We are so sorry you had to wait for the second part of our review, but we truly needed to rest. Two long days on the market in cold weather, rain and strong winds sent us to bed for 24 hours. Luckily, we recovered enough and we are now back in action.
Before we introduce you to some wonderful artisans we have met, please take a look at the previous links below. You can read about our preparations before the market and read the first part of our review as well:
Now few thoughts after attending the fair. Worcester Easter Festival has been organized by LSD Promotions and we have to admit, that despite a very nice and competent crew working alongside the traders, the market had been very poorly advertised. It had absolutely no promotion, suffered from poor internal communications and not many shoppers were even aware it was actually happening. According to other sellers, only one advert has been published in a local newspaper and it was just 3 days before the market took place, a bit too late to properly advertise it. What’s even worse, half of the people we spoke to never received any emails, receipts or maps how to get to the market – us included. We have been promised a full pack to be sent by regular post (it never arrived and we live in Worcester City center area), then an email was supposedly sent out with digital copies of the documents and we never received that either. Please note that it was not a problem for us as we live within walking distance but majority of the sellers came from other towns such as London, Coventry or Manchester. It would be nice if the organizers thought about providing some information about local hostels/hotels, bed and breakfasts or even maps so our guests could navigate their way around Worcester and find an accommodation for the night. Worcester has a complicated road system and vital streets such as London Road are being maintained as present. Several people had to sleep in their vans as all hotels in the city have been already booked for Easter Holidays. We have directed couple of people to small hotels in Malvern but many were left to their own devices. Pretty sad.
Even better idea in this situation would be to form a partnership with a local B&B or a hotel and to introduce a new package for those merchants that come from far away. Such package should include a price of hotel room & the stall at the market or some serious discount when booking a place for the night. Why this is essential. Bad weather affects sales. Overbooked hotels make an angry merchant. Sleep deprived artisan who did not make enough sales to even cover the costs of market and petrol, will simply never return again to Worcester. Market towns ought to take their reputation seriously – give decent conditions to the merchants and they will be coming back, will recommend you to others and the market will grow. Not to mention, people forced to sleep in their cars is an accident waiting to happen. The last thing local artisan community needs is a black PR that our guests have been having misadventures while in town.
Another complaint we have is regarding LSD Promotions website. It doesn’t work properly and it is hard to find anything useful there. Rita had to call in to ask where the application for the market was located to be able to download it. We also had to ask for digital copies of leaflets and posters – such materials should be available on the website so the sellers can find them easily. The biggest let down was that nobody informed the traders about red weather warnings issued for Saturday for Worcester and Malvern that included severe flooding and high winds. Again, we have found it on our own by listening to the radio or checking the weather reports. Lack of information resulted in several sellers choosing not to arrive for the second day at all as they didn’t know if the market would be on or not. Even local stall holder such as us were not informed. We were only told that some sort of advice will be given on Saturday morning, which of course as you can guess, never happened.
It makes us also think that if bad weather made some artisans to cancel their appearance on a second day (if your wares are made of paper you will not want to hang around in torrential rain), some compensations should be available. We were told that Easter Market was different and no compensations would be provided. We are fans of finding a middle ground. If a trader had to skip a day, so their wares are not damaged, why not offer them a chance to appear some other time, with a discount? We have standard markets every Saturday on the High Street and surely something could be arranged to keep both sides happy and satisfied.
Our experience overall is rather that of disappointment – two stars out of 5. As we have said before, the organizers are wonderful people but a complete lack of promotion and troubles in communication resulted in a very low sales for us. We will think hard before participating again.
Trading in pouring rain is difficult – you have our word for that. Please see how our stand presented itself on the second day of the fair. We have become “Cats in hats”, it was not planned but we tried to keep our spirits high.
On a positive note, we met wonderful artists and made new friends. We had a fantastic time, drank a lot of tea and discussed million different topics. If you’d like to learn more about them, please read their short bios and visit their pages. Believe us, it will be worth it!
01. Pelle Gifts
Katie Townsend has always been interested in jewellery design and created many unique pieces for herself as a hobby. In 2014, she decided to go pro creating Pelle Design brand. Her store grew very quickly in the last two years and now Katie offers a large selections of gifts through her website: bracelets (male and female), watches, hats, scarves, gloves and other decorative elements. You can contact Katie through her Facebook page or visit her very popular stand in Stratford-upon-Avon where she is present every weekend.
02. The Funky Cupcake Company
It’s not easy to be a baker these days. Popularity of shows such as Great British Bake Off encouraged many people to open their micro bakeries and the competition is very tough. Each market we go to has at least 4-5 stands offering cupcakes, marshmallows, fudge or cakes. You have to be extra good to convince visitors to buy from you and not from the other places. Well, Nathalie Morris, doesn’t have any problems with leaving her competitors miles behind. Her creations not only look like a million pound deal (or million USD if you prefer!) but they taste heavenly. We have tried several of her cupcakes and we give it five or even six stars! If you The Funky Cupcake Company somewhere at your local market, don’t hesitate even for a second.
