BRINGING THE JOY OF CRAFTING TO SOUTH EAST LONDON, SOLO CRAFT FAIRS FOUNDERS CATHERINE AND REBECCA DISCUSS THEIR FIRST YEAR SUCCESS

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From an idea over a Christmas drink to running some of the most successful craft fairs in the south of London, Catherine & Rebecca have created something truly harmonious with their SoLo Craft Fairs. Tailoring each fair to the venue and stall holders they create a magical environment for all ages to escape for a day. With an ever increasing array of stall holders and content we caught up with founders Catherine and Rebecca to find out how their first year has been and what they’ve got in store for 2017. 

Tell us about why you decided to set up SoLo Craft Fair and how it works?

We came up with the idea of SoLo Craft Fair over a Christmas drink last year in Catford Constitutional Club in South East London - both being stallholders and from the area we were saying how lovely it would be to do a stall in such a beautiful venue.  We also saw that  South London in general didn't have too much going on in comparison to other parts of London so it was the perfect opportunity to showcase local talent and get Catford on the crafting map!  

In addition to the location we wanted to make a craft fair with a difference, something that really focused on the customer experience. We make sure we choose a variety of stalls, have entertainment and always try and make sure it's a family friendly event so people can make a day of it!

The fairs themselves run throughout the year and cover a variety of season, holidays and occasions. How do you decide which you’d like to focus on, and where to host them?

We run events in venues which have character and charm, which perfectly complement our stallholders.  We tailor each event and range of stallholders to suit the venue itself, so with Buster Mantis in Deptford for one of our events there we had a DJ, Stitch & Bitch workshop, free gingerbread men and the stalls we had varied from vintage clothing to local artists to urban, quirky and bold jewellery to handmade beard oils.  Whereas in Balham it was more suited to a family event so we arranged live music, jive dancers, free popcorn, a Santa's Grotto, workshops and stalls varying from local art to homeware to more children friendly stalls.

With the festive season well and truly upon us, SoLo must have been fairing it up, which was your favourite of the festive fairs this year?

We have had five fairs, so have been very busy (looking forward to some sleep over Christmas!).  It is so hard to choose as all the events were quite different, but as this is our first year of events we would have to go with our Vintage Wonderland at Balham Bowls Club as that was our last event of the year, as well as some of our stallholders last event they were attending so everyone was on such a high!  The atmosphere in the room was amazing as it was such a busy event, we finished the day with the Balham Bowls Ukulele society playing Christmas songs and everyone was singing along. 

That being said we have had such wonderful stallholders and everyone at the venues have been great to work with so we have been on a high for a lot of our events!

You guys also help to get the word out with the various events happening across London from the classic ‘Stitch and Bitch’ to the more unusual like last weekends ‘Terrarium making’, what drives you to share and get involved with the various crafting events happening across our capital?

We love supporting independent business's, local artists and workshop leaders, as creativity can bring so much joy to someone! What's wonderful about doing something creative is that you can do it across most ages and people can do it together! By having such great workshops at our events means people can spend a few hours at our events, get to know people, learn a new craft, take something away with them and who knows, they may be encouraged to start their own business.

You also run a blog from your website, tell us more about what you’re blogging about and why you decided to start blogging?

Our blog features are mainly around our stallholders and other small creative businesses.  We wanted to create a platform to share their stories of why they started, what they have learnt from it and what they would advise to other people wanting to start a business.  We hope by having this we can inspire others to take risks/try something new/go outside their comfort zone and follow their dreams.


 

I’ve got to ask as we’re about to ring in the New Year, which event are you both looking forward to most next year?

We are excited for our Easter market at Prince of Wales in Brixton, which we will soon be releasing more details on.  This is a venue and location which we haven't done before so it's all very new to us, but have been wanting to do an event there for ages. Also, at SoLo Craft Fair we love a challenge and can't wait to get started again in the New year!

CHECK OUT THEIR UPCOMING FAIRS AT www.solocraftfair.com 

OR FOLLOW THEM ON SOCIAL MEDIA @solocraftfair 

INTERVIEW by HANNAH SMITH

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