Feb 13 2011

We give a damn!

about great product design, about our customers and about new design entrepreneurs.

All in all watch this space for Brand Explosion, excellent customer service and all round we give a damn attitude.

We are working creatively, informatively plus, with the customer first and foremost in our mind we are having great results.



What a great time we have been having here at Gifts of Distinction and David-Louis. We have been managing to create growth in our business by raising our game. As our testimonials on the web sites show we have focused on exemplary customer service along side improving dispatch times on all the gift items we sell online.

Mentoring new Designers on TV.

Of late David has been dispensing sound advice to new designers at the School of Jewellery for the students on the Design for Industry course as well as giving a few talks on marketing and writing the perfect press release for new creative entrepreneurs at Design Space. This work was recognised recently and David-Louis has recently featured on ITV news as a mentor, over the coming months ITV will be revisiting David and talking with some of his mentees so keep an eye on our blog for links to the interviews.

Spring Fair 2011

Under the flaskstore and tankardstore banner we recently visited the Spring Fair 2011 and picked up many new suppliers and pressed the flesh with existing customers and suppliers, I was delighted when Alice made time to visit the existing suppliers I couldn’t find, I personally did four halls in four hours, met 20 people and swapped details with 10 new people. So quick and to the point visit this year, we are really lucky the NEC is beside us here in Birmingham.

Pulse 2011

Talking about trade fairs David-Louis.com is exhibiting at Pulse in June 2011 so we will be developing our brand, raising our profile and introducing new products over the next four months in preparation for the event.

New designers and new ideas

David-Louis also hope to work with Simon Pattison the new designer on the scene here in Birmingham and will be commissioning him to produce CAD drawings and turn our concepts into reality, we can see Simon is going somewhere in the design word but before he fly’s the coop and becomes a household name we will be supporting him here in Birmingham.

Finally David-Louis will be engaging a PR Company to focus on driving sales of the David-Louis Beer Cube, we are currently negotiating with Zombie Kitty and are excited about their ideas.

All in all watch this space for Brand Explosion, excellent customer service and all round we give a damn attitude. We are working creatively, informatively and with the customer first and foremost in our mind with great results.

Sep 3 2009

A short guide to Organisations impacting on the Jewellery Quarter

This information was supplied by Andy Munroe of the Jewellery Quarter Regeration Partnership


This is not an exhaustive list but set out below are the main organisations which have influence or input into either marketing the area or business support: -


Advantage West Midlands

They are funded through central government and have a region wide brief with business support divided into ‘clusters’ including ‘interior and lifestyles’. Funding is provided to support projects which are usually subcontracted in the case of the jewellery industry to the Ceramics Forum and Birmingham City University. Contact is Mike Barton Cluster Manager on 0121 503 3360.


Assay Office

Charged with the responsibility of assaying precious metals, they also provide a number of other services such as ‘Anchor-cert’. They also have a marketing department. Assay master is Michael Allchin on 0121 236 6951.


Birmingham City Council Business Support Team

This team are responsible for the Design Space incubation scheme, the proposed Retail Support Initiative and the Business Space Initiative (the latter two due to be introduced in the early Autumn). Contact is Carol Alderson on 0121 303 4366.


Birmingham City Council Leisure, Sports and Culture

The brief includes attracting more people to Birmingham City Council Museums and the cultural offer including ArtsFest and Brilliantly Birmingham. They have a limited budget to support these initiatives. Contact for Brilliantly Birmingham is Sophia Tarr on 0121 464 9675 and for ArtsFest, Emily Bartlett on 0121 303 8489.


British Jewellers Association

This is a nationwide trade association but who have some local membership and support their members on a whole range of trade related issues. Contact is Geoff Field on 0121 236 2657.


Jewellery and Industry Innovation Centre (JIIC)

The JIIC are part of Birmingham City University, which includes Birmingham School of Jewellery, and their brief is to provide a range of services including new product development to the jewellery trade both locally and regionally. Contact is Gay Penfold on 0121 248 4578.


Jewellery Quarter Association

This is a lobbying organisation who also run bi-monthly networking breakfasts. Contact Dave Mahony (JQA Chair) on 0121 236 7070.


Jewellery Quarter Marketing Initiative

Made up of mainly retailers, restaurants and bars who pay a subscription to market and raise the profile of the Jewellery Quarter. This ranges from working with travel operators and the media to involvement in events. Contact Anna Gibson, Jewellery Quarter Marketing Initiative Manager on 0121 464 1191.


Jewellery Quarter Regeneration Partnership

Funded by Birmingham City Council the JQRP Team have a wide regeneration brief of which marketing is just one aspect. They also manage the Jewellery Quarter Information Centre. Contact Andy Munro (Operations Director) on 0121 464 1186.