03. Beverly Todd
Classically trained landscape artist, Beverly Todd specializes in the use of oil paints and bullseye glass. She has been always fascinated by the outdoors and clouds and you can see the love of open spaces in her work. She is a member of Contemporary glass makers association and her works are in private collections all over the UK. She is also represented by several High Street art galleries.
What we love about her art is she is able to paint anything you can think of – green fields with grazing sheep, snowy gardens, blooming flowers, stormy sea, cloudy skies, autumn forest. You can purchase her craft through her website in form of coasters, framed artworks, curved glass blocks, glass platters and bowls.
04. Luxury Hampers and Gifts Ltd
Luxury Hampers and Gifts Ltd is a small family owned company founded by Paul and Ellen Halpin-Barnett. To create their outstanding hampers, they only use British products of the highest quality – award winning wines and champagnes, locally baked cakes and cupcakes, organic teas and coffees. Hampers are beautifully packed and prepared for all occasions – from birthday celebrations to Christmas season or wedding receptions. Purchasing from them, you are supporting small and micro businesses from Worcestershire and Shropshire.
Nicola Holder and her team opened Sixteen in Wing, Buckinghamshire in 2010 to find an outlet for their refurbished retro furniture. Their skills in renovation were so great that a simple business idea soon turned into a fully operational store that offers now a whole range of services, including home décor. Nicola travels around quite a lot, visiting arts and crafts markets all over the country. If you see her, stop and say hello!
Angela Crofts is the proud owner of Blu-Beri brand. Based in Herefordshire, Angela makes shopper bags, tote bags, make-up purses, cushions and other accessories from high quality materials. Each item is individually crafted from high quality fabrics and has a unique, contemporary design. Angela’s bags are very sought after and hopefully soon we will see her bags in High street boutiques. We have to admit that we fell in love with beautiful cooking aprons and we will have to get one for ourselves. Maybe two as we both love to cook!
Website: http://www.blu-beri.co.uk (in preparation)
Ebay store: http://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/bluberi2014?_trksid=p2047675.l2559
07. Flora Graphics
Stephanie Cutler has always been an avid gardener with a great love for wild flowers. Her own, traditional English garden is full of forget-me-nots, elderflowers, lady’s mantle, violas and other old time countryside favourites. Her floral expertise comes handy when Stephanie creates her truly unique designs – she hand pick the flowers she grew, presses them, dries and uses to produce greeting cards, coasters, table-mats, tableware and other gifts. If you are looking for something extraordinary – look no further. Flora Graphics offers you everything you can dream of!
08. Natures Rooms
Sarah Evans is one special lady and her creations are pretty special too. She makes ecological soya wax candles and reed diffusers that contains only natural oils. You will not find any pesticides, herbicides, petroleum, paraffin, beeswax or genetically modified materials in her products and she has laboratory certificates to prove it. We bought a slow burning sandal wood candle from her and it’s like a heaven in a jar – its smell is very strong and wonderful. It comes in a stylish glass container and weights almost 1 kg. If you are looking for a environmental friendly, ecologically disposable and truly vegan item, please give Sarah a call now.
09. The Cheese Board
We have saved the best for the last. Our neighbors, Manchester based company called The Cheese Board do not have Facebook page or their own website but their food is to die for. To learn about them you have to attend local markets, but once you taste their food, you will be coming back for more. As the name suggests, the Cheese Board makes a great range of special cheeses for your enjoyment – from Guinness flavoured cheddar (we got one for ourselves), Red Wine Port, Garlic Lancashire, Cheddar Madras, Wensleydale Blueberry, Cheddar and Leek, Balsamic Onion, Fiery Dragon, Smoked Paprika to Red Leicester with black pepper. You can also purchase a huge selection of chutneys (cider and apple, hot rhubarb, sun dried tomatoes and garlic, mango, lime and ginger to name a few), marmalades (brandy, whiskey and red onion) and jams (chili, rhubarb and ginger). To make your order, please contact Barry or Lisa at Lisa.firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 07717666699.
We know that our blog doesn’t cover every stall available on the market but it would be impossible to write about each stand. We have chosen the ones we thought were the best and we hope our readers agree with us.
Don’t forget to visit The Cat Shop on Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/VanadianAvenue/the-cat-shop/
or like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thecatshopdecor
Have a fantastic day and we will see you very soon!
Rita and Malicia
It seems that we are on the roll! Another blog and we score another mention! This time, we have been honoured by Sarah of NaturesRooms.
Thank you very much!
Rita and Mal