.
A little over a year ago I returned back to the UK from 2 and a half years living in the Kingdom of Swaziland (Southern Africa). My time spent in the Kingdom was the starting point of an idea to build a business that linked my experiences and the people I worked with there to new and adventurous opportunities in the UK. Here’s how it all began…
Director of Shake the Dust
THE THORNE FAMILY
I was introduced to the Thornes by the wonderful Ross Power. I was invited to work as a product designer for Philippa Thorne at Gone Rural in the stunning Malkerns valley. Gone Rural is the most incredible social business model. Founded by the late Jenny Thorne, its original intention was to help rural women make a steady income by working from home through the traditional handcraft technique of weaving mountain grasses into baskets and placemats. Since those humble beginnings, and under Philippa’s visionary direction it has snowballed into arguably one of the most successful Fair Trade craft businesses in the country.
HOUSE ON FIRE
Around about 6 months into my time at Gone Rural, Jiggs & Sholto Thorne, the Directors of House on Fire asked me to come and help them out at the annual Bushfire festival. So that’s how they poached me and I coordinated 3 festivals during my time in Swaziland. There’s too much to say about HOF but here’s a little video about the School’s Festival I started with Jiggs, probably my proudest achievement from that time- I have a really weird accent at this point, which has thankfully now returned to normal.
It was during this period that I had the opportunity to meet a huge range of Artists, Designers, Fair Trade businesses and other contacts across Southern Africa. This network has been key to starting Shake the Dust as there is really substitute for personal contacts and a real-life experience of a place.
THE BEGINNING OF A BRAND
I returned to the UK in late 2011, itching to start my own projects and be creative again. It took me a while to decide how that should manifest but, with the support of the Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme I have now launched the business! The brand is founded on the belief that good design, ethical production and profitability are not mutually exclusive. In this respect, Shake the Dust promotes development and sustainability for both designers, producers and the industry and offers consumers a unique blend of good design with a conscience.
The bigger vision is to have a physical space, a creative hub to drive collaborative projects working with multiple genres within the Arts and Culture spectrum. Soon we will be launching an emerging designers programme- more info to come soon!
The website has been painstakingly built by my own fair hands (thanks to John Watson for troubleshooting!) but many wonderful people have helped to create the 1st beautiful collection and accompanying photoshoot. Particular thanks go to Andy Day (Kiell.com) for the attention to detail and stunning photography, Hannah Hughes for her creative direction on the shoot (and her AMAZING coat collection!!) and Emily Moss our model. Thanks also to Chrissie for letting us shoot interiors in her house and to John Lewis of Hungerford, our local furniture maker who kindly lent us that lovely hand-made chair!
Shake the Dust will be VERY VERY busy during December with the following events:
– East London Design Show, Shoreditch Town Hall
6th – 9th December
– PopUp Britain shop for Christmas, 2 Kew Road, Richmond
MORE INFO TO COME!!