Fi Murray is the creative director at Making Things, an invention and innovation studio based in Southsea, Portsmouth.
As the business readies to celebrate its second birthday in August 2020, Murray has debuted a new storytelling arm to Making Things in the form of Making Things Up. We caught up with Murray to learn more about how 2019 has been for Making Things, and what to expect from this exciting new part of the business.
Hey Fi, so, – exciting times – you’re launching a new arm of Making Things in the form of Making Things Up. Can you talk us through what this new side of the business covers?
Yes I’d love to. IP generation and brand creation was a sector I spent my in-house days in, so it feels fab to give it a home under Making Things.
Making Things Up is the story-telling arm (aka the fib-factory!) to the studio. It’s origin IP generation; conceiving totally made up original stories, worlds and characters for little humans that can convert into paper, pixels and/or products! These creations are pitched to global publishers, production studios, entertainment companies and of course toy companies who play in this space.
I currently have three IPs in the works, covering different target audiences and I can’t wait to get them pitched! Moving forward they’ll be collaborations with character artists, other IP generators and animation studios on joint creations.
And Making Things is now over a year old. How has journey been so far?
It’s been a ride for sure. With the three facets to the studio (workshops, consulting and inventing), there’s never been a dull day so far!
Workshops: From ideation days to lightning decision jams to innovation strategy planning ,it’s been a dream working with so many teams across design, marketing and commercial departments to bring to life their in-house creativity and expedite projects – doing more, faster. I love the intensity of workshops; seeing the talent pour out of the teams and the amount of creative energy required – my brain is always frazzled after them. I’ve built some great friendships; it’s lovely to feel part of their teams even when I’m dipping in and out.
Innovation: The creative briefs have been wild; there’s been story-generating to brand building to converting other inventor’s ideas that have been taken in-house into 360° brands.
Inventing: This officially kicked off from June this year. I’ve been working in cycles where I batch invent – ideating, creating the deliverables, pitching, the follow-up and then I start the process all over again with a new batch of inventions. I tackle invention conception in three ways; ad hoc (banking up those eureka ideas ready to work on), strategic (making sure I’ve got something in every category that’s on the pulse and reactive to consumer shifts) and working to briefs (inventing specifically for one project and/or brand).
Of recent, I’ve started collaborative inventing relationships. The benefits of joining forces has been proven out in the industry time and time again. It commercially makes sense combining complementary skill sets and on a personal note for me, it makes creating more enjoyable. It brings about all those lovely serendipity feels! One of the things I miss the most from my in-house days is the people, the teams, my work fam! Too much silo work kills creativity.
Real talk; now I’m 14 months into this, you quickly realise you’re running a business without ever intending to and it can feel very serious some days – adulting can be a bit tricky at times can’t it?
Being a one-woman band is the most challenging role I have had thus far; it’s a whole heap of highs and lows. I’ve always been a walking juxtaposition; I like too many different things. I love the independence and freedom I have to create and not being bound to a portfolio. Equally, I loved creating under brands (and not forgetting those institutionalised comforts you get from being in-house, plus the all-expenses-paid travel!) so there was always going to be things I miss fondly and new things that I do now that I would never want to give up doing.
I’m so fortunate that my job is a passion of mine and I made sure I never went into this thinking that the grass was greener – it was the right time to do it and I knew the grass would just be different.
For me, ‘different’ is the spice of life otherwise things get a little dull!
Absolutely, Now we know you won’t be allowed to tell us the ins and outs and everything you’re up to, but could you give us any tantalisingly vague details about any success stories soon to launch?
For sure. I’ve placed two creations with launches planned for SS21 and AW21 – they couldn’t be any more distant in their categories and target audience so it will exciting to see how they develop through the different companies.
One of them has IP intentions (I suppose a Making Things Up and Making Things Studio hybrid!) and the other was on my ‘business bucket list’ – it’s in a category that not all toy companies play in, so I’m proud it’s making waves and a lot of love went into the brand strategy behind it.
And not forgetting, Mojo Nation had a hand in bringing one of these to life, so I’m sure once the cat is out the bag, we can talk more!
That’s pretty much all I can say – there’s other stuff bubbling which is great fun and a bunch of new inventions that are in incubation right now; these will be ready to pitch at London Toy Fair.
Looking ahead into next year, what’s in the pipeline for Making Things?
I’ll be streamlining a few facets of the studio in 2020 to release more capacity for ramping up the inventing output and to focus on the Making Things Up arm.
I’d love to increase the number of inventions that are collaborations and partnerships, and I’ll continue to work alongside my existing clients with workshops and innovation consulting, but I won’t be able to take on any more at this time.
And for any firms reading this thinking, Fi sounds exactly like what we need, how can companies get in touch?
Hopefully, I’ve got to you first, but if not and you want to talk about making things together or have a chit chat, email me at email@example.com or visit my website at www.makingthings.studio
Great! Thanks Fi – and hope you have a brill Christmas!
Thanks so much for the catch-up guys; you’ve been instrumental to my 2019 as I’m sure you have for many others. Merry Christmas and looking forward to seeing everyone in 2020!
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