I felt a thrill when two designers I had bought from on eBay were later snapped up by Habitat and Elle Deco: spotting talent before it hits the mainstream could find you a bargain from the next Tom Dixon, or simply something unique. But where are these upstarts hiding?
Cast your net wide
Discover fresh designers (and discounts) at online shops showcasing new talent. I love our workshop.co.uk and made.com. Or do your own filtering at etsy.com.
The chosen few
The Design Museum's "Designers in Residence" programme nurtures just five or so budding hotshots annually. Names are on its website; watch 'em. Last year's Giles Miller (Farm Designs) has already been commissioned by Stella McCartney.
Hit the shows
September's London Design Festival (londondesignfestival. com) is vast, while Habitat scouts at July's newdesigners. com (the cream of new graduates). Also, stalk their websites for names (New Designers' "One Year On" particularly).
Feel the passion
And what to look for? "A passionate designer who knows their materials and influences," says the Inchbald School of Design's Alan Hughes. His current tip is Morven Strachan, a New Designers textile winner.
PR agency Camron does all the biggies (Anouska Hempel, Liberty, B&B Italia...); for breaking design news (and names) they read dezeen.com and mocoloco.com – and I love decor8blog.com.
Follow the leaders
Twitter-savvy? Poach tweeters followed by shops or mags whose style you like and turn your feed into an insider's crib sheet.
Find Kate's blog on affordable interiors at yourhomeislovely.blogspot.com