Company owner Jude Biddulph has challenged a project team headed up by one staff member to design and bring to market one product to be revealed at the show. A fixed budget of £10,000 was given and the product is now about to be shipped to the UK, ready for launch at the show in September.
“Every single person in the company – except myself and my partner Sam – was eligible to head up Project X, and all 22 of them decided on a project leader via secret ballot. Andy Mason (above left) won the vote and we can’t wait to see what he comes up with!” says Jude.
He came up the idea for Project X immediately after Spring Fair 2015, when he and Sam threw down the gauntlet to their team as soon as they got back to the office.
Jude (pictured right) explains that the ethos behind Project X is to empower and build confidence in the Suck UK staff members, saying “The unity of our company is of paramount importance. Of course it is quite a strange feeling for a company owner relinquishing control and I do have some nerves around it, but our main overriding reason for doing with this was to inspire confidence in our staff. I wanted them to see for themselves that they can achieve quite a difficult task, which is seeing an initial product concept through production to a full scale trade launch”.
The company owners are very supportive of any staff who wish to pursue creative ideas outside of Suck UK and consider their business to be more of a ‘launch pad for young talent/careers in the industry, rather than just somewhere that people work. They have also signed a lease for a shop in the OXO Tower where they can continue to embrace new, young talent in the industry as a platform to show off and sell their work.
Having exhibited at Autumn and Spring Fair for 15 years, it was also important for Jude that Project X coincided with an edition of the show where Suck UK was first launched to the British retail market. “We couldn’t afford a hotel, so slept in the car!” at this first show.
The opening of Autumn Fair on Sunday September 4 will mark the grand unveiling of Project X, where Jude and Sam will see the finished product for the first time. Avoiding a sneaky peek in the meantime is proving quite tricky.
“It’s already in the catalgoues, so I can’t take a look at that”, he says. “I’m having to avoid quite a few meetings and the mood boards have been hidden. I have no idea whatsoever what it will be or even the price point, it could cost one pound or a thousand!”
See the full Suck UK range alongside the results of Project X at Autumn Fair 2016, taking place from September 4 – 7 at The NEC, Birmingham.