Handmade Opportunities?

Goodness me what a busy pre-Christmas season for one very tired Scottish island mum.  Extra events and very lively sales have resulted in the busiest selling time for years.  I am, of course, not grumbling but I seriously need to clone myself and then all will be well.

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What has marked this season apart from others has the support shown by the islanders against a constant deluge of horrendous weather.  I know we are used to it and lately the amount of water dropping out of the sky has tested us all.  Within this context the makers have loaded and unloaded their cars and set up their stalls and liaised with their customers with great cheer.  At the end of another long day they load and then unload their cars and then it all begins again another day.

For those that make handmade goods this is the biggest selling opportunity of the year so there is no winging, just a quiet determination to succeed.  I am honoured to be part of this wee group on the island but there is something stirring in me that tells me that there are opportunities for change in 2016.    I feel there is a need to find more innovative ways to celebrate the craft items made on the island.  There are so many individuals that shine brightly with what they do but I feel that, collectively, the light would be very bright indeed.  There are lots of excellent working models out there that we can draw on as a community so gentle conversations are underway and we shall see where that takes us.  For a small island I find both the quality and breadth of what we offer to be of considerable merit and commercial appeal and I certainly want to do my bit to help.

IMG_6251This year we opened our wee holiday cottage to 7 other makers who exhibited and sold their items in a shopping evening.  Despite another episode of really shocking weather it was very well supported and has provided an excellent launch pad.  We also ran two workshops from the same venue during the day and these were very well received.  The second workshop ran over time so ‘shoppers’ arrived and we able to see some of the creative processes that went into some of the products for sale that evening.  This might seem an obvious link to some but I can tell you it is not a firm link in everyone’s mind as they browse in the craft markets around the country.  I also think that customers are often genuinely interested in the creative process so this type of model may well have a place going forward.

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With Love from Arran has had a fabulous pre-Christmas season and we could not be more pleased or more grateful.  We still have products in shops on the island including The Bay Kitchen and Stores and the Visitor centre at Brodick Castle.  We may also have a few pieces left to sell online and this year as the remaining stock is so limited we will do that via our Facebook page.   But essentially we are done and enter a new phase of design and development for the new year.  We also concentrate on our family Christmas when we will all be together once again.  Molly is home in a week or so and we are all so pleased about that.

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So this is just to say a huge thank you to all our customers/friends who have helped make this year so very special for ‘With Love from Arran.’  One Scottish island family will always be incredibly grateful.  xx

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