It was St David’s Day on 1st March, so in the spirit of all things Welsh we’re looking at a selection of Welsh stallholders and people who love to celebrate this wonderful country or live around its picturesque borders.
Introducing Welsh stallholders Mr G Loves Miss B (based in Dyserth) and Bridge Park Candle Company (based in Denbigh), plus Shropshire-based Fox & Boo, who are often inspired by the beautiful Welsh countryside.
Pedddle: What do you love most about Wales, and how does this beautiful country inspire you?
Mr G Loves Miss B: I love the diversity of Wales, from its busy towns to rural life. There are lots of rural outposts which are perfect for seeking out hidden treasures and vintage whatnots. Living and working in an official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is both refreshing and inspiring.
Bridge Park Candle Company: I moved to Wales 3 years ago and started my business shortly after my move. There’s a very strong ethos of supporting local, independent Welsh business and I love being part of the business community here. I’ve received so much support and encouragement and I am truly grateful that I’ve been welcomed into Wales with such warmth and goodwill.
Fox & Boo: We have both Welsh connections and designs. We are part of a co-operative shop in Conwy, but we swapped the coast of North Wales for the meres of Shropshire five years ago. Our Picturesque Collection features stylised bird illustrations in well-known Welsh locations. Look out for two new designs coming later this year!
This year we also began working collaboratively with a Welsh company, the artisan chocolatiers Coco Pzazz, with our designs featuring on their packaging. This has really raised our profile enormously.
Pedddle: What do you love most about your business?
Mr G Loves Miss B: I love that I get to visit some fabulous places when sourcing my products, and that I get to discover antique and vintage pieces that someone else will also love, so it gives beautiful things a new lease of life. I love all the stories that my products have and the fact that I can share these and when they find a new home, and their stories are added to.
Bridge Park Candle Company: I love the creative process of developing my products, which is much more technical than I ever imagined it would be. It can sometimes takes months to perfect a new product and I relish the challenge! I also love the independence that having my own business gives me. It’s hard work, but working for myself and being in total control of my business is extremely rewarding.
I love the positive feedback that I get from my customers too. I especially love when my customers come back time after time to buy my products. It makes all of the hard work so worthwhile.
Fox & Boo: We have a family business; we are small, independent and going places, we are part of an army of makers, artisans and SMEs that will help to make Britain great again! We support British business in our own small way, by making sure ALL our products are made here.
We also love our customers – especially our repeat customers! We have a loyal fan base of Fox & Boo followers, and we just love it when they interact with us on social media or send photographs to us of our products taking pride of place. It’s a wonderful feeling.
Pedddle: How did you first get into this line of creative work?
Mr G Loves Miss B: I have always collected things – I am a bit of a hoarder and always have been! I used to buy a lot of vintage fabrics and make vintage-inspired things, and buy old boxes and do them up. The collecting got a bit out of hand, so I ran out of space at home! I loved the discovering and buying process, and wanted to continue to do that. A couple of years ago I started selling on Etsy, and my business has taken off from there. I have been running Mr G Loves Miss B as a full time business since August 2018, when I was made redundant.
Bridge Park Candle Company: I’ve always been a candle lover myself, but I became tired of buying candles that just didn’t live up to my expectations. After receiving a really expensive candle as a gift, I was reluctant to burn it because it was so expensive. When I finally did, I was disappointed with how it burned, so I decided to have a go at making some myself! I ordered some basic supplies and soon became totally addicted to my new hobby. When people started asking me to make candles for them and were actually prepared to pay for them, I thought it would be a really enjoyable thing to do and my business gradually evolved from there.
Fox & Boo: I was a commercial illustrator for 18 years prior to setting up Fox & Boo, working mainly in the publishing industry. I created some designs for a friend of mine who runs a shop in Conwy (Oystercatcher, South Stack Puffins etc) and they sold amazingly well. That spurred me on to do more, and to develop the range.
Pedddle: What first made you consider selling at markets?
Mr G Loves Miss B: I am a retailer at heart. I have worked and taught retail for over 30 years, so for me selling in person was a natural step. I love selling online, but nothing can replace the interaction you get from meeting your customers. Doing different markets was a great way to pop up in different locations too.
Bridge Park Candle Company: I decided to start selling at markets because I really wanted to reach a wider audience with my products. Markets are a great way to reach so many people in different geographical areas.
Fox & Boo: I would be the first to say, it never crossed my mind that I would trade at a market one day! It was just something that happened organically. We heard about Merefest, an eco/wildlife family event in Ellesmere, Shropshire, and I decided to produce some new designs (Goose Parade and Quirky Hare) and get them printed onto latte mugs and tea towels. We almost sold out that day, made quite a profit, and the entrepreneur in me thought I was definitely on to something. So I looked for other markets I could trade at, and saw on Facebook that Oswestry Market were offering stalls for just £10 a day, so I decided to give it a go. Once again I made a profit, which funded stock for the next market. The rest, as they say, is history!
Pedddle: Now that you sell at markets, what do you love most about being at market?
Mr G Loves Miss B: I love sharing stories about the products and hearing the customers tell tales of times gone by. I love it that my products spark happy memories for a customer. I also enjoy meeting and talking to the other stallholders. Sharing ideas, laughing (or groaning!) at markets with a friendly community of stallholders.
Bridge Park Candle Company: Markets give me an opportunity to talk face to face with my customers. Working from home can sometimes be isolating and it’s great to have the interaction with others. I also love the camaraderie of my fellow stallholders. There’s always a friendly face and a helping hand if you need it.
Fox & Boo: I love interacting with customers face to face, and talking about my work. I am always interested in the reaction to our designs and why customers gravitate to a particular design, what makes a design a best seller, and why some designs sell less than others. Having direct interaction is really beneficial in terms of our responsiveness to change, if something isn’t working, we can tweak it or make the decision to discontinue it.
I also love the stallholders themselves. I have been blown away at times by the generous spirit of our fellow stallholders, from the little snippets of advice that add to our ‘knowledge bank’ to the extraordinary time that our stall neighbours at Chatsworth clubbed together to loan us some small change when we left our float at the hotel! You are never alone, there is always someone to offer support in a crisis.
We love everything that Wales has to offer! You can find more Welsh stallholders or something local to you at https://pedddle.com/stalls/ .