What a wonderful day we had in the sunshine last weekend at Langham Street Fair. Langham is a beautiful, small village in Norfolk. Every other year they hold a street fair, have fairground rides, lots of local bands play and of course the lovely Blue Bell pub is open too. It was such a wonderful event that was so well supported by so many local people. You can see that the residents had all put in so much effort. There was lots of stalls; such as a tom bola, a cake stand and a raffle that had all been organised by the village.
There was also a few craft stalls too, including IzziRainey of course! We had a wonderful day chatting to customers and seeing lots of familiar faces. It is always so nice to talk to people about the business, our life on the farm and explain our ethos for the business. As well as ourselves, our friend Zoe was there who makes hand creams and body lotions from goats milk. Zoe has her own goats and then hand makes all of her products for her company Moorend Moisturisers. Izzi has just re-designed Zoe's logo and packaging for her products, so it was great to see her there with the company's new look.
All in all, we just had a great day in the sunshine, speaking to lots of lovely people and of course selling things too! We hope that we will be at the next Langham Street Fair.
You can catch us (and Zoe too) at Burnham Market craft fair this Saturday 18th of August, between 10 and 5. Burnham Market Craft fair is bursting with lots of local talent including jewellers, ceramists, potters and lots lots more. Make sure you come and see us this weekend!
We are very excited to now be stocked in a wonderful lifestyle store, Little Smiths, in our local market town of Fakenham. Fakenham is about 15 minutes away from the farm, so we are really excited that our products are now being stocked there as we love being a part of local shops and business'.
Hi Mikey, thank you so much for joining us and taking your time to chat to us about your wonderful NEW shop.
SO first of all please tell us a little bit about Little Smiths...
Little Smiths is a independent lifestyle store. We source out local products from some very talented individuals. The store is a platform for local makers and for customers to find something unique. We also try to be eco friendly by finding reusable products.
What a fantastic concept, definitely a shop that we are so happy to be a part of. Where did the idea come from to start Little Smiths?
The idea came out of the blue! I have always wanted my own store but I didn’t know what I wanted in it.
My husband was the one who pushed me into opening he always drives me and supports me. I wanted to help others in the process so supporting local makers really means a lot to me.
What a wonderful way to do it, it always fantastic as a local producer to have such wonderful platforms to showcase your work. Had you always dreamt of opening your own shop?
Yes originally I wanted a vintage clothing store and almost opened one but i didn’t have the confidence in the idea. I worked previously as a gift buyer for a very big company, I had a passion for gifts and homeware so set my idea on that sector instead.
As you know all of our products are designed by Izzi and manufactured in the UK, is this something you feel passionate about?
Very much so! There’s so much talented that’s not being shown in the uk it’s so nice to find unique items instead of a generic import that’s made in a factory.
We completely agree! As you said you source locally for your products, how much of the shop is from local designers?
90% of the stock in the shop is made by local makers. Stocking Norfolk based products was always my aim and show off what the local talent has to offer.
You have a wonderful selection of products in your shop- where do you tend to source a lot of these from?
As above most of our products are sourced from the Norfolk area but I do outsource selected items from different areas of the country if I find unique handmade items.
What first drew your attention to IzziRainey products?
The bold patterns are definitely eye catching and for me that’s what sold them. But I also love the background story of how you started and the fact you are a local maker.
What is your favourite IzziRainey product?
Ooo this is a hard one! It would have to be the black dandelion designon a cushion! I will definitely be having them in my home!
Ah that is one of our favourites too! Please tell us a little bit about Fakenham where the shop is...are other independent shops popping up there too?
My store stands alone on one of the main streets into Fakenham (Oak Street) it use to be a fruit and veg shop and I just instantly fell in love with the building!
There is me and one other independent store which is Through the looking glass. She specialises in shabby chic furniture and is definitely worth a visit for something unique!
How fantastic, it is always great to see new independent shops opening. And finally...if you had to describe your perfect day in Norfolk...what would it be doing?
