Stoke Craftworkers Bazaar
If I've learnt one thing over the last 18 months it's that Stoke and the surrounding area is very creative...
I started my own business, Jeeberella's Craft Castle, in February last year after visiting hobby craft for the first time and getting the crafting bug big time. But one of the first things I realised was that when you say "handmade" everyone automatically thinks of the projects you used to do at school, blue peter style with toilet rolls and pva glue. But in truth, there are so many wonderfully talented handmade crafters out there creating everything from cards to costumes to such a high standard that they really are a genuine alternative to the high street!
It was through my business that I started attending craft fairs and got to meet so many wonderful people and made new friends who have real passion and love what they do. And the crafts that people do are so diverse; I know people who make teddy bears, hand turned wooden jewellery and storage boxes, cup holders, fascinators, hair accessories, custom made clothes, amazingly detailed embroidery and that's on top of everything vintage and steampunk!
There are so many wonderful pages and groups on facebook, including the Stoke Craft Alliance group, dedicated to crafts. Whether it's getting feedback on your latest items, asking for advice, networking or just generally having a chat, there are so many like minded people in the area. There really is a great sense of community even online!
I've now decided to venture into the organising side of things and have created the Stoke Craftworkers Bazaar which is a non-profit organisaion providing more than just a craft fair. I've been to too many fairs where there's no atmosphere, with nothing going on, where customers still don't really appreciate handmade and how much love and work goes into each peice. With the Bazaar I'm hoping to turn the traditional craft fair into more of a community event too. So as well as the traditional handmade stalls that make up a craft fair, I'm organising demonstrations so people can see how things are made and even give it a try themselves, entertainment for children too so that parents / adults can peruse in peace without the tugging of a coat to indicate boredom!
The first Baaar is planned for the 3rd February from 11am - 4pm at The Mitchell Arts Centre in Hanley and the enthusiasm I've had from crafters so far has been amazing. I've already secured at least 6 of the 20 stalls available, have a briliant face and body painter and currently on the look out for a children's entertainer or a beautician for the day too.
I've already gained support from Past and Presents who are based in Newcastle who have not only offered, but designed an advert that will be going on the back of their 1,000 leaflets. The Community Scrap Shack in Fenton are also going to display some flyers there too. Doveridge Crafts have also already agreed to provide one of the demonstrations on the day. It's great to have support of local businesses and crafters, even at this early stage!
My two main aims for the Bazaar are simple:
- For the general public to understand a bit more about handmade and that it is a genuine alternative but with a lot of heart and soul poured into it
- To raise some money for some fantastic charities at the same time!
So, if anyone is interested in a stall, wants to offer a raffle prize, has some ideas on how to market the event, or just wants to get in touch you can in lots of ways:
Also be very interested in talking to anyone who would like to advertise their business, any business, via business cards, flyers, discount vouchers etc in the goody bags that will be provided to the first 30 customers who attend.