Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Independant Shops and the Rise of Handmade Products

Morning! I hope you are all well today and  I hope my friends further north don't suffer too much disruption today due to the heavy rain causing flooding.  Yesterday on Twitter I got involved with a chat started by Maryann of One Stop Pamper Shop about how the increase in sales of handmade goods is affecting the high street.  The main question being did we think that because more and more people are choosing to buy beautiful handmade products would this see a rise in independant retailers filling the empty shop fronts on our high streets? 

White Christmas Creamer from One Stop Pamper Shop

 Personally I think the trend to buy handcrafted goods is still very much on the rise and believe this can only be good for independent retailers.  The Telegraph and Mary Portas are championing independent shops at the moment in their 'Best Small Shops in Britain' awards, inviting us all to vote for our favourite local shops.  I know more and more high streets are becoming an eclectic mix of indie shops and the mainstay big retailers which can only be good for the creative industry.  Whilst some designer makers also hanker after owning their own beautiful shop stocked with their own and other designers products, there are also other people determined to stock handmade products in their shops.
Flouncy Clutch from Poppy Treffry

Without independent reatailers sharing handmade products in their high street stores it may seem that designer makers products are destined to the cyber shelves only.  However there are several creatives who have sucessfully taken the big retailer route and have also managed to keep their businesses relatively small and close to their homes.  Obviosuly Poppy Treffry is the perfect example of this as her products are stocked by many big businesses including Selfridges.  Yet Poppy also has a small shop close to her studio and she has kept her studio close to home, in Cornwall and Poppy still runs her own stand at Country Living Christmas Fair. 

Mummy Birthstone Necklace from Poppy Sparkles

Another thought shared yesterday in this discussion on twitter came from Viv, at Poppy Sparkles, that the popularity of crafting was also making people think more about their purchases.  After many years of a creating a throw away society I think the corner has been turned and more and more people actually want to know who made their new purchase or where it was made.  Could we be seeing people actually embracing handmade products?  Yes, I genuinely believe that the rise in popularity of crafting is making more people buy handmade.  We all know that we cannot make everything ourselves so as designer makers we look to other talented makers to buy the things we cannot make ourselves.  Then for the people who simply do not have time to make things but want to support British craft are looking to independent retailers to stock handmade goods.

What do you think? Will we see a rise in independent retailers on the high street stocking handmade goods?  Do you own an independent shop that sells handmade products? I would love to hear from you, in the comments below or email me zoeanddrew@btinternet.com

Hope you have a fab day!


The undomesticated scientist said...

i'd love it if there were more independant shops full of handmade goodies but i think its going to depend on where you are. It's going to be hard in big cities where the rents are high. We had 'we are birmingham' a shop for local makers to sell their things but it closed after 6 months cos it was in the wrong part of town (the cheap shops end) and the rents were too high in the 'where poeple who would pay for handmade things' shops area.

Zoe Grant said...

sadly I think this is the case in most cities and large towns. I love the idea of a co-operative allowing makers to join forces and run a shop. There is a very successful one down in Hastings I believe. So maybe it is possible if the rent is afforrdable in the right location!

Heidi Liz said...

I wish I could open my own shop. It really is a dream of mine, I just wouldn't know where to start! I would certainly only sell handmade products though.

I totally agree that buying handmade is on the rise, I think more people are appreciating the effort that has gone in to the product and that the money isn't feeding some corporate firm, but actually making an impact to families.

I make handmade items, but do try to buy handmade as far as I can, the sentiment is so much greater.

onetenzeroseven said...

I think shops such as Things British on Carnaby Street, London and Serendipity Crafters in Osset that rent out 'shelf' space to hand makers are the way to go. It allows independent artists to sell their work on the high street without having to worry about outlaying all the costs and agonising over paperwork. I'd love to see at least one retail outlet, such as these, in every city! :))

Zandra Johnson said...

I think you are right, there is a definite trend towards quality,handmade and heritage items. More and more talented people are starting their own businesses making gorgeous things and there is such a wealth of talent. Sometimes it is possible to have a Pop Up Shop in one of the empty high street stores and for several makers to get together to promote the opening, and stock and man the shop. Your local council will have a list of shops available and there are a growing number of companies who arrange these events. Our local pubs and tea rooms give space for small displays of Pop Up Shops.
As a designer maker and supplier I love dealing with independent shops. You get such a buzz from working together and its the personal contact that makes the difference.
Good luck all, and may 2012 be the best year yet.

Zoe Grant said...

Thank you all for taking the time to comment. I love the idea of a pop up shop and looked into it for Dec this year but sadly didn;t allow enough time to organise properly! I hope to do something next year.

I hadn't heard about shops renting shelf space to designer makers, what a fab idea! I agree this could be the way forward.

Michelloui | The American Resident said...

I LOVE independant, handmade items. One of my favourite online shops is Not on the high street because of that. Will definitely check out thos eother links!

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