My perfect day sounds boring but I would spend it in the garden with my husband and my 9 tortoises! I’m a bit of a tortoise addict!
Sounds perfect, especially in this wonderful weather. Thank you so much Mikey for joining us. Please make sure you pop into Little Smiths if you are ever nearby, they just have the most fantastic selection of British made products and IzziRainey products too of course...what more could you want! https://www.facebook.com/Littlesmithsfakenham/?ref=br_rs
We would like to introduce Alison to you all from one of our stockists Osokozi in the lovely town of Holt in Norfolk. Osokozi is absolutely wonderful shop selling the most fantastic selection of cards, gift wrap, jewellery, gift items and lots more. It is an Aladdin's cave and we just love it. Alison has kindly agreed to tell us all about her shop but also more about Holt where the shop is and lots of things you can get up to in Holt.
Hello Alison! SO first of all tell us a little bit about Osokozi. Osokoi is situated just down the road from us in the lovely town of Holt in Norfolk. Can you tell us about Holt as a town...what is there there and is there lots to do apart from come to Osokozi of course?
We have had our shop The Osokozi Gallery in Albert Street, Holt for 28 years and have seen many changes in retail but Holt retains it’s charm and diversity.
Holt is a small town, well known for it’s many lovely independent shops, cafes, restaurants, antiques and galleries. Here you will always find something out of the ordinary.
We are still lucky to also have traditional greengrocers, butchers, fishmongers and bakers.
Wow you have been there for such a long time- it is amazing! For someone who is coming to visit Holt- can you give us an example of what you would describe as a perfect day out in Holt to be?
A perfect day in Holt could start with breakfast at Byfords with best ever croissants.
A browse through Bakers and Larners department store and food hall. Search out some great clothing at Old Town, Morston, Gun Hill, Ruby’s or Decorum.
Great coffee at the Black Apollo or in Adrian Hill at Picturecraft.
Lunch at the Owl Tea Rooms, afternoon tea at the Folly Tea Rooms in Hoppers Yard.
It’s easy to spend a day discovering the shops and galleries. Find out more about Holt and it’s history by following The Owl Trail, (leaflets are found in many shops) and search out all the hidden yards.
There are antiques centres and antique shops (favourite is Richard Scotts), vintage clothing , and art galleries - Red Dot on Fish Hill, and Adrian Hill at Picturecraft.
We agree there is so much to do in Holt and would encourage anyone to go to all these places. What sort of items sell well for you...do you feel your sales change during the summer season?
At Osokozi all our greetings cards and wrap sell well, and almost all of it is designed and printed in the UK. We tend to sell well for these things all year around. Our silver jewellery is unusual and affordable and always popular. We are also very lucky to have such a local following now which is fantastic.
Do the British brands you sell tend to sell well for you as people do seem drawn to buying British at the moment?
Yes definitely, especially our local brands. Our IzziRainey cards and wrap are often asked for and have a loyal local following. We stock lots of British brands including Cambridge Imprint cards, paper and notebooks, Bath House fragranced products - super lip balms, soaps etc. from Cumbria, and for 26 years we have sold Rye Pottery - hand painted and proudly made in Sussex.
Ah we love Cambridge Imprints designs they are fantastic. What is your favourite thing you sell in the shop?
We love to sell our ethnic jewellery and artefacts - we often have decorative and unusual one off pieces.
I bet it is so interesting finding items like that. Which is your favourite card that you stock of ours?
The Beehive card is our favourite. We look forward to stocking their new mugs very soon too.
Oh yes how exciting. And lastly...is Norfolk the most fantastic place to live?
Norfolk IS a fantastic place to live - with unspoilt coastlines, pretty villages and towns, great places to walk and visit, all in close proximity to Holt.
