Handmade Here: London Calling

Noisette Marketing, London Handmade, We Make London, England Handmade{image credit: top-jimbob art, maaPstudio, joheckett, Cecily Vessey}

by Isa Maria Seminega of Noisette Marketing

One of the things I love most about handmade is the opportunity it affords makers to join together and form collective groups all with the same ideals. The handmade community in my hometown of London is, as to be expected, very large. There is an abundance of different groups available and We Make London is one of them. We Make started in 2008 after the founders Mary McDermott and Jo Armitage met in the Etsy forums. They were looking for craft fairs in the London area and the idea for We Make craft fairs was born. Since their first fair in June 2008, We Make has grown from a small charity run hall to now frequenting the luxurious Old Chelsea Town Hall on the Kings Road. From 30 stalls at their first event to over 80 at their last one in December, We Make is a growing network, showcasing handmade talent in London.
Noisette Marketing, London Handmade, We Make London, England Handmade

{image credit: Create Make Bake via flickr, A Alicia Accessories, JustNoey}

Essentially, We Make is a collective of handmade designer/makers who wanted somewhere outside of online marketplaces to sell and share their work. Despite London being so large, back in 2008 there were not many contemporary art and crafts fairs. As well as organizing and putting on a summer and Christmas fair each year, We Make also supports stall holders and they have a blog where they feature exhibitors through out the year.

Like London itself, We Make London is an eclectic mix of makers. They are “a wide range of innovative and unique designers whose handmade work includes jewellery, clothing, art, bags, soap, baby items”. They include some of the best and forward thinking designers in London and it is truly a joy attending their fairs.
Noisette Marketing, London Handmade, We Make London, England Handmade{image credit: Etsy Storque We Make feature)

As well as being great to hang out with other like-minded people, it makes good marketing sense to be part of a collective. Being part of a group can help make people stand up and take notice. It is a lot harder to ignore a group when approaching press and media.  It introduces you to a wider network, each member of the collective has their own network of friends and family who you may not have otherwise have been able to reach.
It can also give you confidence in your work. Collectives are great for helping artists to grow in confidence, the camaraderie of being part of a team when you are starting out is invaluable.
Two heads are better than one. Being part of a collective can be helpful when brainstorming new ideas or collaborating on new work.

If you want to start a collective in your local community you can start by talking to people. Once you have a core team willing to get involved you can divide the work up into manageable tasks. Use your contacts; spread the word and amazing things can be achieved!