Leonid (@leoniddementiev) graduated from Central Saint Martins before completing Getting Started and Setting Out at the Goldsmiths’ Centre. Leonid was awarded a graduate stand at Goldsmiths’ Fair in 2018 and has been growing his business since. We spoke to Leonid earlier this year about his experience at Goldsmiths’ Fair.
How long had you been a graduate before exhibiting?
I graduated 4 years from Saint Martins prior to exhibiting
How did you find the scheme helpful for your practice?
The Graduate Scheme was a tremendous support for me. The Bursary and a free stand meant that I was able to create designs that I previously only had sketches of. It gave me a big boost of confidence that I really needed. The training sessions in preparation for the Fair were absolutely invaluable and made me look at how to make the most out of my time there.
Being a graduate and exhibiting at this internationally renowned fair can be overwhelming at times. However going through the training meant building relationships with the Goldsmiths’ Fair team and other exhibitors prior to the Fair, and because of that, I felt great support throughout the months before, during and after.
Which aspect of the Graduate Scheme did you feel was most valuable to you and your business?
The training sessions and access to the Goldsmiths’ Fair team.
Do you feel that your client base has grown as a result of the Fair? If so how?
Absolutely, it gave a certain level of credibility to my work overall. Showing at the Fair was where new and lasting customer relationships were built – people ordering at the Show and coming back after for new commissions.
I even get calls for orders from people seeing me on the exhibitors list on the Goldsmiths Fair website.
Do you feel the exposure at the Fair has helped your business to grow? If so how?
One of the great things about the Show is the amount of press and industry professionals coming from around the world to see new and exciting work. That is the time for having conversations about your inspiration, designs and work ethic, because that can lead to exhibiting at more shows and galleries, or lead to some other wonderful once in a lifetime opportunities.
What are your plans going forward with your business?
I want to get my own workshop and get someone to help me with making to free up more time for new designs and learn more about the craft of wire work. I feel like being part of the Fair and seeing the appreciation for my designs and craft gave me the confidence to create bold, statement pieces.
Does working with retailers and selling your work wholesale appeal to you?
Of course, it is tempting to sell through retailers however at this moment I really enjoy selling directly to people. Having the close relationship with customers and understanding them is important to me.