We completely agree! Thank you so much Alison for taking the time to chat to us. If you are ever in Holt make you pop in to Oskozi and say hello! https://osokozi.co.uk
We would like to introduce to you Luke Scott who runs and owns the very wonderful Handcrafted Company in Blakeney, in Norfolk. Luke has been stocking our products for nearly four years now and continues selling so well for us. Luke owns a collection of shops and galleries in the lovely sea side town of Blakeney and a couple in Wells-Next-The-Sea too. We always tell him he's taking over!
Hi Luke, thank you so much for joining us. Firstly please start by selling everyone a little bit about the Handcrafted Company.....
The Handcrafted Company is a real find for locals and visitors to North Norfolk. Located on the High Street in Blakeney, everything is handmade or manufactured in the UK supporting over 50 British designers and artisans. Stocking only the best contemporary craft and design, we offer unique gifts and beautiful items for your home, such as ceramics, textiles, glass and jewellery.
This is why we love it in there so much as it totally supports our IzziRainey ethos of British design and manufacturing. Where did the idea come from to start The Handcrafted Company?
Two years previously we opened an art gallery ‘Quay Art’ specialising in original print techniques such as linocuts, etchings and screen prints etc.... The gallery really took off and then the shop next door became available and we thought there was a great opportunity to show beautiful affordable crafts alongside our gallery offering.
You have certainly done this, and we can definitely recommend popping into 'Quay Art' too. As you know all of our products are designed by Izzi and manufactured in the UK and as you said everything you stock in The Handcrafted Company is British-made, is this something you feel particularly passionate about?
Personally, I’ve always wanted to be surrounded by homewares that mean something to me. For instance one of our contributors is a potter, called Malcolm, based on the Norfolk Broads. There are several items in my kitchen made by Malcolm and by purchasing these items I am supporting another small independent business like myself. For the benefit of the wider economy it’s really important that designers, makers, shopkeepers and consumers ‘buy British’ to keep our traditional manufacturing industries alive.
We completely agree and feel it is so important to promote this! If it is possible to, do you like to stock local artists from Norfolk in the shop?
It is really important for us to stock local artists work, we are here to promote British design and craft and there are so many great designers and makers in Norfolk, our own county. Being based in Blakeney on the beautiful North Norfolk Coast we attract visitors from far and wide, many of these visitors want to take a little slice of Norfolk home with them so will specifically ask which items are made locally.
This is definitely true, Norfolk has the most amazing selection of designer makers, something we should be proud of! You have a wonderful selection of products in your shop, where do you tend to source a lot of these from?
Now that we’ve been established for a few years, we tend to get noticed by makers and designers who approach us with their products. So much of the high Street now has given way to mass produced imported products that independent artisans need to seek out suitable outlets for their wares. We also source new products by visiting the annual British Craft Trade Fair (BCTF) held in Harrogate. BCTF brings together over 500 of the best British designers and makers under one roof and over the years we have sourced some of our most popular product ranges from here.
AND finally...what first drew your attention to IzziRainey products?
I was first attracted to IzziRainey products because of the bright and fresh designs. The quality of the textiles really stood out and I loved the story behind the product.... based on a local farm and either made there or using British manufacturers.
Well we love being a part of your lovely shop and always tell people to go in and find themselves something that is British made and British designed...take away a little bit of Norfolk. Thank you so much Luke for taking the time to chat to us. If you are ever in Blakeney then definitely pop in and see Luke. The Handcrafted Company is based on Blakeney high street, in Norfolk.
What a fantastic evening we had last Thursday at John Lewis in Norwich at their fantastic Norfolk bloggers and 'instagrammers' private event! We were lucky enough to be invited and for Izzi to come and demonstrate how our products, which are stocked in John Lewis, are made.
The event was full of beauty brands, such as GHD, Origins, Jessica Nail Varnish, the new Dyson hairdryer plus lots more. Boden also had a lovely stand of clothing as they have just begun selling in John Lewis too alongside Laura Spring's clothing range for Kin @ John Lewis, which we loved!
