Posts Tagged ‘ashton court farmers market

My world grew this year. It billowed outwards and encompassed a world of new friends and touched lightly on the shoulders of business. With this alone, I am happy. I have been delighted by reciprocated kindnesses and taken aback by other’s selfless generosity. For me, this year has been about people.

I have made and sold over 200 lampshades. Selling via 5 online shops, one bricks and mortar, two pop-ups, a load of markets and fairs, and from my own home. I  have supplied wholesale and forged a partnership with an interiors supplier. More on-line shops are lined up for early next year, but they’ll be fewer markets and shows – I have to be pickier. Discovering that my grandfather was a lampshade-maker in the 50s was a joyful surprise. Over 20 people have learnt new lampshade-making skills from me. I have embraced and enjoyed social media, networking, and selling. Lampshades have been ripped apart, sold for peanuts, got squashed in boxes. Pricing and quoting has been difficult (the amount of quotes I’ve given for bespoke lampshades without a reply in response is really quite surprising, and dispiriting). I have got through 12 rotary cutters, 2 steam irons, 2 metal rules, one pair of scissors, 100m of fabric, 50m of PVC, hundreds of ringsets, roll upon roll of tape, corner punched hundreds of compliment slips, price-tagged, listed, and spent many hours ironing! Oh, the ironing.  I have grappled with a gazebo, carted around huge boxes, have frozen and fried to a crisp at various markets. I am in profit, and by a decent margin.

What does 2012 have in store? A new range of lampshades. An e-commerce enabled website. A rebrand. Perhaps my own shop on the Gloucester Road, Bristol, for one week only. What would you do, if you were owner at Quincy Lampshades?


My Dad is a hero. After abandoning the Ashton Court Farmers’ Market a few months ago due to blustery winds, I called my Dad. It took him just one day to build the ultimate wind-proof lampshade display system. Made from MDF, shower poles and pipe lagging it is the best wind-anxiety buster there is. I laughed, in fact guffawed, in the face of the odd gust of wind at the system’s first outing this weekend, and I could quite happily get on with the job of chatting to customers. He’s so brill! Here’s a wee ditty in celebration of his skills. And now I have another solution to add to the list!

To build a special chicken house,
You need a special man,
Who’ll lie in bed and think and think,
And then draw up a plan.
Hours spent at the table,
Drawing with us in mind,
Hours spent in the garage,
Building the design.
Generous heart, clever hands,
Thought and time combine,
To create a splendid chicken house,
By a Granddad great and craftsman Dad, sublime.
My boys think the world was made,
By this very special man,
With a box of tools, electric drill,
Pencil behind his ear.
Wearing an apron, a smile, and a frown until,
Skill, goodwill, hard work reveal,
A playhouse! A chicken house! Cloches for the veg!
We raise a cheer and shed a tear for all of his appeal.
I know that my Dad is great,
And I have many of his skills,
Charm, good sense, a thinky brain,
And very large nostrils.

Hubby was a great help this morning in setting up the gazebo at the Ashton Court Farmers Market. We put the sides on to stop the shades being blown away in the wind, but oh no! The sides acted like a sail and the gazebo nearly set off, even with the leg weights. Poor youngest was holding on and wailing, wailing. So the sides came off  and, with the first gust of wind and nothing to weigh them down, the shades would have gone flying. I made the decision to quit. Sophie, the market manager, was gracious and understanding.

Was I too hasty? Yes. Grappling with a gazebo, watching the children and having an eye on the disappearing time rattled me completely. I didn’t consider alternatives. I could have set up in the back of the car. I could have found a few weights and set up a much reduced display. Another lesson learned.

Thinking hard now to solve the windy issue. This was the set up.


Thanks to my new gazebo and table arriving this week, I am able to do the new Ashton Court Farmers Market this Sunday, 19th June! I have spent many a happy day at Ashton Court: flying kites, hunting witches, exploring the rose garden, looking for tadpoles and climbing in trees, with the cobbled courtyard and cafe being the end destination and motivator for our boys! So it will be great to set up there, surrounded by some brilliant food sellers such as Bath Pig Chorizo and Laura from I Love Crafty. Come for a walk, then have a nice cup of coffee and a browse. I may have finished grappling with the gazebo by then!

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