Lucy Elisabeth: The Handmade Fair is the reason I do what I do!
It was the May of 2014 when I was first contacted about Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair event.
They actually found me though twitter, (ah the wonders of modern technology!) and asked if I would be interested in taking a stand at the event, I was a little excited to say the least!
Originally I made component jewellery as a hobby, but then in the March of 2014, around the same time as I returned to work after maternity leave, I began to develop some new work, creating little flower drawings in wire, I thought popping them in a frame would work really well, this is essentially when ‘Lucy Elisabeth’ in its current form was born!
My work snowballed and literally within 2 months I totally changed the way I worked, my jewellery work fell by the wayside and creating illustrations out of wire became my ‘thing’.
It was very flattering that my work was considered to be ‘good enough’ to exhibit at an event such as this. It was a big risk on my part, I live in Manchester so there was certainly an initial financial outlay that far exceeded anything I had spent ‘on a hobby’ before. As such I wondered what the point was in actually doing an event such as ‘The Handmade Fair’ if it was just for a hobby.
So I handed in my notice at work and decided to give it a proper go! This sort of move is not for the faint hearted of the ‘half jobbers’! I handily had 9 years of experience as a secondary school Art and Design teacher, so supplemented my income with workshops, hen do experiences and one to one Art tutoring.
That first Handmade Fair in September 2014 was a brilliant time and an incredible learning curve for me. It was officially the moment I became ‘self employed’. It really helped to bring into focus what I wanted as a maker and an artist, what my customers were looking for and how to structure my business so it could succeed. Plus learning lots of really helpful information and advice from other stand holders.
I met some wonderful people on that first event, who I have stayed in contact with, who have helped and supported me and who I consider friends. I now have a ‘Not on the High Street’ Shop courtesy of being part of that first Handmade Fair which is where they found me! I have done a few other high profile selling events including the Country Living Spring Fair and a steady flow of loyal and returning customers.
In September 2015 I returned to the event again, having a fantastic show and really enjoying being one of Kirstie’s ‘experts’! (hehehehehe! Me? Expert? Really!? But I just bend bits of wire!) In November 2015 the show came to Manchester, my home town, and I delivered two wirey make workshops on wirework jewellery and festive crowns. This September, I return to the Grand Makes tent at 11am each morning, to teach the lovely fair goers how to make a decorative wirework flower!
I love being part of the Handmade Fair and I really do recommend you visit, you won’t be disappointed.
A few tips if you are visiting;
- Sensible shoes! You will be walking around a lot! It’s hard work and many miles are travelled going from one workshop to another, browsing the shopping areas and food stands, drinking tea and eating cake!
- There are a number of visitors who do two days at the fair. One day committed to workshops and talks (as you can book extra ones as well as those included in your ticket) and then a day for shopping lunch and treats!
- Bring plenty of change for small items, but be aware that a lot of standholders do take cards, also a wheelie trolley or strong bags for all your lovely purchases to go in.
- As it is ‘The Handmfae Fair’ there a considerable number of stands where you can literally ‘meet the makers’, these are the people that made their passion, their job! Go and chat to them, support their businesses, take their card and appreciate their work.
Please do feel free to stop by my stand W18 and say hello, I will be available to take personalised commissions throughout the fair, there will also be plenty of ‘ready to buys’ available for purchase, or if you are interested in the workshops I provide, feel free to check out my website galleries. Contact me on Lucyelisabethc@gmail.com
I hope you have a fabulous time, I know I will!