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Back to School for Creatives - With Anecdotes

As part of a series, the Status will be speaking to new start-ups in Folkestone that met each other when they went back to school.


The School for Creative Start-ups was founded four years ago by the Californian 'dragon' Doug Richard, two years after the original school began.  The year-long course is part-time and worth £3,500, but last year, Kent County Council fully funded 100 places for the Folkestone course which was available to Kent residents.

 Anecdotes Design 

 Shop interior 

The aim - that you will be provided with help to start, grow and improve a creative business. 


This week I spoke to Barbara Pani at Anecdotes who recently moved from a premises on the Old High Street over the road to Tontine Street. Also a student at the school after a competitive selection process.


"It's based on a book written by Doug Richards, and during the course you have to answer ten questions about your business." 


The start of the course involved a bootcamp where the first question was put to the new students: "It was to define your own business," 

says Barbara. "What you do and to present it in 60 seconds or 150 characters for twitter.  


"It's actually extremely useful because you think you know your business and where you want tot go with your business, but by doing it you know what your weaknesses are."

Anecdotes Design is a destination in Folkestone for restyled vintage furniture, jewellery and Art, some of which is designed and made by other graduates from the school.


The shop is bright, beautifully laid out and showcases a variety of different treasures, as well as being a Steven Harkin Flag Ship Store.


After opening their first Folkestone shop in March, Barbara started the course in October and it has helped her to focus. "It really helped me understand which direction to go and also one of the reasons I applied was that we are two business. There is the shop Anecdotes and Steven Harkin design - the leather bags. 


As the maker, Steve makes the leather bags and up-cycles the furniture while Barbara does everything else. "I felt overwhelmed with all the tasks.  The course has really helped me be much more focused and be able to prioritise. 

 Steven Harkin bags 

Lucy Alice Jewellery 

Social media was also a useful skill that Barbara learnt for her business: "I had a twitter account when I started the course but I never tweeted - I didn't get it but after the first bootcamp I became really good at tweeting and by observing what the others were doing I learnt.  


"I have learnt that it is really important for business." 


There were many Folkestone Creative Start-ups on the course and I wonder if they became a community themselves. "Now we are still in touch and we have a meet up every month at the Workshop in Tontine Street.


"We tweet about one another and keep upto date with each others progress." 

Anecdotes  Design,

15 Tontine Street, Folkestone, CT20 1JT

01303 487690 

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