We’re hiring! Are you good at organising rugs?

We set up node last year so that we can help a fair trade project/school set up a really nice social enterprise. so far its been going pretty good. Amongst other things we are being stocked by the design museum but there have been other very exciting opportunities that we have not been able to fully realize yet.

There are just 2 of us. Akshay is in Kathmandu and I’m really busy on other projects and to be honest ive no idea how to best do a lot of this stuff. I am offered a lot of opportunities with the rugs but i dont have much business sense, it would be great to have someone on board with a good vision and a more structured approach for growth.

We think we have the potential to scale up. We want to be able to pay ourselves (all voluntary so far) and scale it up to something thats helping lots more people out. we have been offered some VERY VERY exciting exhibitions with some VERY VERY exciting people, and i want to give this project the attention it deserves.

So thats why we are looking for someone to help. If you can make it work and you can make this pay ..you have a job!

for more info on the job see the detailed  description below. you can also see the links below:







Are you good at organising stuff? Do you have an interest in design, fair trade and RUGS! If so please drop us an email (address below)



Job title:  Creative project & event manager



  • to co-ordinate an international fair trade design exhibition project
  • to work with designers and Nepal-based manufacturer
  • to promote and market project to museums and retailers in UK and abroad.
Responsible to: The owner
Working with: Designers, illustrators, museums, retailers, manufacturer in Nepal
Salary: Self-employed freelancer
Based: preferably in UK (client is based in London)
Terms: in first instance till December 2012, with potential to extend
Our client is a fairly well known illustrator and animator who has been working in Nepal with a fair trade textile manufacturer.  This manufacturer is a social enterprise that has got great capacity to create one off or small batch produced tufted rugs.
Exciting conversations have been held with a museum and retailer in London who are interested to present a collection designed by up to 20 designers and illustrators later this year during London Design Festival.


Specific responsibilities:


Project management
  • To create a project plan and budget, set up meetings, liaise with our client, keep project on track both financially and in time.
Design management
  • Create a collection of 20 different contemporary fair trade uniquely designed rugs.
  • You will be the main contact between the 20 designers and the manufacturer in Nepal to create, manufacture and deliver rugs to the UK in time.  Responsible for all correspondence, skype conversations, emails etc.
  • To write a design brief for up to 20 designers and illustrators, contact potential designers and liaise with designers, creation of contracts and royalty agreements with designers, all liaison with designers.  There will be a run of up to 50 rugs per design.
  • You will be responsible to create the rug exhibition in London in September with major museum and potential major retailer.
  • (Most of designers and illustrators are already known to my client, so little promotion required to get other designers involved)
  • To promote exhibition in London to press, potential retailers, with a view to tour exhibition or show in our outside of UK.
  • Find additional retail and exhibition opportunities.
  • Create online sales through own website or working with partners.
Commercial management
  • You will be responsible for the commercial success of this project, with the main aim to financially support the trade fair manufacturer in Nepal through regular trading.  This is a self-funded project, so no government funding is involved, although some sponsorship opportunities might be possible.
  • You will need to be able to budget and price the collection appropriately, and promote to retailers to show and sell the rugs
  • There is the potential to work here as an agent on a longer term project basis.
  • We are looking for a candidate with an entrepreneurial, ‘can do’ attitude, who makes things happen.
  • You have got excellent communication and negotiation skills, ideally working with designers, manufacturers and retailers. The manufacturer in Nepal has been educated at Harvard in US and has very good English.
  • You probably have got a very strong marketing, retail and or design management background, potentially working as an agent.  It would be good if you have got experience in costing, pricing and royalty management.
  • You must be very interested in fair trade.
You will work as a freelance, self employed agent.  You can work from anywhere, but our client is based in London, and some meetings in London will probably be required.  There might be some travel to Nepal involved (not necessarily).  We expect this project to be commercially very viable, but it is up to you to generate income and your fees.
Project timings
April    Start project, planning, budgeting, write brief, develop contracts, contact designers,    liaison with museum
May     Design to start
June    Manufacturing to start
July     Start promotion
Sept     Rugs delivered in UK
Nov     Exhibition in London
Follow up with other retailers
To apply
Send us your CV and a letter (in total no more than 4 sides of A4, ideally saved as a PDF) detailing why you are the best candidate for this position.  Please include an up to date email address and phone/mobile number.
We will inform you by e-mail if you have been unsuccessful, and we contact you by phone to arrange for an interview in London on Monday 30 April.  We will be able to do skype or phone interviews for candidates outside of London or the UK.
Deadline:        Wednesday 25 April at 6pm
Email to:         info@thedesigntrust.co.uk please include ‘job application’ in the subject line.  You can also use this email if you have any questions about this position.



