What's new with Bink

It's been a while since my last blog post, time has just been flying by at a rate I've not experienced before!

I've been very busy setting up everything and its taken a while to get used to managing my initial start up, from moving back home after university, to turning my dad's garage into the Bink workshop. At the moment it's quite a small working area but its just great for me to work from. I do aim to move back to Sheffield and move Bink back there when it's financially sensible to do so. 

Everyday I learn something new about managing my start up, mostly how to manage your days whilst working at home. Most importantly, making sure I take breaks to clear my head of thoughts rushing round. I have weird feeling of pure excitement and fear but I believe in my idea and I'm excited for what the future holds. All the feedback and reviews I've received so far gives me the drive to carry on doing what I'm doing and I plan to expand in the future.

As well as working on Bink. I'm satisfying my need to design by making things to sell on the side to help raise more investment for Bink. I've started out by designing coasters and wall art which will become available over the next few months. This is seperate from Bink and I'm treating it as more of hobbyist activity. I'm selling these kind of items on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/BinkCreations and Folksy: https://folksy.com/shops/BinkCreations

Aswell as the service Bink provides, we are also launching our CraftyCreatures range. Which will include different animal packs, so far we've launched our 'Safari Pack' which includes a Tiger, Lion, Giraffe, Zebra and Elephant. I've been working with Bethan Lentie (@bethanlientie), A talented Illustrator and designer who also studied Graphic Design with me at SHU. Together we have planned a series of animal characters that will be launching in the coming months. We are always open to any ideas or thoughts of what you'd like to see, so don't hesitate to get in touch!

They can be found at: www.binkcreations.co.uk/crafty

To help get the word out, I've been sending out sample packs to local nurseries to introduce them to what Bink does, we are wanting to partner with local nurseries to help them with funding and provide them with new craft activities. So far we are working with Penn Kids Nursery (Penn Rd, Wolverhampton) and Little Scholars Nursery based at the Wolverhampton University. 

I'm really looking forward to the next 12 months and I cant wait to see where it all takes me!

Who's Helping Bink

In my last blog post I told the story of how I got the idea behind Bink, but there are many people who have helped me get Bink to where it is today.

Bink wouldn't be where it is today without the help of Sheffield Hallam Graphic Design tutor, Melanie Levick-Parkin. She was kind enough to help me develop the idea by allowing me to use her children's artwork, giving up some time off at Christmas to document her children playing with the creations I'd made for them. This helped massively with the development of Bink, seeing the idea for the first time, bought to life and used in the real world. Mel was able to provide feedback for me to further develop the products that Bink now make. It was a special moment for me to see something I'd worked so hard on, bringing happiness to her children.

All the staff at Sheffield Hallam have been very supportive and provided help & expertise wherever they can. I'm now getting start up advice from The Enterprise Team (@EnterpriseSHU) at the University where they're offering free business advice that will help with the early stages of setting up a business. They also offer start up grants for students to help with the financial side of things.

SHU enterprise introduced me to their marketing advisor Faye Smith (@fayefork) who has been great, giving me advice with writing press releases and connecting with my audience. I went along to one of her netwalking events, where loads of like minded people who run small businesses in Sheffield meet up and network whilst walking through Sheffields beautiful parks. This was actually my first networking event and it was really nice to meet so many down to earth people. I'm looking forward to working more with Faye and the other advisors at Hallam to help Bink grow. 

Another honorable mention is Jon Wilkinson over at @pimironi, a Sheffield based tech start up that specialises in Raspberry Pi tech. He gave me some advice on how to get my message across when I first started up and it was really nice of him to give me some of his time (as I turned up uninvited on a Friday afternoon).

We'd love to work with more people in future, especially local nurseries and playgroups to help with raising money for their art funds. If you know anyone who'd be interested in working with us, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

How Bink Started!

Hello, my name is Ed Turner & I'm the creator and designer behind Bink. I've just finished my Master degree in Graphic Design at Sheffield Hallam. I've studied Graphic design for the last 7 years, spanning from my GCSE level to a Masters degree. I'm really passionate about all types of design and bringing joy to peoples everyday lives by using design.

I'm not motivated by money, I'm really excited to launch a new way to expand a child's creativity and let them express themselves in a way that hasn't been done before. Arts & crafts are a great way for children to express their feelings and emotions, and I want Bink to further this by letting them bring their drawings off paper and into a 3d space! I want the user experience to be the most important aspect of how Bink operates. Interacting with customers and listening to them to find out what they want is very important to me. 

I first came up with the idea in a business module, when we we're tasked with creating a business or product that could be launched. I started thinking about how adults design toys for children, when a child's imagination is their most powerful asset. I remember when I was younger, I used to imagine coat hangers as space crafts and fly them around the house. This got me thinking, what if there was a quick and easy way for the younger me to invent my own space craft, by drawing it and having it come alive. This is when I first thought of creating the service that Bink now provides.

Prototype made with the help of James Corazzo (@j_corazzo)

While I was researching into my idea, I started to notice that my tutors had their child's artwork on their desk. The drawings had emotions and memories inside them and this got me thinking... What if there was a way to share these through different mediums? What if your child could create gifts for friends and family?

With the help of my tutor, Melanie Levick-Parkin, I was able to conduct user research as she tried out the service with her children's drawings. It was great to hear that they really enjoyed seeing their drawings turned into figures and that they could add colour to them using felt tip pen. Knowing that the idea were well received, I continued to research how I could create more products and experiences by using children's drawings.

Testing of idea with the help of Melanie Levick-Parkin

I started to think of ways of taking a child's drawing and turning it into something that could be easily shared. Such as Jigsaw, Gift tags, Keyrings, fridge magnets and Stamps. This way, they could be used as arts & crafts but also as gifts, which brings the child into the experience of giving. 

After months of research and development, talking to parents and creating prototypes for products, I finalised the business that is now Bink. I presented it at my graduation show as my main design piece and it received positive feedback from both industry designers and parents.

End of course degree show with Bink as my main portfolio piece

In my next blog post I will talk about what help I'm getting from Sheffield Hallam and the people who have helped Bink come to life!

I'm really excited to see what the futures holds and to see what the next step forward will be!