It has been a while since I blogged, but the idea for this article has been with me for a little while, particularly after my encounters with some of the handcrafting and handmade forums through Instagram and Twitter over the past couple of months. Since venturing into turning a hobby into a small business, the generous support I have received from these organisations, completely gratis, has humbled and touched me. Their passion for handmade and the individual, independent maker has been heartwarming.
The Local Crew: I have major support from and am part of the E17 Designers in Walthamstow, East London. Carolyn, the organiser, goes above and beyond what is required to support individual makers, working to achieve affordable table prices for us makers at very prestigious venues. I have been lucky enough to show my creations at such venerable locations as the William Morris Gallery and more regular slots at places such as Waltham Forest Community Hub in the heart of Walthamstow Village, the Walthamstow Garden Party and Mirth Marvel & Maud. The same goes for Rosie, the organiser of the Local Makers Market events. I regularly attend the Wanstead fairs, where she is juggling around 50 stalls, and attempting to satisfy each maker’s needs (mine recently was a buggy space and she arranged a lovely corner stall where we had super amounts of room for our baby to come along for some of the day!).
The Social Media Crew: Social media is next on my “nice” list (I appreciate I am a little late to be Christmas themed!). I am utterly touched by the support from forums on Instagram such as @crafty features, @handmadeintheuk_hmuk, @shophandmadeuk, @britishmakers, @britishcraftershq who have promoted and featured me over the last couple of months. There are also many others like this who provide free features for artists and makers, alongside the wonderful campaign of Just a Card and promotions such as Small Business Sunday with Theo Paphitis. I am involved in many small business and handmade shout-outs regularly put out on Twitter. I am truly moved by the time people seem to give over to the plight of the crafter.
My maker friends: My blog would not be complete without giving a mention to the other wonderful makers I have met through the above forums, craft fairs and events. Even if a market is particularly slow, there are always those happy, cheery faces to encourage you and raise a smile. We are all in this together, after all. And the @craftyfeatures online Instagram markets (follow them to get notified as to when these happen) have been full of support, encouragement and assistance from the other vendors and the organisers - overwhelmingly so. Of course, a small business is nothing without its customers. So, here’s also a big THANK YOU to all of you who have purchased a lovingly handcrafted, one-of-a-kind piece of jewellery from me in the last year. I am looking forward to meeting many others this year who #supporthandmade.
You are all amazing! x