photo by carolin weinkopf. bear rug by nadia shireen
By | 2017-09-02T02:16:48+00:00 April 16th, 2012|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Nationale Voorleesdagen


Im in shock at all the events in Holland! The dutch version of A Bit Lost, ‘Mama Kwijt’ won the Dutch Picture Book of the Year 2012 and as part of the Voorleesdagen (read aloud week) there are many amazing events across the country. It was awarded by CPNB, a read-for-fun/literacy non-profit equivalent to Booktrust or CBI. Each year they choose a book for its read-aloud qualities and on the 18th Jan they celebrated by hosting ‘reading breakfasts’ (complete with pancakes!) in libraries and schools across the country. Its the 9th year of this award you can read more about it here Im so proud of the book’s success in holland as im a huge fan of dutch design and dutch picture books



Many celebrities were pictured taking part for the press including Princess Laurentien from the Dutch royal family and prime minister Mark Rutte (!) In the last photo there is even a real owl at the school!!!!


There was even a reading at Schipol Airport Library


There are puppet performances too. The second to last performance was by Ton Meijer in the oba library (the little girl in the picture is pretending she is a sleepy owl about to fall) and the last was by Pagetti jeungdtheatre

It was interesting to see how the story was adapted to performances and to see how each adapts it differently. One of the performances is of Oma Kwijt (I lost my granny!)


theres even a Mama Kwijt song…(!!!)


I did some press events too, on thursday 19th I opened the amsterdam stock market!!!!!! i had drawn ‘99%’ on my t-shirt in black marker and unzipped my hoodie right before i gonged (!) 🙂




At the moment Mama Kwijt is the best selling BOOK in the Netherlands #1 in the book chart (!!!) and also no.12 as there are 2 versions. The bookshops also got involved and there are amazing shop window displays as well as little hand-puppets and bags. 60,000 finger puppets were made by CPNB to be given away free with the books, we really tried to have the finger puppets made fair trade (thank you CPNB) but the cost and timescale sadly could not work out. Then 7 bookshops emailed me and clubbed together to make an order of the fair trade owls too..! Thank you to all the bookshops who supported this!! You can see some of them on sale below…




This last few days in holland has been INCREDIBLE! im in total shock. To have my book at the centre of such wonderful events promoting literacy and reading for fun in public access libraries is all i could have ever wished for, i cant tell you how honoured i am. I was amazed by the thought, care and humour that went into these events and the quality of the other beautiful children’s books and events that I saw. The time and resources that go towards childrens events seem incredible to me, the Dutch certainly seem to be really focused on all the the good things. I have met amazing people in the last few days. Thanks to so much to everyone involved in this amazing project, in all the libraries, Gottmer and CPNB. Hartelijk bedankt!!

online shop

Ive just opened a shop!
Everything is fair trade and made in Nepal.
there are owl toys, lampshades, bags and also some digital prints
take a look….


i meant to sort this out a lot earlier but i have been very busy, if you order in the next 2 days you can make christmas if you are sending to the UK (!)














the amazing product shots above were all taken by nikos tsogkas
By | 2017-09-02T02:18:35+00:00 December 19th, 2011|Tags: , |0 Comments

Claudia Janke | Dear Clare

My lovely ex-studiomate Claudia Janke is a photographer specialising in human rights issues. She wanted to highlight the issues she photographs to a wider audience and came up with the idea of writing a series of letters to her friend Clare and publishing the letters as a zine called Dear Clare. Each issue focuses on a different  cause. The second issue documents garment exploitation in India and has been released to coincide with London Fashion Week. It aims to provoke thought and debate around the role that consumers have to play in the fashion industry. The magazine inspires shoppers to take action and to put into practice the power that every consumer has to change the situation and supports the growing ethical fashion movement.
Claudia is self-funding this project and printing the magazines and posters all with her own money.. How cool is that?? Claudia ROCKS!!! 
The outdoor photography exhibition of images from the magazine will take place along Regents Canal in Islington from 15 – 25 September.
Dear Clare is available at the Regent???s Canal exhibition, cafes, bars and shops in Islington and Hackney and online at www.dearclare.com
By | 2017-09-02T02:20:24+00:00 September 17th, 2011|Tags: , |0 Comments

NODE: fair trade rugs





Im VERY excited about this… im co-founding a fair trade project called NODE. We’re launching it today.

