We caught up with Albert Clegg, winner of the 2014 Brain Child competition, Norwich University of The Arts alumni and entrepreneur, to find out everything about his business venture, Bean Clothing.

Firstly, congratulations on winning the 2014 Brain Child Competition. You must be very happy about this fantastic achievement!
Thank you sir. Yeah it’s a great thing to have happened and has given Bean the best possible beginning as a stat up indie company.

How did you hear about the competition and what did you win?
I heard about the competition through my university. I also knew a few winners from the previous year, so I was well aware of it.

I won a load of stuff! From website building to legal advice. The competition is very much focused to mentoring and a load of local business get involved to aid the development of the winner’s brand.  Unfortunately the £1000 prize money had been withdrawn for 2014, which was a bit sucky, haha, but I’m extremely happy with what I got.

You’ve just finished a BA Illustration Degree. How would you summarise your experience form university?
University has been great. Norwich is a brilliant place to be a creative, its got a real arty buzz to the place. But yeah my development over the past three years has been unprecedented. The tutors, city and friends have all been great and have made me into a far more accomplished artist slash businessman.

What kind of support were you given whilst at university?
Ooo loads of stuff. NUA has a great tutor student relationships and generally if you need help with anything there will be some one to lend a hand. I think the main thing to realise with getting help at uni is that you have to ask for it, if your motivated and passionate people will want to help!!

Was going to uni something you always aimed towards?
Yes. I come from a pretty academic and wanted to study medicine till I was about 15 or 16. Then Idecided that medicine wasn’t for me and I didn’t want to go down the family route and instead I decided to follow my other passion of art. This led me to studying illustration and the rest is history.

So you’ve now graduated and have set-up your own company Bean Clothing. Can you tell us a little bit more about your business please…
Bean Clothing has been running for about 9 months now and is a Fair Trade limited edition screen-printing company that produces fresh tasty garments with original art. The company is going through a transition period at the moment. I along with a few new additions to the team are re-branding the company to the ‘Bean Creative’ using the competition winnings. This is going to take the company to that next level of finesse and quality so look out for this bitching new re-brand!!

The Bean Creative is really the epitome of what I wanted to achieve. We will be acting as a platform for some new tangents to the brand as well as expanding our product list. Were getting involved and showcasing the best of street art, street sports, music, current affairs and artwork. Were hoping for big things from this next stage of development so watch out.

Will you always sell your clothes independently or are you trying to get your clothing into retail outlets?
The plan is to get them into retailers. Were just waiting for the re-brand to be finished and for the quality to be there before we approach any. But yeah hopefully by around Christmas time we’ll be in stores!!

Are you actively looking for other artists to get involved with Bean Clothing?
We’ve always got our eyes open!  We want the Bean Creative to be a platform to showcase up and coming artists so if you’re an artist get in contact and if we like what you do you’ll get featured!!

Let’s talk about your style as an artist, where does it come from? Who/what are your influences?
Um lots of things influence me. I would say generally my main influences are politics, religion, semiotics and current affairs. My style is something I have been developing heavily since the conception of Bean. I was quite erratic during my university career and made very different work from term to term. I’m now focusing my efforts into developing my own unique visual language, which is getting there. But generally I like drawing geometric shapes and characters in a unique way, as I’m sure you can tell from my work.

How long have you been drawing for?
All my life I guess, I ‘ve always enjoyed it. I would say that I really got passionate when I was in secondary school. My teachers would let meand friends draw in the lessons we found boring because it meant that we wouldn’t disrupt the class, I was a bit of a prick, ha. But yeah that’s where the catalyst came from;drawings with friends whilst we were suppose to be learning Española.

As an aspiring new business person/professional artist what are your main goals?
To succeed…?Generally I would just like to be successful in whatever I’m aspiring to do. A bit of a wishy-washyborderline arrogant answer that I’m sure everybody would give, but it’s honest.

Please finish this sentence: This time next year…
I’ll be driving through India in a Hindustan sourcing ethical clothes from people I’m friends with. One of the founding ideas of Bean is to source our own clothing to create a honest, sincere closed system of production based on proportional representation where we have a relationship with our manufactures, kinda like a co-operative. This pretty much means we aim to get every individual within the production of our products to be paid a wage that represents what they have put into the company. Really its capitalism in its truest and most honest form; but this is getting a bit in depth and I’m sure people don’t wanna read a rant by me slating modern business structures and the way the west treats the developing world.

Best of luck Albert, we hope you achieve your dreams.
Cheers mate.

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