People often ask me "where do you find all those lovely, hand-crafted gift products?" This is what I tell them...
Firstly, I love nothing more than a rummage through market stalls and I can scan those gazebos pretty quickly to determine if the items on offer are something that I'll pursue.
The calibre of products is much higher than the twee little local fetés of days gone by. Clever makers are aware of branding and the importance of positioning themselves as designers as well as craftspeople.
I for one, am a sucker for a stylish market stall selling unique products, made from quality materials, that are presented beautifully!
Once I've determined that the item is something I, myself, would happily give as a gift, and it ticks the criteria that I've outlined in blogs gone by, I'll make contact with the maker and approach them for their wholesale terms.
I do love being a conduit between our talented makers and my community of considered gift shoppers, and over time, I'm aiming to build a strong, supportive relationship with all my suppliers. I'll keep in touch closely in an effort to offer their new designs and ranges to my customers as they are created.
Second to seeing, touching and feeling the products in the markets, it has got to be Instagram! Do you use the "Save" feature on Insta? This is where I save products and makers that I come across while doing the daily scroll. Then on a seasonal basis I will identify gaps in my store's offering, as well as the products and makers I'd like to make contact with, in order to fill them.
Collaborating with creative makers here and abroad, brings my gift ideas to life.
And then lastly, I have a couple of unofficial "scouts"!
Friends and family who share my love of unique, hand-crafted gifts, will regularly send me samples, links, and contact details of products and makers that they've come across on their own travels, and market visits. These scouts and their finds are invaluable. As the market scene and the number of creative artisans grows, I'm very appreciative to my scouts for keeping their eyes open on my behalf!
So there you have it. The four ways I source my finds.
If you or anyone you know makes something gorgeous by hand that you think would complement the creative finds offerings, then please make contact!