In this month’s ‘keeping it local’ article, I do things slightly differently… because I’m not just buying, I’m also selling!
Now that I’m getting into the swing of shopping locally more often and doing my bit to support local businesses by adjusting my shopping habits, it’s interesting to see how things are from the other side of the fence – that is, as someone that’s selling as well as buying.
The perfect opportunity arose for me when I was lucky enough to get a stall in the crafters’ tent at the Criccieth Food Slam.
I’d been to the Menai Bridge Food Slam a couple of weeks previously (these are organised by the Anglesey Food Group – you can find out more about them at the Best of Anglesey website) and had a really good time. The atmosphere was fantastic; as well as lots of delicious food and several craft stalls, there was live music and children’s entertainment too. It was an evening event and it was a beautiful warm, sunny evening, and everyone was milling around with smiles on their faces, short sleeves and sunglasses, drinking their favourite tipple and enjoying the great food and music.
When I managed to secure a spot as a seller at Criccieth, I hadn’t realised that the event would be much bigger than Menai Bridge. It was held on the Esplanade, a huge grassy area on Criccieth’s long seafront, and there were dozens of amazing stalls selling, among other things, local mussels, local ice cream (I had the blueberry flavour – yum yum!), pizzas, Welsh alcoholic drinks and even haloumi wraps (I had one for lunch and it was exquisite!)
I arrived at 9.30am, knowing that it would be a long day (the event was due to finish at 10pm). I’m very glad I packed a folding chair and a huge bottle of water, because it would be a long time to be standing on my feet.
What I didn’t know, however, was just how busy the day would be!
Almost from the off – the gate opened at midday – it was jam packed with people. And it was only a very short amount of time before I started selling! I was so delighted to be able to sell so many of my products; the glass solar lanterns were very popular that day, but I also sold several other painted glass pieces as well as several pieces of jewellery and a good few Welsh language greetings cards. The little organza bags stuffed with dried lavender from my garden also went down well.
I spoke to my fellow stallholders at various points throughout the day and discovered that most of them had also had a very successful day. The man next to me, selling beautiful hand-crafted slate jewellery (“it’s not jewellery, it’s wearable art!” he insisted) seemed to do exceptionally well, with an American customer buying several pieces as gifts for friends back home.
The entertainment during the day was very good too, and the highlight for me was singing along with Meic Stevens to ‘Y Brawd Houdini’ towards the end of his set. It’s an old favourite and it was great to hear it as the sun went down in this very beautiful location at the end of a really successful day of selling.
Having seen the effects of buying locally from the perspective of a seller, I’m more convinced than ever that buying locally – just an item at a time, or a fiver a week – can really make a difference. And visiting these events to show your face, enjoy the sunshine and the scenery (or brave the rain, as the case may be) and let local businesses know they have your support, even if you only spend a pound or two, really is a great service to your local community.
So if you’re in Gwynedd this summer and there’s a craft fair, food fair or carnival taking place near you, please do go along. You’ll have fun, you’ll support your local economy, and you may even pick up a bargain or two!