Woohoo, big thanks to Ann Prax from The Best of Manchester for her suggestion on the title of my project - Local and Loved it is!
Number two of many more blogs to come about Chorlton’s indies! You may have seen the piece on Epicerie Ludo last week? Well worth a read as it also gives a little introduction about my project and my motivation behind it.
My second visit to photograph and interview a local trader took me to the Chorlton Art Market (CAM) in Chorlton’s precinct. This wonderful shop, which gives so many local designers and artist a retail platform, was set up and is run by Alice.
In her previous career, Alice had worked in health care but has simultaneously done craft fairs for a long time. When Alice has had her daughter, she spent more time in Chorlton and saw some potential in Chorlton’s precinct. Working passionately on her beliefs, Alice opened her first trial art market in the precinct at the end of 2013 and had been running little pop up markets since. Following a successful crowdfunding campaign, the opportunity for a shop unit opened up. Initially setting up for the busy Christmas period in November 2014, the Chorlton Art Market was so well perceived that Alice looked into longer-term possibilities. There were some hurdles to climb but she did it! Chorlton Art Market is now open permanently, or at least for the near future.
Working in the shop has had a positive effect on Alice’s life. Her boyfriend joined her in the business, and now both get to spend more time with their daughter as well as with each other. I guess many a self-employed would agree that, although working for yourself can be worrying at times due to high rents and business rates combined with the insecurities of a certain income, but doing what you love and you are passionate about is so rewarding and greatly outweighs other concerns and possibly even makes you work that little bit harder.
The people of Chorlton seem to love the Chorlton Art Market and some have even become repeat customers. Alice is able to greet them by name, and hence provides a customer service, which makes shopping local and at independents so special. And lets not forget the great opportunity the CAM provides for all those creatives. The CAM currently houses the work of 72 artists and designers, from vintage clothing, to baby and child items, home ware such as rugs and cushions, to cards, soaps and artwork. There is literally something for everyone and it is guaranteed that one can find a nice present in every price range. The Chorlton Art Market may entice more people visiting the precinct and possibly help it to become once again a lively community hub - Alice's vision.
Come back next week, Arison Gallery is going to be on the blog!