Friday, 27 April 2012


This is a post written by Jane Vernon, who exhibits her pottery & silk scarves at By Local, the perspective of someone who has been involved from early days, and knows whereof she speaks!

I’ve been involved in By Local whenever I can since it began because, quite simply, it’s a win-win venture.  I sell through other shops, farmers markets, craft shows, exhibitions and from home but By Local is way ahead as my favourite.  What makes the difference?

For the maker, By Local feels like your home town.  You know your way around, you understand what’s going on and generally feel at ease and amongst your own people.  Because we are all makers, we understand each other’s lifestyles, problems, successes, discoveries, let-downs and excitements.  We can ask each other for advice about our work knowing that the answer will be informed by experience that a non-maker simply doesn’t have.

The crucial element in this is that Rosie, the manager, is a maker too.  She, along with her team of supervisors and the general body of makers, always has a sympathetic and creative approach to everyone’s products and displays because as well as having many years’ experience in arts retail work, as an artist she understands what each of us is trying to do.  While sometimes hiding her own light under a bushel, she’s always ready to encourage the rest of us and treats everyone’s work as something of value.  This is not always our experience and it is to be treasured. 

There is camaraderie in By Local.  Most of the time we are all working away in our own studios and this can feel a bit isolated.  Now with the By Local ‘gang’, many of us are in touch by phone, email or on Facebook (as well as occasional social get-togethers) and can bounce ideas off each other as if there was someone working in the room next door.  It’s a great thing to be part of.
For win-win there have to be two parties, and the other side here is the customer.  If you’re someone who likes to buy artwork and hand-made items then in the past your main option was craft shows and exhibitions.  These are great opportunities to buy and often to meet the people making the work, but they are one-off events and may not coincide with when you need to buy something.  Now with By Local our work is available seven days a week.  This means you can add arts and crafts to your normal shopping whenever you’re in town.

When you come to By Local you are always served by someone whose products are on display.  Not only does this mean we are particularly well-informed about the products but it also gives you the opportunity to discuss possible orders and commissions.  You can follow us on Twitter or Facebook where Michele will often tell you who is working in the shop that day so if there is someone in particular you would like to meet, you can find out when they’ll be available.  Michele will also keep you up to date with new products from time to time.

New products by existing makers and new makers to the shop are also announced in our customer newsletter, along with news of special events and competitions.  You can sign up for the newsletter when you come into the shop or email us and ask to be put on our mailing list.  Also our website,, has a news section and essential information about the shop as well as individual pages about all our makers.  Not just an arts and crafts shop but an up-to-date local arts and crafts resource as well.

By Local is a unique and very special shopping venue for customers and a unique and very special selling venue for makers.  Win-win!

Jane Vernon
Pottery, textiles & cards
Hope you enjoyed this insiders view of By Local!

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