We will make and sell fair trade rugs. We want to collaborate with great illustrators and designers and produce amazing rugs all through the fair trade group KTS in Kathmandu.
Last year i made some rugs in Nepal and they became really popular. My blog post on it was fwded around and ended up in lots of design magazines. I was then approached by other designers and illustrators who wanted to make their own rugs.
I thought this was a great idea, I was connecting great designers with a great fair trade group. We could even do an exhibition in London of the rugs we made.
There was a couple of problems though, the hassle and cost of doing small orders or one-offs with bank charges and shipping and import duty / declaration forms and all the paperwork put most of the illustrators off. 
I also just didnt have the time to actually receive payment and organise shipments etc… the more i got into it the more complicated it got. so the whole thing was stalled.
Then i had a chat with with my friend Akshay Sthapit in Nepal who had recently set up harilo.com  
Harilo is a bit like amazon for Nepal. They import and export. And do really complicated logistics so we had the idea of working together.
We have decided to call it Node. Its a point on a network but it also means ‘knot’ in Latin.
Node can help organise exhibitions and help designers to sell their rugs. But unlike a company we want to operate very transparently. We want to do some
thing new and self-organise, a group of designers making nice things that can be successfully scaled up and hopefully help KTS help out more and more people. Thats the plan anyway..!
At the moment we only have my rugs available to buy but we will be adding more soon
And next year we will be organising an exhibition..
Anyone who wants to get involved (whether designing or buying) please email me
chris (at) vegetablefriedrice (dot) com
have a look at the site…
By | 2017-09-02T02:22:16+00:00 August 24th, 2011|Tags: , , |3 Comments

Totally Dublin. The Design Issue

You have a new book out, called ‘Oh No GEORGE!’. What’s it about, and how did the idea start off?


Its about a dog who tries his best to be good, but falls a little short. I began by drawing all sorts of characters somehow messing up in different ways. It started really with an idea I had of a clown and his dog, clown dog, getting into trouble but it was funnier if there was just one comic character. I liked the idea of building up the tension over two pages. George has seen a cake, George said he would be good but  he really likes cake, what will George do? and when you turn the page… OH NO, GEORGE!!! George has eaten the cake.
I love the concept of a ‘guilty dog’ – I have a dog at home that always looks very guilty, and consequently gets blamed for things he probably didn’t do. You also have a book about an owl that feels lost. This leads me to wonder – if you were a disaffected animal, what would you be?


I was asked that same question by my publisher when i finished my owl story. They asked me which animal I thought i was from the story A Bit Lost. I said I thought i was the lost owl but my art director smiled at my editor and they told me that no, i was definitely the (eager/harebrained) squirrel. I wasnt so sure myself but it seemed to be a strongly held opinion.
There’s something very old-school about the comedy of calamity in ‘Oh No GEORGE!’, yet the design and approach to the subject feels very modern. What sources did you look at for inspiration?


I actually used to live with a professional clown and she introduced me to physical comedy which i found really inspiring, there is something lovely about that silent visual humour. Their timing and expression is very important and i try to imitate that if i can. I also studied graphic design so i have a soft spot for nice flat colours and graphics so i suppose its a mix of those two. I love Leo Lionni’s artwork and Dr. Suess and I try to look at the classic picture books for inspiration if i am trying to figure out a scene, especially for the layout and pacing.
How have your book-production skills developed over the course of your two creations? Any important lessons you’ve learnt?


I still find myself underestimating the time it will take. It looks quite a straightforward thing to do but there is so many dead-ends and so much backtracking you would not believe, especially at the start. I have lots of ideas but only a few can really tie themselves up as stories. I think its important to rely on character too for very young children, and keep it as simple as possible.
You’ve been working for the fair trade clothing company People Tree. Are ethical considerations something you consider to be important to good design? 


Yes i think ethical considerations are crucial to good design. I think in trying to design something as well as possible its helpful to go right back and try to think about it from every angle to try and figure out how can it be better. If you think about that question long enough it all comes back to ethical considerations. I got a bit disillusioned in my own design when i was doing advertising and branding for large companies so i wanted to do something that was more rewarding. I think design has a great potential for positive change and i would love to be involved in that part of it. Its the exciting part!
Are you going to be back for Offset? If so, who are you looking forward to seeing talk?


Yeah!.. I really like the work of KesselsKramer so i will be definitely watching that one, but seymour chwast/sagmeister as well as irish johnny kelly and kevin waldron.. theres too many to name. 


What other projects are in the pipelines?
Im very excited about my third book, its called DONT WORRY, I HAVE A PLAN… Im very proud of the story in that one but who knows when i will finish it. Maybe by the end of the year. I am also working on an interactive animated app called ‘Hat Monkey’, and I have a few non-fiction ideas…
the full magazine is online on issuu here  theres some great interviews and bits on bobs from dublin’s exploding design scene.
By | 2017-09-02T02:22:23+00:00 April 3rd, 2011|Tags: , , |0 Comments