Thursday, 13 May 2021

Shop for independents to pop up at gallery for week

Shop for independents to pop up at gallery for week

INDEPENDENT traders will have a chance to showcase their products at a pop-up shop in Henley.

Interior designer Lynne Lambourne co-founded Love Local nine years ago with Sarah Kirk to support artisans and small businesses.

She is working with seven other women to offer a temporary shop at the Old Fire Station Gallery in Market Place from April 29 to May 4.

It will be open from 9am to 5.30pm and visitors will be asked to wear face coverings at all times, with a limit on the number of customers. All the stalls will be distanced and there will be hand sanitiser available.

Ms Lambourne, 46, from Peppard, had hoped to hold the event last year, but was prevented by the first coronavirus lockdown.

She said: “Small independent businesses have really struggled during the pandemic. They haven’t been able to furlough so it is really important after lockdown to be able to get in touch with customers.

“Selling products online isn’t the same. You want to be able to feel the products, be face-to-face and have a chat. We’ve all been distanced for so long, so it will be lovely to see each other again.

“We’ve formed a great community through doing this and that’s really what the high street should be about, but we seem to have lost. Love Local is about bringing a sense of community through shopping.”

Ms Lambourne, who has two daughters Grace, 16, and Kate, 13, had planned to do a similar pop-up at the old fire station in November, but this had to be cancelled.

At the time she started Love Local, she was running her own business called Love Nellie, which sold handmade children’s clothes.

She felt there were no opportunities for independent businesses to make it on to the high street and was inspired to start the campaign. She founded Warriors on Waste in 2012 to help reduce the use of plastic and encourage sustainable living, hosting workshops with local children.

She said: “From a sustainability point of view, if you can buy something on your high street made by somebody local, you should absolutely try to support that. It is a much better way to shop.

“We don’t want things with thousands of air miles and a huge carbon footprint attached to it. We want it to be sourced locally and we will be putting money back into the local economy by supporting these traders.

“People who have met through Love Local have gone on to do amazing things and work with each other. It has been a real bonding experience and I’ve absolutely loved doing it.”

She will have her own stall, selling her House Plant Addict range of terrariums, as well as upcycled furniture.

Nicky Blystad, who lives in Kingwod, has been selling jewellery for eight years.

She said: “Everybody has felt the impact of the pandemic, because we are used to being out there and meeting people. I usually operate through fairs and charity events, so the bottom dropped out of that way of selling.

“We had all sorts of events booked months in advance, so the whole year was cancelled. Online is fine and we all have websites that we’ve continued with, but it’s not the same. The pop-up is very exciting and we’re looking forward to it. It will be a big change after a year of doing business in a different way.”

Emma Armstrong, who lives in Peppard Common, has been running Mugs, Jugs and More for 16 years and she is delighted to be taking part.

She said: “It will be my first live sale in over a year. It will be nice to be back out in the world again. It will be lovely to talk to people because it is not the same online. I’ve been very lucky — I made a new website last summer and that has been very rewarding, but it is a fraction compared to face-to-face shopping.”

The other sellers are as follows:

• Atticus and Hope: Decorations and event styling.

• t.&toff: Handcrafted wellbeing products, including bath salts and candles.

• Siân Esther: Luxury nightwear for women, which partners with charities to help disadvantaged women.

• Lilly Mai Designs: Bespoke abstract artwork for any interior.

• Chill Out Fred: Range of organic cannabidiol beauty products and oil.

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