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Craft Post: Chelmsford Community Pop-Up Art and Craft Shop

One of my items in the pop-up shop

If any of you are in or near Chelmsford or paying my city a visit, why not take a trip into High Chelmer Shopping Centre and hunt through the treasures in the pop-up art and craft shop. This pop-up shop first appeared in 2012 and was open several times throughout the year. The success and interest in the shop have meant it is back bigger and better and is packed full of products made or painted by local artists and makers.

The concept was the brainchild of Getting Around Chelmsford/ Shop Mobility Chelmsford, a registered charity providing mobility scooters and other support aids to help mums, the disabled, and anyone with mobility problems for other reasons, such as pregnancy or illness. The charity recently celebrated it's 10th Birthday, and had plenty of cake to celebrate all their hard work.

But back to the shop, which is typically open Monday-Saturday from 10-4pm, and is staffed by volunteers, many of whom are artists stocking items in the shop. I'm excited to say this is something I am involved in as a maker, and it's the first time I have sold my handcrafted cards and craft in a retail setting. I was pretty nervous when I went in to set up my space and had no idea of what to expect in terms of sales, etc. This time around the shop opened on the 25th of January so I've had a few months of sales come in now, and it's going pretty well.

The pop-up shop is a retail trend that is getting bigger, and something I wrote about for Issue 2 of Crafty Magazine. It was really interesting researching the subject, and comparing it with my own experiences. I can definitely say pop-up retail is the way to go. I am giving back to a worthy charity through a percentage of my sales, have easily made back my joining fee, and have met some new and interesting people, who have been really encouraging, not just of my craft, but of my writing as well. Encouragement and sales definitely help the inspiration as well, so since I've had my work in the shop I've bought a few new crafty toys, and tried out some new items in the shop. Always a rollercoaster, but you never know who will walk in, and what they will buy, so it's all a buzz.

I've been in the shop stocking up a good few times, and have heard some of the positive comments given to the volunteers and shop manager, and it's lovely to hear. This is a shop that gives a selling opportunity to all kinds and levels of crafter/artist and opens up retail selling to those who maybe can't afford to rent shop space or buy a stall at a craft fair. Plus it fills an empty shop with something useful, and in demand, so it's a win-win situation at the moment.

If you'd like to check out some of the artists/makers who are currently stocking items in the shop, there's a few links below, but do pay the shop a visit when it's open.

Helles Belles Art
 
  1. Chelmsford Community Pop-up Shop Facebook Group
  2. Helles Belles Art
  3. Alison John
  4. Handmade By Joli

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