Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Individual Fashion Retail

This week we have an article from Louise who owns a bricks and mortar shop, Blue Ginger. she talks about hand made clothing and we will be exploring trends in the arts business in a further article.
"I have always been interested in art and design but was never sure which path to take. After finishing my A levelsand a foundation in art and design, I chose a Craft course at Cumbria Institute of the Arts. The course covered a wide range of crafts such as embroidery, print, ceramics and weave. Due to the fact I was still a little clueless as to what I wanted to do in life this degree was brilliant as I was given the opportunity to try so many different areas before finally choosing my final subject, Ceramics!!
I left Cumbria in 2004 and fell in to various jobs nothing to do with art and decided to do a bit of travelling. I stayed with parents in Singapore for 4 months trying to work out what career path I should take, Whilst doing this I did a teaching course on precious metal clay, very interesting and I hope to use it in the future.
On arriving back in the UK decided I wanted to give it a go at setting up my own business making my own jewellery and ceramics. I contacted
Airedale Business Enterprise in West Yorkshire, UK, for help who suggested The Prince’s Trust. Airedale Business Enterprise helped me with my business plan and I had interview with Princes Trust panel to put forward my ideas. They gave me a loan to set up a workshop, but only for the jewellery. I thought this was brilliant and got to work straight away making jewellery and selling at craft fairs and jewellery parties
I decided to set up the shop Blue Ginger as it has always been a dream. I thought it would be ideal to have a workshop and place to sell in one. As before I went to Airedale Business Enterprise for help, I can strongly recommend local business agencies, all help and advice is free and as I have continued in business they are still helping.
After a year in the planning I opened Blue Ginger in July 2008. I source jewellery and clothing from the Far East, and also handmade work from the U.K with my own handmade jewellery, clothing and accessories, there is a good mix for all ages and tastes.
I really love working for myself as I spend lots of time making always having a project on the go, this is a real benefit because the shop can be lonely sometimes working on my own you can go hours without having any interaction with any one, however because I have an area in the shop where I can work on my jewellery and clothing I become engrossed in the work and hardly notice. The only other downside of having the shop would just be the stress of not knowing what is round the corner, because there is always a risk with business and you have to always be thinking of new ideas to get people in the shop and also keep them interested.
The one piece of advice for someone who is thinking of going in to business is to just go for it, if you have the passion and skills there is no harm in giving it a try. Yes, it is hard work but if you do make it the rewards will be so worthwhile.
For the future I hope to continue with the shop and try to make it a success, I am also setting up jewellery classes from the shop and hopefully precious metal clay courses. I would also like to go back to university to do a fashion degree, I love making clothes at the shop and would like to learn more about the construction of clothing."

Louise Fyffe.
Blue Ginger
Royal Arcade Low Street Keighley
West Yorkshire


  1. Blimey - I think I need to move back up North. keighley is sounding great!

  2. Yes, it's funny but since the recession Keighley seems to be going through a regeneration with lots more going on.

  3. Fantastic article wish we had more shops like this on the high street.