Hello, everyone – Tom here. Now that we’ve all fully recovered from our #PortsConsortXmas #EtsyMadeLocal Christmas market earlier this month, I wanted to swing by and tell you all a few things that, to be honest, you probably already know. Oh, and to share a few photos from the event!
First of all, I want to send out a big thank you to all those who participated. These 13 sellers, all selected from our Etsy team, made the market what it was; without them, it couldn’t have happened. Their creativity and character made the days absolutely fly by. They were all both professional and fun, and each and every one proved they’re a credit to small and independent art, craft, design, handmade and vintage businesses. I consider them an inspiration.
I then want to thank our hosts The Square Tower. We couldn’t have asked for more from our location this year – I mean, how many other handmade and independent markets do you know who set up shop this year in an old maritime defence constructed in the Tudor period?! As well as being a gorgeous-looking venue, it was delightfully warm – a welcome refuge from the chilly seaside winds! The Square Tower continues to host events for members of Portsmouth’s creative communities, so keep en eye out for their regular happenings.
The wonderful Les Black of Where’s me jumper? deserves a special mention for being our DJ on the Friday night. I wish you all could have seen his face when he walked in and saw where he’d be spinning the (Christmas) decks* for our disco. I did warn him that playing a craft market would be the weirdest gig he’d ever do, and I loved being proved right. We all had a wonderful time dancing along to his 80s, 90s and indie mix!
We engaged the services of a student at the University of Portsmouth to do the photography for our event – it’s a selection of his images you can see in the below gallery. We enjoyed having him along to our Etsy Made Local market as much as he said he enjoyed covering it; we wish him nothing but the best for the rest of his studies and for what will no doubt be a long and rewarding career in the creative industries.**
Our friends and colleagues at the nearby Hotwalls Studios (literally just down the road from where we were) hosted their Festive Creative Market on the Saturday, and we each made sure we told people about the other’s event; they’re proud to share in our view of collaboration and co-operation over and ahead of competition amongst creative communities. Keep an eye on them for their regular open studios, always a wonderful opportunity to meet your local artists and artisans. We’re lucky to have them here.
Throughout this year’s Etsy Craft Party and Etsy Made Local, we’ve championed environmental responsibility amongst creative communities. As we’re a proud seaside town, we championed initiatives such as #2minutebeachclean, and worked hard to raise money for Orca, the whale and dolphin conservation charity; through event and raffle ticket sales, topped up with a little from our own pockets, we raised £80.00 for them – we had hoped they would spend it on Santa Claus hats for some of the marine creatures in the English Channel but, sigh, they’re probably going to spend it on something like volunteer training or binoculars.
We say a heartfelt thank you to those at Etsy‘s UK offices. Without them, this wouldn’t have happened. Their support enabled us to do a great thing over that first weekend of December, and the effect of both their investment and confidence in us will be felt by all those who participated and all those who bought something. Our Etsy Made Local market helped to support handmade and independent businesses, boosting our local economy, as well as providing ethical and sustainable alternatives to most of the high street for Christmas shopping.
Last, but by no means least, I’d like to say thank you to those of you who came to browse and buy at our Etsy Made Local market. This is something I say often, so you’ll forgive me if you’ve already heard it: Every time you buy handmade or independent, it’s a proud vote of confidence in the creativity, skill and sustainability of these businesses, makers and sellers. It’s a wonderful thing, really, and we hope to see you again in the future for more of the same!
*This is the last time I’ll make that pun this year – I promise.
**POST EDITED, 08 March 2017: The name of the University of Portsmouth student whose services as event photographer were engaged for our Etsy Made Local 2016 market has been removed from this post at his request.
***POST EDITED, 21 MARCH 2017: The name of the University of Portsmouth student whose services as event photographer were engaged for our Etsy Made Local 2016 market has been removed from all the images he took that are hosted on the PortsConsort website at his request.