We believe if you look after your staff then your staff will look after your customers. Our staff have super flexible working hours and work from home options, we work around their family and life commitments.  We have fun days too, this year's are in the planning! We are big festive fans and love secret Santa and our Christmas meal - we book it in January, 11 months in advance every year at Samuel Jones on the Quay. We offer work experience to local schools, students and people looking to get some experience in the industry. We have at least 10 people a year come on board to do work experience. We also provide longer work placements to foreign students via Totnes European School.
We support local, and wherever possible buy local - this is easy as Devon is full of wonderful resources. We also support charities, especially local ones and ones we have a connection with. In the past we have chosen a specific charity to work in partnership with each year, whilst still supporting others. We tend to lend props mostly by way of support but on occasions we have also volunteered for various charities and entered in fund raising activities. We offer our support to our business neighbours too. We buy our paint, printing, wood and lunch all from the businesses on our road. If we see an opportunity where we can help another business or charity we will. We think about our waste products too, donating anything suitable we don’t need to people who need it.
We have built up a lot of knowledge over the course of running the business, and we happily share this. Especially to students and people studying. We share this knowledge by giving talks. Carmen is our ‘talker’ mainly. In the last few year she has run a make your own prop workshop for Radio One’s Academy, given marketing lectures at Exeter college, a talk at Exeter’s Deaf Academy about over coming barriers in the work place, visited Blackpool Primary school and set a dragons den type challenge for the students to design a prop - which we've actually made - you can see it here. Carmen has given business talks at events like South West Wed Met Up, networking events and via webinars. We also like to share our prop and styling knowledge, so are planning to publish two books - one about styling and event hacks and one about prop making. In the meantime you can see our pinterest for hacks and YouTube for how to videos.
Share, grow and prosper together
Visit to Exeter Deaf Academy
Talk at Exeter Deaf Academy
In February 2018 founder of The Prop Factory Carmen, visited Exeter Deaf Academy. The Deaf Academy educates 34 children from primary school age right through to college age. Carmen went to share her story about personal barriers she had encountered when embarking upon her career. Carmen has dyslexia, which in her instance manifests itself as difficulty with reading, understanding grammar and also her information processing speed is very slow. Carmen also has Bipolar disorder, a mental health condition that dramatically affects moods, impacting on everyday life. Carmen hoped by visiting the school and sharing her story it would promote the message that you can achieve your career goals and not let personal barriers hold you back. The talk was received well by the four groups it was delivered to, with one student, normally shy in lessons, discussing his own struggles with mental illness. The students also had the chance to design a prop following a design brief. The brief was to come up with a farm or Devon themed game for adults and children alike. There was quite a wide range of ideas, from life size football to mystery boxes where you have to blindly guess the object you are feeling. One student, Amy came up with a duck shooting game which we plan to pursue as a potential future product to make following the workshop. You can find out more about Exeter Deaf Academy and the work they do on their website below.
K9 Focus
German Shepherd Dog
In November 2017 we made some bespoke props and donated them to K9 Focus 70s Party Night at Barnstaple Hotel. The annual event is to raise money to help the charity look after and re-home unwanted and abandoned dogs in Devon and Cornwall. Lynne, the charity founder contacted us about her event after a loan of some 70’s props. We wanted to help but didn’t have very much in that theme. Our solution was to make some bespoke props for the event. We made a 70’s campervan peep board and a retro TV chalkboard. We also provided some life size dancing silhouette cutouts and light up K9 and a light up star. Our logistics manager Jim delivered the props and also attended the event! When he returned to work on Monday he said he had an amazing time and danced the night away. He especially loved the ABBA tribute band. You can see more of the work carried out by the charity by following the link below.
Women in Photography
Women in Photography Illuminated Letters
Run by Amber Leach of Liberty Pearl, Women in Photography celebrates female photographers. For their October conference at The Duke of Cornwall Hotel in Plymouth we provided a massive 17 light up letters to spell WOMEN IN PHOTOGRAPHY. We also attended the event and listened to 4 keynote speakers, each thriving female photographers. Amber argues that women are under represented in the photography industry and that WIP promote community not competition. A uniting of female talent who share resources, networks and support each other. At the conference we also offered free props to any photographer wanting to do styled shoots. This offer was received well and we have been very busy since then collaborating on styled shoots with some amazing results. WIP has a series of conferences and workshops in Devon and Cornwall, for photographers of all abilities through out the year. You can find out more about the dates and locations by clicking the link below.
Good for Nothing
GFN Illuminated Letters
In October 2017 we supported the Good For Nothing pitch night at Boston Tea Party, Exeter. At the event 'pitchers' were looking for help bringing their idea to life. All participants were at various stages of their charities and businesses, some start-ups and some had been going a little while. Each were at the same pivotal point in terms of growth - they needed resources. The idea is that people who come to support the event and watch the pitches lent various resources for free to help these businesses. We were one of those supporters. All the ideas being pitched we community focused ideas, from social enterprises to CIC and charities. As long as they were doing some good in the world they were allowed to pitch. We heard ideas from a CIC specialising in positive body image, all the way to ideas about improving your quality of life by changing the space you live in. We chose to offer our support to a dance charity offering dance classes in Exeter to people with Alzheimer's. By way of support we offered them free props so they could create some imagery for a marketing campaign looking for new dance members. We also did the official photography for the pitch nigh and provided light up letters. To find out more about Good For Nothing see the link below.