With our Creative Collaboration Market this Saturday, we are celebrating selling at markets, the ‘shop local’ movement and our lovely market traders. We decided that this week’s Meet The Maker should feature three stallholders who also love markets and each have exciting things coming up too. Introducing Peach Plot, The Adorned Page and Eleri Haf Designs.
They each have a little inspiration for getting your creative business started, starting to sell at markets and news of their Christmas plans. In these tough times we could all do with some encouragement and positive news!
Here’s our Q&A:
Pedddle: At this time of year, many stallholders are preparing for the Christmas rush, as we enter the busiest retail quarter of the year. We are so excited for the Creative Collaboration Market this Saturday, and we know you have lots of exciting things planned too. What’s new for your business?
Peach Plot: I have just released a new apple decoration onto my store that is more complex than anything I’ve done before! It was based on an illustration I did several years ago, and given it is apple season it was the perfect time! It was also really fun to do something a bit different. I’ve just got my Christmas cards onto my site too, even though it is only September!
Eleri Haf Designs: I have some new Christmas card designs as well as pocket mirrors and a couple of new prints (see below). The new postage stamp Christmas card design was so fun to create as it’s quite different to what I’ve done before.
The “One Day at a Time” print means a lot to me – this simple quote has helped me through some tough times! I thought the floral pocket mirrors would make great stocking fillers this Christmas.
Pedddle: It’s so exciting to see the new things everyone’s coming up with in the run up to Christmas. Where did you first become interested in the skills it takes to produce your products, and how did you learn them?
Peach Plot: I have always loved art and wanted to do something creative. I studied Surface Pattern Design at university and it was a great way to try out a lot of new skills in a short period of time. It was when I was introduced to the laser cutter that I knew this was what I wanted to focus on. Since then it has just been practice and experimentation, and I am still learning now!
Eleri Haf Designs: I started building my business in 2013 when I was very ill with severe M.E. I couldn’t walk and had very limited use of my hands, so at first I could only stick one button on a tag or paint one brush stroke a day. As my health improved, I was able to begin learning modern calligraphy by watching YouTube videos and just practising a tiny bit every day. I then started watercolour painting again, which I hadn’t been able to do for many years. I have learned creative and business skills on the job and am still learning loads every day!
Pedddle: How long have you been running your creative business, and would you have any advice to anyone wishing to start?
Peach Plot: I’ve been running Peach Plot since about 2013 with my Mum, but she passed away in 2018 and I obviously took a bit of a step back from it then. I decided that 2020 was the year to get back into the swing of things, and then COVID happened! That said, it has been really fun to pick up my creative skills again and it gave me something to do in lockdown.
My advice would be to be realistic about what you can achieve in the time you have. I have a full time job that is not ‘creative’, and sometimes it can be really tough seeing other businesses getting so much done, but I can’t compare myself against people running things full time. Don’t feel bad if you can only start small, getting started is the hardest thing!
Eleri Haf Designs: I’ve been running my creative business for about 7 years now. My advice would be “go for it!”. Don’t be too much of a perfectionist, be patient and remember that you will learn so much as you go along.
Pedddle: What first made you consider selling your products at markets?
Peach Plot: We started off small, selling at local fairs in village halls, at events supporting the local community, selling a mix of handmade and vintage items.
Once we got more of our own products, we took on fairs further afield. Interestingly, I’ve now gone back to finding local fairs and helping showcase other small businesses because there is just so much going on in the creative space here, which Pedddle makes so easy!
Eleri Haf Designs: I liked the idea of meeting customers in person at markets. There is something wonderful about being face to face with your customers, watching their reactions to your work and chatting with them. It’s so encouraging!
I have only been able to do a handful of physical markets so far and was planning on doing lots more this year, before Covid happened! I decided to try and join some virtual markets instead, which has been great a big learning curve. I’m really looking forward to being able to go to physical markets again!
Pedddle: This year has certainly been a tough one, especially for market traders. Online Markets are great for finding local stallholders, however, the atmosphere of in-person markets is irreplaceable. What advice would you give to anyone wishing to start market trading?
Peach Plot: Don’t over complicate it. When we first started, we put a lot of time into props for our stall display. Looking back, I think it was too fussy, and now I would say let your products do the talking.
Also definitely invest in a good card machine – there are lots to choose from now, but they are worth it for all the people who no longer carry cash and might be the difference between getting a sale or not!
Pedddle are partnered with Square Card Machines – they have some great offers for small businesses.
Eleri Haf Designs: My advice would be… try and make your stall look welcoming and not too cluttered so that your products really stand out. Oh, and make sure you take a comfy seat and some snacks!