As The Holborn joins as media partners to a new market in Brick Lane’s Truman Brewery we chatted to the woman behind it all Sophie Rees.
Tell us what The London Artisan market is all about?
The London Artisan is a curated marketplace in the heart of East London. A collaborative project between Designers/Makers and The Old Truman Brewery. The London Artisan offer’s a diverse, quality, shopping experience that celebrates independent producers and makers. But more than that, it’s about people and place; meeting the makers, conversation with friends and embedding the social back into shopping. We support makers who produce high quality, unique and locally made products.
What makes Brick Lane and The Truman Brewery the spot to bring all these makers together?
The Truman brewery contacted us a few years ago about creating a market however at that time we had just launched a designer maker market at Old Spitalfields on a monthly basis. This has been a great learning curve and has accumulated in the ideas and goals for The London Artisan. The Truman Brewery are well known for supporting the art and design scene in the East End and in particular younger/start up creative businesses so theres a great synergy between them and what we do here at Designers/Makers. Brick Lane is always a busy and vibrant place with tourists and locals who take an interest in contemporary design and craft so its an ideal location to create the weekly market.
There are a wave of new makers and artisans out there. Why do you think that is?
I am always surprised and inspired by the work of designers who contact me to either become members or to take part in the market; both from the UK and other areas of Europe. I think more and more people are choosing a way of working that reflects their interests, values and lifestyle over money. There does seem to be this burst of people setting up small ‘kitchen table’ businesses which perhaps is inevitable when we look at how easy it is now to sell to a mass market – creating beautiful e-commerce websites is fairly easy or being part of a larger group such as Designers/Makers, Etsy or Not On The High street makes selling work easier and also the possibility to run a start up through crowd funding websites rather than risky loans. In many ways it has become easier for the artisan to make a living from their work and reach a larger audience than it was some 10 years ago.
You talk of embedding the social back into shopping. How will the market achieve this?
Designers/Makers have always run collaborative projects, in the early days i took on projects just to make contacts rather than money and this can sometimes be the case for the makers taking part – often it is more about the people you talk to, the contacts you make over how much profit you take. A ‘successful market day’ could be achieved by an order that comes through 6 months later. Having that interaction between maker and customer is so important. We are creating The Artisan Talks so that the community of sellers and the public can have an opportunity to share ideas and interests with a broader community of artisans and creative organisations. The Bloggers Brunch is something we have been running a while at our events – its always been a great initiative and bridges the gap between maker and the design enthusiast; this will be a monthly event that Bloggers can apply to take part in through our website.
‘The Artisan Talks’ sound exciting. What can we expect?
It is exciting! we are working hard to create a regular programme of talks and workshops from a range of individuals and organisations. November will include a talk from your good selves at The Holborn along with guest speakers and the week after we will be running a workshop by social enterprise London Craft Club. The new year will see a series of talks and mentoring sessions from Patricia at The Design Trust who is a fountain of knowledge for anyone starting or building a design led business. Several of our stallholders have shown an interest in running workshops including bread making and terrarium building!