BCU Alumna set to open store in Bullring


A BCU Textile Design graduate is set to open her store, Design44, in Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre.

Jade Devall, who graduated in 2013, set-up her business shortly after completing her studies, and now runs one of the most successful independent shops in the Midlands.

After the success of her stores in Derby and Stoke-on-Trent, Jade is now set to return to her university city for the launch of her third store at the Bullring.

We sat down with Jade to find out more about the store and her incredible journey since graduating from BCU.

Hi Jade! Can you tell us more about Design44?

I started Design44 in 2013, which is a design-led lifestyle and gift store that champions small makers and design-led brands. It strives to help small businesses have a retail platform in which to expand and sell their products.

My passion to showcase independent local businesses has driven the shop to become one of the most successful independent shops in the Midlands.

When did you start Design44 and what had you being doing prior?

Before opening Design44, I had my own business designing ceramics, textiles and paper goods. I also supervised a retail ceramics shop in Stoke-on-Trent. Being a maker myself, and selling in shops and at events around the UK, I used my contacts and maker friends, and the experience and skills I’d gained already, to open the first Design44 store and grow the brand.

How do you source the items that go into your stores?

I'm very passionate about sourcing the best design-led and handmade products and recognising what style fits well in our stores. I also source and buy from many up-and-coming design brands and homeware companies to give the store a mix of products. We work very closely with makers, giving them opportunities and retail platforms in-store to sell their products.

Do you also design products in the store too?

From my design background, I do sometimes sell my wares, but to be honest between having the three shops and my children, I’m kept pretty busy already!

Where are your other branches?

The first store, in Derby, opened in October 2013 and in 2021, we opened a branch in Trentham Gardens in Stoke-on-Trent.

Where will you be in the Bullring and what will your opening times be?

We are located on the upper mall next to the Lego store and opposite H&M Home. Our opening hours are Monday to Friday, 10am-8pm, as well as Saturday, 9am-8pm, and Sunday 11am-5pm.

What can visitors expect to find in-store?

Our best sellers and makers from our other stores, as well as lots of new and exciting local makers to Birmingham. We will have lots of new design-led brands and on-trend gifts that we are really excited to be showcasing.

What is it like to be opening a store back in your university city?

It's very exciting as it's such a big city and so creative. We often visit and love how the city has changed and developed in recent years.

What are you most proud of since you graduated?

I'm proud of the fact that we have managed to grow the brand from a small shop on the high street to branch out into bigger shopping centres, which I never thought was possible.

I also am proud of winning best lifestyle store for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, which we won last month.

I feel the Bullring store is a pinch me moment, and something I am proud of doing and creating opportunities for makers also.

How has your degree helped you in your career so far?

I think my degree helped me a lot in the fact that a creative background and my studies helped me develop my brand as a maker before starting Design44.

What advice would you give to those currently studying at BCU?

My advice would be to be consistent and follow your dreams and aspirations. Not only that, but also changing with the times whether economic or even new trends and opportunities. Never stay stagnant and always push for the next opportunity or goal!

Design44 opens in the Bullring on Friday 14 July, 2023. They can also be found online at www.design44.co.uk and on instagram design_at_44 

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