As well as all these fantastic brands, Rooftop Gardens, a local bar in Norfolk, had a pop up bar where they were making delicious cocktails which you could have with some of the yummy food from Waitrose! The whole room looked amazing and we loved spending the evening there!
John Lewis had invited lots of local bloggers and 'instagrammers' to the event to chat to all the different brands and enjoy a cocktail or two. It was so interesting talking to all these women who have made a definite name for themselves in the world of social media and blogging...and we were very grateful to them for all their advice and for sharing our products on their various sites.
We had a stand of our products there that are stocked in John Lewis as part of their 'Made Local' scheme and Izzi was sewing away making the products that are stocked there. People were really interested in the 'Made Local' scheme and thought that having local designers in their local stores was a fantastic idea and important to support.
We had a fantastic evening and loved being a part of Norwich's first bloggers event at John Lewis. We of course made a quick de-tour to see our products in the store...it really does not get any less exciting!
We had a wonderful day on Easter Monday at Norwich Maker's Market. Norwich Makers Market houses some absolutely fantastic designer makers from the area. There was such a mixture of different work, we loved it all. Ella organises about 3 markets throughout the year and she always manages to hand pick companies with beautiful work and definitely gets a lot of people coming to the fair too. We have just picked out a few of our favourites from Monday that we wanted to share with you.
Dotty Scotty was there with her needle felted birds, which have been inspired by her beautiful surroundings over the Norfolk broads. Joanna's work is so intricate, it is amazing to see something so unique and chat to Joanna about her work. We especially loved her Kingfishers- the colours were just gorgeous. https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DottyScottyFelt?ref=hdr_shop_menu
Paige Mitchell was there with her beautiful hand thrown ceramic pots, hanging baskets and mugs. We just fell in love with Paige's mini handmade pots which were all potted with different cacti and succulents- the most perfect present we thought. http://paigemitchell.co.uk
Sasha was next to us on Monday with her wonderful handmade dolls, childrens toys and homewares. We think these rabbit dolls are just fantastic, we especially love all of their different outfits- so colourful.
We had a wonderful day and thank Ella for once again a lovely event. Keep your eye out on our events page to see where you can find IzziRainey next.
We are so excited to introduce Nicola who owns the wonderful Previous Homewares in Corsham which is in Wiltshire , which has just started stocking IzziRainey products.
Hi Nicola. Please tell us a bit about 'Previous Homewares'...
Previous Homewares opened in Corsham in 2015. Prior to that we were in Tetbury, Glos. but selling vintage items. In Corsham we sell mostly new items, but still do interesting vintage items, which are very popular.
It sounds wonderful! Where did the idea to start Cymbeline come from- had it always been a dream?
The idea came back in the early 2000s - I was a Senior Lecturer in History and Theory at Central St Martins in London and we were moving out of London. I had fostered the idea of the shop for some time, as a way of drawing my skill sets and experience together (I studied Design History and wrote books, but also worked in retail and sales in my youth) - my husband is an Architect with an encyclopaedic knowledge of design history too. Now we run a really successful business which offers interesting and unusual gifts, clothes and homewares at very competitive prices.
Wow what a difference to what you do now. Are there lots of independent shops in Corsham? As you know all of our products are designed by Izzi and manufactured in the UK, is this something you feel passionate about? Do you stock a lot of other British designer makers?
Corsham is a fantastic town. It means that local people don’t need to get the car out and travel into Bath, but can rely on us if they need a present; we cater for everyone, from babies to grandfathers. We source our stock from all over the world, we love to champion designer/makers and have lots of locally made ranges too. We also have ranges which you can’t buy anywhere else in the country, as well as items that are exclusive to this shop.Corsham is (according to John Betjeman amongst others), the most beautiful high street in Wiltshire and we are lucky to have a spot on it - Cotswold stone and part-paved, with cheap and easy parking. There are lots of other great independent shops, from the traditional butchers, bakers, hardware to the deli, bookshop, jewellers etc. We also have Corsham Court with its wonderful collection of paintings and peacocks which wander the streets, as well as the 350 acre Capability Brown parkland. There are also some fantastic places to eat.
