What inspired you to open your own bricks and mortar shop?
We had a small studio shop in Cheltenham once upon a time but we had to close it down because it wasn't working. It really threw us and made us question if that was what we wanted to do with our lives. But then another brilliant opportunity came up involving By The Yard so we thought long and hard about what we wanted to do with our lives and we realsied that if we weren't doing our bit to promote handmade then we would never be happy....so here we are...trying again.
What have been your biggest challenges?
Finding the courage to try again, to realize we had made mistakes before and to learn from them. It's also hard to ignore the pesky voices in the back of my head that tell me its all going to go wrong (but that only happens when its a little quiet)...i sound a little insane there...im not...honest.
We love that you support independent designers and makers - why do you think it is important to promote crafters?
Promoting crafters is at the core of everything we do at By The Yard. If we don't promote them people go to big chain shops and leave we factory mass produced products with no idea of who made them or how they made them. We feel really strongly that the more customers know about the item they are buying the more they connect with it. I'd much rather i was told 'the lady that makes this is in brighton, i love her work she also does this...' rather than 'I have no idea who made this.' If people don't begin to look out for the little people, the independant designers and makers out there, then people will pass them by...and that's not good.
How do you find and/or pick the products you sell in your shop?
This is a tough one, we want them to fit in with the aesthetic and look of the shop firstly and we want to make sure that they are something the people of cheltenham will be interested in. They also have to be well made and well designed.
Tell us about the workshops you run.
we run fourtnightly workshops on the 1st and 3rd monday of the month. They are called Make It Mondays and there a chance for crafty people to sit around a table together, listen to records, drink some tea and get their craft on. All of the workshops are entry level and we hope that attendees take the skills we teach them home and make more!
Where did you source all that amazing display furniture?
I'm a charity shop and boot fair demon, so i was in them every day during the run up to opening...we were just really lucky with what we found.
Any plans for the future?
We hope to have more higher skilled workshops in the new year for example sewing machine 101
What is your favourite thing about running your own shop?
My favorite part of all of this is when people leave the shop feeling inspired, so that they go home and have a try and making some things of their own, that's a good feeling. Its also wonderful when people say things like 'everywhere i look things keep popping out at me...it's a delight for my eyes!' that makes us smile up to our eyes when that happens.
Check out their website: www.bytheyardcheltenham.co.uk and if you happen to be in Cheltenham, pop into their shop: By The Yard, Cheltenham, St James Sreet, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 1DX