Cardiff Christmas Market 2020 

Roaringly Precious at Cardiff Christmas Market 2020

I adore Christmas. It is one of my favourite times of year. There is a special twinkle in the air, I feel like everyone is a little nicer and random public singing is a little more tolerated. I love being with family and gathering – which I’ll miss this year due to the horrific coronavirus. I am a total foody as well so having an excuse to be surrounded by yumminess and wearing many layers is a blessing and a curse! Sitting by warm fires eating puddings and drinking hot chocolate is a total delight. I also love markets and there always seems to be so many at Christmas! I love the variety and the craftmanship that you often find. I love talking to the stall owners and hearing about their craft and the products they make, buying something unique for a loved one to enjoy. I couldn’t control my excitement when I was accepted to exhibit at the Craft*Folk Cardiff Christmas Market. Every year I would visit and imagine myself having my own little wooden hut one day full of garments I had made and now it was happening, it was a little dream come true!

Three weeks before the market I launched our website so had been franticly busy trying to get all the final samples finished, photographed and uploaded. I'd spent weeks writing out all the text and proof reading, which with my dyslexia is no easy task, but we got there in the end, my sister was a champion helper. I then had to get all the branding and signage designed and ready, which I had never done before. I had never exhibited at a market before so I did not know what would attract people’s attention and catch the eye. By now, I’ve learnt its very much trial and error. I then spent a number of days and nights making up stock so that, should I manage to grab Christmas shopper’s attention I had something for them to take home! It was a lot, but I loved it all, I was so excited to see people’s reactions to the designs, fabrics and just the idea. I found I didn’t need sleep! This turned out to be a romantic notion my body put a stop to!

When I got to the market for set up, my father came and lit up the hut with his Star Wars laser lights. I positioned everything in what I thought may be the correct place. I quickly learnt I had no idea where the correct place for things would be! As a designer I know what I’m doing in the studio making clothes but realized as a stall holder I was a beginner. It wouldn’t be till day 6 we would stop rearranging the ROARINGLY PRECIOUS hut and finally find a layout that worked, good thing my mother’s favourite activity is moving furniture. It wasn’t until day 7 we settled on the front door signage, every night I would come home and laminate a new sign to go up the next day, trying to find the exact wording that caught people’s attention, we found it in the end so we could make the most of our last few days!

The market was wonderful, sitting with the garments I had designed, made and was now selling around me. I was delighted to be out even in the freezing cold and with a mask on, social distancing. I felt like we stood out, a clothing company offering easy dress clothing inspired by people living with dementia. Whoever stopped I’d say hello and deliver my passionate and detailed explanation about each garment, what we did, how we did it and why. I learnt, not everyone wants to know the ins and outs of your company’s life story when they’re Christmas shopping, which is fair enough really!! However, many showed great interest and were delighted to have found me and thought my garments would really help improve the quality of life for their loved one. It was fantastic to see people liking the styles I had created, the fabrics and prints. Everything I have spent over a year working on, people were suddenly engaging with and giving positive feedback on, which was wonderful! I was also learning from people what I could add to the collection and other properties I could build into the garments that would be helpful. Many health care professionals stopped and gave feedback showing I was meeting the needs of those I had designed for and offering ideas of how to share the company name and become more known within hospitals, care homes and social care services.

I also spent some of my time walking around the market doing my own Christmas shopping. On my journey I met several brilliant women all so talented making their own unique products perfect for Christmas gifts.

Juals candles -
Juals Candles is a company based in South Wales that makes hand poured artisan candles, wax melts and handmade diffusers. With many amazing scents all the products are vegan and cruelty free in eco friendly packaging. A perfect sensory gift for a loved one!

Seaforth Designs -
Seaforth designs is a company founded by textile artist, Emma Iles and is based in the coastal fishing village of Solva, Pembrokeshire. The rugged local landscape and wildlife are inspiration for many of Emma’s handmade cushion designs which are made from re-used Harris tweeds and Melin Tregwynt Wool, in collaboration with the local Solva Woolen mill. A cosy gift to warm a loved one!

Sherbet chic –
Sherbet Chic is a luxury hand sanitizer brand hand poured in Cardiff and created by Jess, who founded her company after normal hand sanitizers left her hands very sore and dry. Sherbet Chic is different in many ways, not only does it contain a moisturizing ingredient leaving your hands feeling cared for but also offers a range of gorgeous scents and is certified with a medical grade of 70% alcohol. The perfect treat for a loved one during this challenging pandemic.

Projects from Yarn -
Projects from Yarn is a company based in South Wales, and was founded by Larisa who makes colorful handknitted and crochets creations such as scarfs, hats, mittens, bottle holders and much more. A beautiful and comforting gift for a loved one.

From my experience at the market I learnt, creating a business and brand is a journey. Although it feels like I’m quite far into that journey, as I have been working on this project behind the scenes for about 3 years, to the outside world my company is a baby only a few months old. I have developed my product, I created a platform to sell that product on but I now need to market to Wales and the wider UK what my product is so that those it’ll benefit will hear about it. I am quickly learning as ROARINGLY PRECIOUS grows that I cannot just be a designer, I must be a maker, an administrator, a marketer, A BOSS! Having your own business is an exciting, rewarding, and freeing thing but it is also a lot of unknowns and new experiences. As I spent every day explaining and talking about my garments I stepped closer and closer to understanding my customers, my market and the quality of garment I want and need to supply. It consolidated the direction I want to take ROARINGLY PRECIOUS in.

Being at the Christmas market was a dream, I can hardly believe it happened! Having the opportunity to talk with so many people passing by, learning about their individual struggles and stories was an absolute privilege and moments I will treasure. Being an exhibitor was so much more than I expected, it has been a real building block in the house of ROARINGLY PRECIOUS, helping us to focus as we move forward and inspired us to create a company people will want to invest in.

 I hope you have enjoyed this little insight into the world of ROARINGLY PRECIOUS as we grow and have a wonderful Christmas! Until next time, stay well and enjoy our ROARINGLY PRECIOUS take on a Christmas film classic below! Sara x 

Posted in What we've been up to! on 9th December 2020 at 11:54am.