As we enter Autumn, we’ve been thinking about the changing seasons and reflecting on the past year. We’ve chosen to interview three stallholders who also love Autumn; Loopy Ewes, Wood Sage Design & Lyndsey Currie – Knitted Accessories.
Read our Q&A below to find out more about their Autumnal plans, thoughts on Covid, selling at markets and shopping small…
Pedddle: What do you love most about Autumn?
Loopy Ewes: I’m based in the Cotswolds and autumn is a beautiful time of year in the countryside, as the colours of the trees go through this magical transformation, offering up reds, oranges and yellows. It’s one of the quieter times of year as a Shepherd, with my main focus preparing the breeding Rams and Ewes for tupping time – when I send the boys into the flock!
Wood Sage Design: We love autumn! The colours of autumn leaves is such an inspiration to us. This time of year our best selling designs are our CatChalet, hedgehog house and bird feeders – particularly our lantern style feeder.
Our most requested colour throughout the year is grey! But in autumn we sell more designs in golden yellows, oranges and deep purples and reds! Much of our work is seasonal, so we feature certain products on social media according to the seasons.
Lyndsey Currie Knitted Accessories: I love the colours of Autumn as the leaves on the trees change from green to vibrant autumnal hues and the light is golden with beautiful evening skies! It’s such a wonderful time to go for walks and you can get all your knitwear out… which is super exciting for a knitter!
Pedddle: As we embrace Autumn, what’s new for you this season?
Loopy Ewes: My handwoven blankets, chunky knitted scarves and colourful zig zag hot water bottles are perfect for the changing weather and chillier days.
Wood Sage Design: Our CatChalet ®️ is one of our most long standing and popular designs, which we first made several years ago. It’s wonderful to know that many abandoned or community cats have a safe shelter in bad weather with our CatChalet. It’s also lovely that many customers purchase the chalet for their own cats because they love the modern design and how it looks in their garden.
Our chalet is also great for smaller dogs. For larger breeds of dogs we have a bespoke DogChalet design as well! We have also had a couple of bespoke orders for chicken houses!
This autumn, we are working on several new designs and adding to existing range of designs, including our bird feeders, bird houses and gothic candle range. We also have some new hedgehog and pet shelters planned!
Lyndsey Currie Knitted Accessories: My small snoods and headbands are perfect for the transition to Autumn, when there is still some warmth in the air when the sun is out and you don’t need to be as wrapped up as you do in winter with a big scarf.
I will be launching my new scarves mid-October, so watch this space!
Pedddle: We’ve all been missing markets this year, with many going online instead of in-person. What do you love most about selling at markets?
Loopy Ewes: My products are handmade in the Cotswolds using the wool from my flock of rare breed sheep, and customers always enjoy hearing about the flock. They like that my products aren’t just made by me, but that my wool is all produced from my own flock too.
It’s also a great opportunity to meet other makers and see the wonderful things coming out of the making community. There’s so much variety and creativity – we all have a unique style.
Wood Sage Design: We really miss doing markets in 2020 and are planning to to do a few imminently! Nothing beats an in-person market for atmosphere and it’s great to meet other stallholders. It’s also the best way to really connect with your customers and attract new ones.
Lyndsey Currie Knitted Accessories: I started selling at the start of the year, just as Covid hit us, so I’ve only been able to take part in online markets so far. However, even then I have still managed to ‘meet’ so many amazing makers and have learnt so much from the community of fellow makers. There is such a nice buzz on the day of the market and the feeling of everyone getting together. I can’t wait to feel the buzz of an in-person market too!
Pedddle: What are the differences between online and in-person selling? How do you overcome the challenges these differences present?
Loopy Ewes: For me, setting aside a day to go to a market is much easier than trying to be present at a virtual market from home, where I have a busy household and family all buzzing around me (as well as the flock of sheep, my husband and I have 49 cows and 5 children between us!).
I think it’s also harder to get noticed at a virtual market – Instagram stories are particularly quick and short lived, unlike a physical stand that you’ve set up full of all your lovely products which customers can wander through and take in at their own pace. Having said that, a lot of customers will feel more comfortable having a good poke around your website, whereas they might feel less able to do that at a face to face market.
I love photography so have plenty of photographs to share, but I’m not very good at creating live or video content and I think this is something I need to do more of to support my involvement in virtual markets. Video content goes down especially well. I think I could do with preparing some clips in advance to share as it’s rarely practical to do live from home during the actual event.
Virtual markets have been a massive learning curve this year – I expect I will have it organised by January!
Wood Sage Design: Online sales are our biggest form of revenue, including social media sales, but sometimes there’s no better way to attract new customers than to get out there and do the markets. For our products it often helps to see our designs in person, as many people do not realise the size, scale, quality of materials used and the craftsmanship involved in our designs merely through photographs.
It’s also good to reach out to your local customer base and nothing achieves this as well as a local artisan or craft market!
Lyndsey Currie Knitted Accessories: This year was the first year I was going to start doing in-person markets, and unfortunately all the ones I had coming up were cancelled because of Covid! I have only experienced online markets, but it has really helped me to try and push my online presence – more than I think I would have if I were doing the in-person markets.
I am still working on creating the best online platform I can, as I think now it’s more vital than ever, and social media presence is so vital too.
I do still have one market which hasn’t been cancelled yet (yay!) in November, so fingers crossed it will still go ahead.
Pedddle: As we head into Christmas, we are championing shopping from small businesses; it’s especially important this year, to help them survive the Covid hit.
In your opinion, why is it so important to shop small, independent and local?
Loopy Ewes: It’s important to invest in local businesses as they are the backbone of our local communities. I think that we all need to make more sustainable and considered choices when we shop.
Buy less, but buy better – shopping from small, independent, local makers automatically makes that easier.
Wood Sage Design: It is more important than ever to support your local and national small family businesses, as well as originally designed, well made items. Why? So many reasons and certainly this year has proven that.
Firstly, we need to invest our money back into our communities and buying from small British businesses certainly does that.
We cannot continue to be “disposable consumers”, meaning buying something (probably made in China) from plastic or other non-sustainable materials, that might last a month or two and you throw it out and buy it again. We can already see the impact on the global environment of mass produced items. It’s really important to consider what the products you buy are made from, and how far they’ve travelled to get to you.
Everything in the Wood Sage Design shop is our own original design and entirely handmade. Many of our designs are ®️ Registered and protected. We use sustainable or recyclable materials, including our packaging. We deeply care for animals, wildlife and the environment and hope in just a small way we are making a difference as well as having a small business.
Lyndsey Currie Knitted Accessories: I think it’s so important to shop independent as you are supporting individuals and contributing to the local economy and community rather than major retailers.
It is also your opportunity to buy something that isn’t mass produced, but is made with love and care by someone who is passionate about what they do. Small business owners really do a little happy dance when they make a sale – I definitely do anyway!