Corsham sounds fantastic, we will have to pay it a visit. It is also wonderful that you champion local designer makers- this is something that is very close to our hearts here at IzziRainey. What first drew your attention to IzziRainey products?
Izzi Rainey designs fit our ethos very well, they are bright, contemporary, practical, hand-made and reasonably priced.
Fantastic! Whats next for Previous....?
We are expanding to a much bigger shop soon, still on the High Street, which will allow us to have separate departments for womenswear, accessories, man-gifts, toys, stationary, jewellery and homewares and hopefully, our own cafe - a mini-department store, which will be well worth making a special trip to Corsham for.
Thank you so much Nicola for telling us all about your wonderful shop and a bit about yourself too. If you are ever in the area, make sure you pop to Previous Homewares. http://www.previoushomewares.co.uk
We are really looking forward to Easter weekend! Apart from all the chocolate, we are really excited about being at Norwich Makers Market first event of the year at the lovely Assembly House on Easter Monday!
Norwich Makers Market is always such a wonderful event with such an amazing range of designers, makers, illustrators, potters plus lots more! And even better most of the stall holders are from Norfolk too! We always love these events as it is great to chat to lots of local designer makers and catch up with other stall holders and customers too. We have picked out a few of our favourites that will be at the fair next week.
Gemma Rose will be there with her wonderful range of bright and quirky retro inspired handmade knitwear. Gemma designs and makes a wide range of products; from jumpers to contemporary earrings to upholstered furniture- and we love it all. We think this jumper is just fab, we are really looking forward to seeing Gemma next week. https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/gmmrs
The lovely Lottie Day will also be at the Assembly Rooms. We absolutely love Lottie's screen printed textiles, we especially like these large screen printed lampshades of hers. https://www.lottieday.com
Geneality Art are a wonderful print and illustrations company based in Norwich. Beverley designs and prints a wide range of products; from books to prints to cards and more. We think this initial prints are lovely and would make a fantastic present. https://www.genealityart.com
Of and of course we will be there with lots of our bright colours and designs to mark the start of Spring.
We hope to see lots of you there to support all of the wonderful Norfolk designer makers at the Norwich Makers Market on April the 2nd. http://norwichmakersmarket.weebly.com
We are so excited to introduce Becky who owns the wonderful Cymbeline in Princes Risborough , which has just started stocking IzziRainey products.
Hello Becky! Please tell us a bit about Cymbeline...
Cymbeline is a new gallery/shop on the High street, I wanted to create a space for artists to show paintings, prints, ceramics, and a love of textile inspired work, running alongside a strong contemporary and fine art based stock of cards, notelets, wrapping paper etc. So, all though easily accessible to buy now a days online people want to be inspired by a collection of products that can be physically seen and experienced.
Added to these core products, I stock lights, cushions, jewellery, scarves, and some home ware products a very small amount of books from Candlestick Press and Little Toller as I have spent 13 years as a Book seller. The range is always evolving as I want customers to know they can find something of good quality, predominately British made but not always, scarves, most of the jewellery lights all from overseas currently but generally a little bit different.
I have a changing exhibition space for paintings and prints, currently showing a local artist called Barbara Shaw who I've known for many years and specialises in textile pictures, they have been very successful, we are about to have some of her work made into cushions and other products which hopefully will arrive next week. I have 2 other local artists showing prints, Kate Watkins who has some wonderful lino bird prints and Marian Carter showing a mix of her inspired colourful current work. One of the most successful Artist's I currently stock is Sarah Woolfenden who specialises in very detailed black and white limited edition tree prints but is based in Devon, but here in the Chilterns customers have loved the beech, the yew and some of her oak prints.
It sounds wonderful! Where did the idea to start Cymbeline come from- had it always been a dream?
