Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Happy birthday to us, happy birthday to us . . . !

We are approaching our third birthday! On July 13th 2009, Rosie Lomberg opened By Local for the first time, with the help of her mother, Helen, for a period of 6 weeks - just for the summer holidays! This was in the big shop at the top of the escalator at the High Street entrance to the Regency Arcade - yes, the one that has now been demolished, and is now an enormous empty space, a useful reminder that you can never go back! It's a mark of Rosie's good management skills and vision that 3 years later, with several moves of premises and the help of Keziah Kurg and several exhibitors who have volunteered as Supervisors, the shop is going from strength to strength.

Many of the original exhibitors are still with us, having helped with the nitty gritty of dismantling an existing shop and cleaning and setting up a new one many times over the past 3 years! The Regent Arcade management also deserve credit for supporting such an imaginative concept for so long. When By Local started, pop up shops were quite a ground breaking concept, and it took quite a leap of imagination for a big organisation like the Arcade to see their potential, respect to them, not just for giving us a chance in the first place, but for continuing to find us replacement premises each time they found longer term tenants for our existing shop!

In February 2010, we moved from the big premises upstairs to a smaller shop downstairs, under the Fish Clock (part of what is now 'Schuh') and after a few months there, moved next door for another 2 months, before moving down the Arcade to the old 'ART' shop, then as the 4th move in 2010 across the 'street' to what had been The Officers Club menswear shop. 

By Christmas of 2010 (our second Christmas offering unique Christmas gifts & cards!) we were back in our original, enormous shop beside Butler's cafe where we stayed until September of 2011.

In September 2011 we moved to our present shop, on the upper floor, beside TKMaxx - after so long in a big shop, such a neat, open premises was an excellent exercise in self discipline! With so much display space in the large, ex-toy shop, all exhibitors had ample space to display whatever they wanted, however they wanted. In the present shop, not only is there less display space for each exhibitor, but it is beautifully lit, so everything can be clearly seen (good or bad!) so selecting one's items for display can be quite a challenge!

Over 3 years exhibitors have come and gone, each departure offering a new person an opportunity to try their creations in the market - sometimes to be wildly successful, and go on to bigger and more profitable things, not just through By Local, but also through our sister shop in Gloucester, run by Rosie's mother, Helen, with their own team of priceless volunteers & exhibitors! The Gloucester Arts & Crafts Centre, in College Street, has the advantage of larger premises, with a large room downstairs, where they can hold classes and workshops. This facility has enabled exhibitors to expand their potential for earning and the teaching allows them to demonstrate and pass on their skills to others.

Each exhibitor signs up for a 6 week stretch, during which they must work the equivalent of 3 full days in the shop.

This commitment to work in the shop is very useful to exhibitors, it gives them a chance to look at a business approach to life (not everyone has had this experience) and the interaction with the public gives a very useful feedback of market research - when you can talk direct to your customer you get a useful insight into why people buy (or don't buy) your work! This invaluable feedback helps crafters with product development, and often gives added inspiration & motivation to artists with constructive comments from customers. 

We will be celebrating our birthday with several opportunities for our customers to benefit from their loyalty, so keep an eye on our Facebook & twitter feeds, not to mention the website and  newsletter, to take advantage!

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