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!

Monday 18 June 2012

Busy! Busy!

Well, have we been busy the last few weeks?! The Diamond Jubilee gave us lots to celebrate and inspire our creativity, and many of our makers produced something special to mark the occassion.
Kath made all sorts of patriotic little mementoes, such as this Union Jack Heart. We made the most of them with a stand at the special Jubilee Market that the Mall organised in the Regency Arcade.
This had an added benefit - many of our fans seemed to have 'lost' us when we moved from the old toy shop, by Butlers cafe, and you rediscovered us through the stall, which is lovely! Welcome back, friends!
We were able to give people a good 'appetiser' of samples from nearly all our exhibitors, and it was interesting how the smaller expanse of stock gave people a chance to actually *see* more of what we have to offer - I think sometimes it is possible to have too much of a good thing, you can't take it all in!

This baby hat, by Amanda hawkins, sold out in no time! But you can still commission one for your 'Made in England' treasure!
We have been without soaps & bathtime treats for a while, but we are about to remedy this, Kate Burgess, of Cotswold Naturals will be joining us soon.  You can see more at But in the meantime here's some more examples of her temptations.
Kate is due to set out her goodies on Sunday 24th June (next Sunday) I have a suspicion they will also sell like hot cakes, so don't hang about!
This is a gift pack of several bath treats, want to buy yourself a present? Oh, go on, let us lead you astray!  Finally, the best of good news, Jackie Hawkins, who fell and suffered a nasty leg break, is back on the rota - today! The brave woman is coming in on her crutches, such is the way we makers feel about the By Local community, so please pop in and admire her charming glass.

Monday 21 May 2012

DIY at By Local

Many of our customers at By Local appreciate our offerings because they are crafters themselves, which gives them an insight into the work and skills that have gone into each item.  This knowledge also gives them an understanding of how important it is to get children & young people well acquainted with the benefits of creativity, and we have several opportunities in the shop for both children and adults to 'DIY'!
Eunice, in particular, has some delightful kits, all made out of felt and easy for a beginner stitcher. She has variations on this hedgehog kit, including this Jubilee tiggywinkle, for anyone who wants to make one over the next couple of weeks!
This little chap also comes in a darker variation.
 Eunice also has a kit to make this magnificent Emperor penguin.

 These kits come packaged in sturdy, square cardboard boxes, so make excellent presents to post.
 Also available from Eunice are her Owl kits, which are in a more light weight package, should you want to post it somewhere more expensive.

 When made up, these little owls are pocket sized friends for little people to take anywhere!
Eunice plans to make a kit for the little sofa, too, so you can make a cosy seat, not just for your owls, but for little dolls and bears, too.
Talking of bears, there is also a kit, by Michele, to make a tiny, jointed bear like this, in a variety of fabrics.  In addition to kits, for the less confident, several of our exhibitors run workshops. You can make pots with Tara . . . 
Or baskets with Helen . . . . . 
Inspired? Call into the shoop, and see what we can offer to get you creating your own treasures and heirlooms!  To whet your appetite, here's a bear made from a kit . . . 

What tempts you?!

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!

Monday 16 April 2012

Shop rearrangement!

Here is Justyna Designs' luscious chair sitting in our shop, inviting you to collapse into it! Sadly, the footstool has been put a bit far away to put your feet up, too! Doesn't it make you smile? It certainly lifts my spirits every time I walk into the shop - just trying to figure out how we could afford to get the caravan upholstered like this! As well as moving things around in that corner to make room for this fabulous 'sample', Rosie has brought in more display space near the counter, so you can now see Eva's work much more clearly.
Eva's work is truly spectacular, what she manages to do with felt and beads is inspiring, nad the complexity of her work makes me feel like a fraud!
 Next to Eva's display is that of our new jewellery exhibitor, Hilary Thompson, who makes her own lampwork glass beads, under the name of Spa Town Beads.
No picture can really do justice to Hilary's work - do come in and see it, the subtle colours and combinations are very pleasing and relaxed.
Jane Vernon, Ali Corder, Jackie Hawkins and others have also brought in new stock - isn't this lustre bowl by Jane stunning?
Just to be cheeky, I, too, have updated my display, including putting some of my older stock on a 'sale' shelf!
I'm not the only one with reduced price stock, so come in and pick up a bargain - maybe a future Christmas present to stash away!!

Monday 2 April 2012

New exhibitors for Easter!

We have 2 new exhibitors, Hilary, who already exhibits at Gloucester Arts & Crafts Centre, near Gloucester Cathedral, and Justina Design.  I have no pictures of Justina's work yet, but keep an eye on our Twitter stream (@ By_Local) and Facebook page - I'll post some as soon as I can! In the mean time, check out her web site   to see her amazing patchwork upholstery - or better still, visit the shop, and sit in one of chairs! 

Hilary was born in Leeds, raised in Cheshire and is now living in the Cotswolds, in the beautiful spa town of Cheltenham, with her husband Jeff, children Chris and Ellen and their golden Cocker Spaniel, Charlie.
For many years she have had a keen interest in photography, calligraphy, flower arranging and, of course, jewellery.  Her main interests have now developed into jewellery design, beads, silver wirework and lampworked glass.
Read more about Hilary, and see more of her work on her web site :

Tuesday 27 March 2012


Easter is nearly upon us! We have a positive avalanche of edible eggs and rabbits and heaven knows what else thrust at us in the shops! What if you want something more substantial, and permanent - and less fattening and unhealthy?! By Local has many delightful altenatives to offer you, to start with, these crochet or felt eggs from Kath Cooper, to hang in a window, or perhaps on a handbag or keyring?
Kath has also made these charming cosies, to keep your 'dippy' egg for breakfast warm - an all year round momento of a season of hope. Being a ceramicist, she's also made some ceramic eggs for your delectation!
Should your thoughts turn to the arrival of chicks, we have a few offerings to pay credit to our feathered friends new babies, too! Here's a charmer from Jackie Hawkins to dangle in the sunshine:
 Or you could offer a child an Easter cuddly with a diffrence, while being green & recycling with Eunice!
These geese are a treat, and give new life to a hand embroidered table cloth!  If you have to indulge in chocolate, how about a beautiful and useful dish, filled with mini eggs? This one by Tara Davidson would be perfect.
We have lots of Easter inspiration, here's a selection on our counter, with our lovely founder & Boss, Rosie, working hard in the background!
Happy Easter to you all, have a brilliant weekend, an excellent start to the season of growth and new life!