Curated by Dapper & Suave markets run in Surrey throughout the year, with various themed markets showcasing a wide range of makers and offering a platform to lots of small businesses.
The team behind Curated by Dapper & Suave markets are Jason and Rob – entrepreneurs that are both Market Hosts and makers themselves, running their own gift and accessories business, Dapper & Suave.
We asked these multi-talented market organisers what makes them so passionate about supporting fellow small business owners, how they switched from market retail to hosting, and what makes their Surrey markets so special.
Click here to see all of their upcoming markets, or scroll on down to find out more!
Read through our Q&A with Curated by Dapper & Suave owners, Jason and Rob.
How long have Curated by Dapper & Suave markets been running?
We started doing markets about 5 years ago as Dapper & Suave, but couldn’t find the right market platform.
Having been to many craft fairs, we found they were sometimes over-filled with one product type and lacking the attention to detail that we were looking for. Both of us come from a customer service and retail background, so we knew what was required.
‘Handpicked for Dorking’ was set up, which took place in a church hall and featured a selection of like-minded makers who understood what we wanted from a market. These events were very popular and, as the markets started to grow and expand, the space was no longer sufficient for us and the name did not fit correctly, as the people selling at our events came from other parts of the UK and not just Surrey, where we are based.
In 2019 we moved to Dorking Halls, a striking Art Deco venue. Our Christmas event in 2019 showcased 28 stallholders and was well received by the community.
Moving on to March 2020, we were all set for our markets for the year. Having already filled the spaces for our Autumn and Christmas Markets, the pandemic hit us hard and totally changed everything. Due to government guidelines and social distancing measures, we would have only been able to host 10 businesses in the Martineau Room. However, Dorking Halls gave us the option to use their Grand Hall, so we eventually accommodated the 28 businesses we had originally planned to host. We were lucky that we got in just before lockdown, and it felt great to offer our community an event where they could get out of the house and buy from local businesses.
In that year we both lost our jobs – Rob was working in the head office at Debenhams, and Jason as Assistant Manager at French Connection. Dapper & Suave and our markets – two businesses that were sidelines and hobbies – were now a vital income.
Our original markets were run as ‘Handpicked for Dorking’, so we changed our name to Curated by Dapper & Suave to link both businesses together. We developed a new website to combine both businesses, and created new logos to showcase us both.
As Dapper & Suave, we make handmade, quirky and stylish bow ties, pocket squares, Ascot cravats, lapels and hair accessories. We wanted to expand our brand to offer more to our customers alongside these core ranges, so we collaborated with other businesses to bring a range of candles, skincare and art. We also created our very own Style Squad, creating cards, badges, t-shirts and four children’s books.
Growing this one step further, we created more markets than ever before, providing various themed markets throughout the year to help showcase small businesses that share our ethos. We’d love to see you at one of our markets soon!
Which Christmas markets are you most excited about?
All of our markets take place in different locations in the Surrey Hills, which always provide a scenic backdrop and a place to make a full day out from any market visit. Every market is different and each one offers a unique variety and choice, so they all are truly special.
We are running a few festive events this year, but up next is our BIG Christmas Creative Makers Market on Sunday 20th November, from 11am – 6pm. It will really get everyone into the Christmas spirit – there’ll be a switching on of Christmas lights and lots of activities taking place for children too, so it’s a great family day out.
We also have 2 more markets, both at brand new venues for us:
- Christmas Shopping Evening at Bourne Valley Garden Centre, running from 5pm – 8pm on Thursday 1st December. Bourne Valley Garden Centre is an independent, family-owned business, which has truly flourished to become a complete home and garden shopping centre – they have over 70 years’ experience in the industry! There’s an on-site restaurant and Farm Shop where free samples will be given out in the evening, so there’s lots to see and do whilst you’re getting your Christmas shopping done.
- Christmas Creative Makers Market at Gildings Barns, from 10am – 4pm on Sunday 11th December. The venue has interconnecting oak-framed barns, creating a unique atmosphere with beautiful oak-framed structures. It’s set in the tranquil Surrey countryside and surrounded by open fields lined with mature woodland, so the whole area can really offer a great day out. We’ll be hosting over 20 businesses and there will be food and drink, encouraging you to stay a while!
What makes your markets unique?
Our ethos is to offer to customers a ‘unique, friendly, creative’ environment, so that businesses have a platform to shine and sell in a ‘pop-up department store’ style. We focus on lifestyle and homewares, and the brands that exhibit with us offer both great quality products and customer service.
We consider customer service vital – something that seems to be lacking in a lot of shops these days. We want our customers to come along and meet the people who run these amazing small businesses, to get to know them and know the quality of their goods.
Although the business is 5 years old, it really has grown and developed organically in the last 2 years due to these values. Diversity is something we are passionate about – we want our events to be for everyone. Our makers have previously described our events as like being in a tribe, a family, and a real community.
We get to know the businesses that work with us; it’s not just about filling in a form and coming along, it’s about the business understanding us and what we offer, as well as us seeing what they can bring to our events.
Many makers that we host offer bespoke makers too – and how great is it to have something totally unique to you, that no one else has?!
We care about the businesses we work with and want them to do well. We’ve hosted workshops on social media, given tips on optimising sales and providing great customer service.
A great way to get to know different businesses is by doing ‘TEN @ 10’, which involves Jason giving 10 questions and then going Live on Instagram to get to know a person behind a brand. Sometimes these take places in makers’ workshops, to show the behind-the-scenes process of what they make and sell. In fact, Jason once hosted a TEN @ 10 with Pedddle Founder Nicki, which you can find over on the Curated by Dapper & Suave Instagram page!
What’s next for Curated by Dapper & Suave?
After a busy year, Curated by Dapper & Suave will be back again with more events in 2023! We plan to run events in September, October and November at Dorking Halls and in December at Gildings Barns, with hopefully some dates at Bourne Valley too – keep an eye out for details on those!
Self Expression Safari
We have a very exciting event happening in June – A Self Expression Safari Day!
We will bring together different small independent businesses, and work with a team that will look at different clothes and talk about how we can re-use them with sustainability, and recycle, re-purpose and customise clothing. It’s eco-friendly and supports our values; that you should be able to express yourself through what you wear, whoever you are.
This will be a journey for all of us, to learn about each other and how we can make clothes adaptable for everyone to wear, including those with disabilities. We will have workshops taking place prior to this too.
This is such an exciting collaboration with like-minded organisations, making a positive change in empowering young people in society and create opportunities to be seen and heard. It will end in fashion showcase, which is going to be so much fun!
Fancy getting involved with Curated by Dapper & Suave’s markets? Click here to apply!