The last year has brought us closer to nature in many ways. Whether it’s a brief lockdown walk, outdoor exercise or a need to get away from screen time and home-schooling, the great outdoors has been our saviour at times. This week we’ve chosen to feature market stallholders who celebrate nature with their craft work – Firetree & Go Your Own Way Apparel. We asked their plans for the year, what they love most about nature and how they’ve coped with various UK lockdowns.
Pedddle: Tell us a little more about your business.
Go Your Own Way Apparel: I’m Rachel, owner of Go Your Own Way. We create handmade travel and adventure-themed art, apparel and accessories. All of our products are created in the Lake District, which is full of inspiration.
All of the items are designed with adventurers in mind. Many of the items are limited edition and can be personalised, making them the perfect unique gift for any home, person or group.
From bold artwork to romantic map prints, personalised luggage tags, wash bags and accessories for men and women inspired by mountaineering, cycling, walking, wild camping and the sea, there’s something for everyone.
Firetree: My name is Ann and my business is Firetree Jewellery, based in the beautiful Derbyshire Dales.
My favourite things to work with are real leaves from the garden, such as oak, maple, hawthorn, and clematis. I use silver clay to turn them into stunning, statement pieces. Each leaf has a meaning, so they make unique individual gifts for garden lovers everywhere. All recycled silver too!
You’ll find me locally at fairs and events in the Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire area. I love the atmosphere at the fairs and meeting lots of interesting people.
I also host several workshops, so you can learn the secrets of silver clay. These are full day courses and you will learn how to get started with silver clay. They are really fun and you will go home with your own finished pieces of silver jewellery – outside of pandemic times, of course!
Pedddle: January was a long month, but it’s exciting to plan ahead for the year and it definitely feels like Spring is on its way now. What’s next for you in 2021?
Go Your Own Way Apparel: I do have some new products that aren’t ‘live’ yet but are coming very soon! My Mountain Map Keyrings (pictured below) feature silhouettes of The Lake District Fells and also the OS Map of their location. 2021 saw me become an official licensed user of OS Maps, which is great! I can make any silhouette for any mountain range world wide – it’s a brilliant keepsake or gift.
Firetree: For 2021 I am working on several new designs and also developing my classic pieces further. I have always made sterling silver acorns, using actual acorns as moulds. I usually finish them with a jump ring but have just designed a more vine-like twist to secure the acorn to a chain. It looks so natural (pictured below).
Pedddle: Nature and adventure run through the heart of your businesses, and these things have meant so much to us all during lockdown. How have you embraced these things during lockdown, and how do they show through in your business?
Go Your Own Way Apparel: Go Your Own Way is inspired by the romance and wilderness of the Lake District, from the woodlands to the sea, the lakes and the trails.
During lockdown its been difficult to embrace the outdoor lifestyle that both my partner and I enjoy so much, however we recently became new fur baby parents to a border collie pup, Harry. He accompanies us on local walks and loves the beach. The joy of living where we do is that we are 5 minutes from the coast and just 15 minutes from the Fells. My studio overlooks the Western Fells so I have inspiration on my doorstep 24/7! Picture below taken from my window!
Firetree: Nature is at the heart of Firetree, and always has been. During lockdown I have thoroughly enjoyed my walks along country lanes where I live, I have collected many gorgeous leaves; oak, hawthorn, field maples, plus acorns and seeds to develop into my jewellery. My husband says our walks take twice as long, hunting around in the hedgerows. He is very patient!!
Pedddle: The pandemic has changed lots of things for every business. What has changed for you?
Go Your Own Way Apparel: I joined Pedddle during the first lockdown, which has been wonderful. I’ve also participated in a few online markets and events which have been really successful, but I’ve really have missed outdoor markets and events. It’s definitely one of the things that I am looking forward to the most once things are safer.
Firetree: The pandemic has certainly changed Firetree. Before 2020, I attended many events in the local area but they all disappeared, so I needed to look at something different. I opened an Etsy shop back in 2016 and never had the time to develop it, so it gave me the opportunity. I also
joined Pedddle later in the year and have taken part in many online markets since. It has been a real adventure for me and is still a learning process. An online presence will certainly be the way forward for Firetree in 2021.
Pedddle: The pandemic and social distancing has meant selling online much more, if not solely. What is your top tip for selling online?
Go Your Own Way Apparel: Don’t be afraid to try something new! If you’re not 100% sure if a product is going to work, ask your audience. Markets are great for this but you can do it online too. I often ask my Twitter followers for their opinions on products or ideas that I’m not 100% sure of. Every day is a learning curve. I’ve found that what sells well on one platform doesn’t necessarily do well on another, which is the same at outdoor events.
Firetree: My top tip is to give accurate information about your products. Good, clear photographs are the most important thing, from different angles and with full measurements. A customer wants to know exactly what they are going to receive. I love it when a customer gets in touch and writes: ‘it’s even better than I thought it was going to be’.
Pedddle: We are huge champions of shopping small, independent and local. Why does it mean so much to you, as a stallholder?
Go Your Own Way Apparel: I left my full time job in September 2020, therefore the influx of people shopping small and local has impacted on me in such a positive way.
I recently had a conversation with friends about how great it felt to almost rewind 30 years and go back to having to go to different shops for different things, i.e. local butchers, fishmongers, hardware stores, rather than heading to one big department store and taking it for granted. I look forward to seeing how independent shops can rise up and take the high street by the horns and turn it into something amazing and unique to each town. I just hope the government supports us in doing this.
Firetree: By shopping local and supporting small businesses we can all help to put money back into our local communities. It also means more jobs for local people and less car miles, reducing carbon emissions and being more environmentally friendly too. I also think you get a more personal service from small businesses, as you get to know the people behind the business and they get to know you too.