We met Jason Brett from 'Curated by Dapper & Suave' for a chat. Curated by Dapper & Suave is the brainchild of Jason Brett and Rob Chadband, both with successful backgrounds in the retail industry. They set up their company, Dapper & Suave, in 2015, creating their range of stylish bow ties, cravats, pocket squares and other accessories.
Pop-up department store
Jason and Rob were selling their products at different events but wanted to create a marketplace where creative makers could showcase their work in a 'pop-up department store' environment.
Curated by Dapper & Suave has flourished over the past five years, and they now hold regular events at Dorking Halls as well as at other venues across Surrey.
As the name suggests, the events are 'curated'. At their Dorking Halls events, 50 makers will set up their stands and showcase their products. Jason said, 'There must be a wide range of products and styles on display; no one wants to arrive in the hall and see ten silver jewellery makers in a row, especially if they're not interested in jewellery!'
Makers apply to have a stand, but Jason will also approach those whose work he thinks will complement the events. The space is then mapped out to ensure the placement of each maker in the hall will show them off and give the customer a positive experience as they walk around.
Meet the maker
Not every maker is a skilled salesperson, and this is where Jason can support them using his retail experience; he said, 'It's important that makers arrive at the event ready to engage with the people coming through the door. No one wants to see someone behind their stand chatting on their phone and ignoring them, they've come to meet the maker. It's also crucial to look at what you make and how it's branded, packaged and displayed. An inviting stand draws people in; at that point, you can start to chat and tell them more about what it is you make and the processes you use. Often people don't realise the hours and expertise involved in handmade products, and sharing your story helps others appreciate and value the work more.'
Jason has a tremendous passion for the work he and Rob do, engaging regularly with social media and offering supportive networking events to bring makers together, share their ideas, and get feedback from one another. 'The communication we have with our makers is incredibly important, and that's why I think they use the word 'family' to describe us and the other makers who understand what it is like to create work themselves.'
By giving makers a platform to share their work and offer advice and opportunities to develop their practice, Curated by Dapper & Suave has helped the individuals they work with become financially sustainable and build their creative businesses.
Find out more by visiting the Dapper & Suave website