Marketing Birmingham

Their brief is to market Birmingham but with the prime objective of attracting overnight visitors to bolster the economy. They are funded by Birmingham City Council, Advantage West Midlands and some private sector contributions with the aim of marketing the generic Birmingham offer.

Nov 18 2008

David-Louis – too much to mention…Frost, Todd Lynn and mixing cocktails..

How can I start this post? I’m always saying there is loads going on but its true!!! But I will keep it simple if I can..

Well, the FROST project is now confirmed and the 18 Design Space creatives will be exhibiting in St Paul’s Gallery, St Paul’s Square from the 2nd to the 6th of December and moving to ‘The David-Louis project’ at Artfull Expression on Warstone Lane, from the 8th to the 14th of December.

So in this world of virtual information and communication this is an exhibition you actually have to visit by using you two feet in order to see the wares and designs of these new makers. To compliment this exhibition at the Warstone Lane venue there are already over 150 makers work on show, so you cannot but be bowled over by the choice and style of all the makers. Just to say as well, the David-Louis Project and Artfull Expression are open all year round so you can visit us any time of the year.


Also, I have completed a commission by fashion designer Todd Lynn to produce his bespoke, limited edition hip flask on behalf of Chivas Regal and the Chivas Studio, this fine whiskey has been relaunched world wide over the last few months and the three day event in London was what I consider to be totally fabulous, I will upload some images of the event and the hip flask itself over the next week or so. Alexander McQueen also designed an exclusive bottle top for the Chivas Regal bottle which were a limited edition and handmade. I was delighted to see the Hip Flask being exhibited along side the bottle in very contemporary style and being viewed as works of art as opposed to total consumer products. Of course I need to thank Todd and all his team for entertaining me at the do and hope we can do it again. I also would say the cocktails we had using the Chivas Regal were delicious.. more please :-)

I had to run off at the end of the night, like Cinderella, to catch my train back to Birmingham as early the next morning I had a new product design meeting with our external support group the, JIIC, it looks like we will be working together on two new product concepts, one is the coolest tax disc holder in the land and t’other is Top Top secret until it launch in March ’09 I would say. All the new designs will contain what I consider to be my philosophy, function and beauty blended seamlessly together. So keep an eye, join my mailing list if you like and I will mail you the preview and launch details.



Nov 3 2008

David Louis Shortlisted for Releaseonedotzero competition

Wahoo – I did say I wouldn’t mention it again if I didn’t get anywhere so you can probably imagine my delight at being able to say the Magnetic Beer Cube Bottle Opener by David-Louis has been short-listed for the releaseonedotzero competition. You can see a video of it in action here.

On Tuesday 4th November 2008 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, (ICA), London the short listed items will be projected on the gallery walls along with the ultimate winners to a broad range of national and international museums – culture organisations plus journalists from prominent titles and journals. So fingers crossed and I await to hear the jury’s final decision.

On another note work has begun on our new extension to the retail outlet here in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, The David-Louis Project at Artfull Expression, a crew of 6 volunteers from Design Space (Thanks to Fiona Mawlam, Sarah Kelly of Saloukee, See Sun Yung and Claire Pardoe for all there help) came to help me on Saturday last and we managed to empty the new space of years of accumulated nonsense – we filled many a skip – the goal is to open an exhibition space so we can attract touring exhibitions and local designer makers etc.

The proposed opening our first exhibition is approx. 12th December 08 – entitled FROST. I hope this project works out and it does seem we have the support of the local designer maker community along with support from within our building here so we are on course….

Jul 18 2008

David-Louis Post Grad Goes Green Grazy at Design Space

Design Space West midlands – does this sound familiar?  Well probably not but this is something you should know about and it is based here in the Jewellery Quarter (JQ Web site up and coming so watch out for the link) in Birmingham,

·     19 designers,

·     1 full year,

·     Business mentoring,

·     Free workshop,

·     Free business training to NVQ level.

An excellent opportunity for emerging creatives from anywhere in the world to come to, as far as I am concerned, the creative capital. (I won’t say the creative capital of where, as it is just THE creative capital).

This week I have been mostly interviewing applicants for this excellent programme along side my other panel members, Jewellery Designer Maker Katherine Campbell Legg and Kerry O’Connor Designer and Maker of Silver and Ceramics. We met nearly 40 applicants, over 4 days and have had the hard task of understanding their goals and vision and allocating appropriate help to the most deserving – the results are not out yet but watch this space as these people are IT.

Imagine that, 19 new business people, creatives, in one hub, starting on the same day, the race is on and I wish them the best of luck. I hope to blog about them all at one time or another over the coming year.


On another note I am pleased to say I am half way through my MA in Media Enterprise and have just received notification that I have now achieved my Post Graduate Certificate – 1 year to go…..

So here is my interesting link for the day, I have seen one or two of these around Birmingham and really like it, I don’t really think this is actually carbon neutral but it is ECO Chic not ECO Geek - It does what it says on the tin – Green Graffiti.