A bit about me, difficult to sell myself here. Went back to college and studied Fine Art in my 40's and previous to that had worked for Laura Ashley when it was in its heyday, then to John Lewis in fashion and furnishings and prior to setting up the shop had been a card buyer for a small independent book shop in Oxford and Thame, I exhibited my own paintings in Art weeks over the years but have always felt like there was very limited exhibition space available locally for artists.
So by pure chance I want on a bike ride to Princes Risborough last year and this beautiful empty old building presented its self to me, which I guess I could of merrily not seen but sometimes in life the right opportunity knocks very hard at your door. So whether it was my dream to always have a shop and I never quite realised it but my life experiences have lead me to pushing my boundaries and take this brilliant adventure. The news is always telling us how bad the economic environment is currently and I experience great positivity from people and also the other side of the coin of you're brave or mad and blatant negativity to start a High Street business now. I strongly feel that this country has a creative force which is very powerful and people want to make things, live and appreciate art in all its many forms, so whether its one of your beautiful tea towels, to cards, to pictures on your walls, its all an important expression.
Wow- what amazing jobs you have had before Cymbeline. I completely agree people in this country have such amazing creative talents, which is making people buy British! Now...why is the shop called Cymbeline?
The Shop is called Cymbeline due to a historic site near by at Beacon Hill, where a hill fort motte bailey is, no real site to look at, just a great place to go and walk, take in the countryside and sheep and a hidden gem for kite flyers, picnickers and avid walkers. Brilliant views of the Chilterns and excellent for clearing the head.
Where do you tend to source all of your lovely products from?
I will tend to go to Top Drawer and Pulse but did go to Spring Fair at the NEC this year for a few choice companies,and new things seem to find there way to me, Instagram always a creative joy and of course local artists and makers coming into the shop, so currently have a changing programme of events, later this month Oxfordshire printmakers until the end of April and then it will be a very colourful collection of art work, new bags and home ware products from Nicky James and some very fun purses and bags from Artebene in May.
What first drew you to our products?
I obviously just loved your products, just because I loved them- thats how I decide to take on most of the work I stock.
Thank you so much Becky for telling us all about your wonderful shop and a bit about yourself too. It is always so interesting to hear what people have done before opening their wonderful shops. If you are ever in the area, make sure you pop to Cymbeline. https://www.instagram.com/cymbelineart/?hl=en
We are really looking forward to the Vintage and Creators Market this weekend run by the wonderful Mother and Daughter team, Deborah and Ella. The ladies have created a fantastic local market with a variety of handmade and local small businesses, with over 40 different stalls selling vintage clothes, homewares, ceramics, jewellery, textiles plus so much more. We have just picked out a few stalls that have caught our eye
Charlotte Johnston creates quirky and organic illustrations. Her collection of illustrations has been inspired by the lush pockets of green in New York. She uses stronger colours for the plants, showing her passion for bringing green into the home. We remember seeing Lottie's work at the NUA degree show and can't wait to see it at the fair this weekend. http://www.lottieillustration.com
We absolutely love Stone and Rope's range of knitted plant hangers and concrete planters too. We can't wait to see their stand- feel it will be hard to resist buying. https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/stoneandrope
Studio Adorn design a range of contemporary sterling silver jewellery with a focus on shape, form & simplicity. We really like their new range of rings, featured above, it will be great to see them this weekend. https://www.studioadornjewellery.com
We are also really looking forward to seeing our good friend Amber with her gorgeous range of knitwear. Her new range of bobble hats are perfect for this cold weather. https://www.etsy.com/shop/ambermayde
We of course will be there with our range of new products and prints and lots of great gift ideas for last minute Mother's Day presents.
We hope to see you all there on Saturday in Norwich between 11.00-4.30. https://thevintageandcreatorsmarket.weebly.com
We are a textile company, based on a farm in Norfolk, designing and manufacturing high quality homeware and interior products within Norfolk and the UK.