It’s coming to the Christmas Market time of year again: this year is a bit different as it’s not so easy for everyone to get out and about. Julie Gray and Chloe Baines started the local virtual xmas market at the beginning of October with the aim of helping other small businesses to work together and allowing people to shop from their own homes.
Sarah Gould runs Nature’s Gift Boutique as part of the market. She sells up to date and unique clothing for babies and young children. I asked Sarah how it all started. She said:
“After the birth of our daughter, Trinity-May, on the 23rd June 2020 during Covid-19 and lockdown, we struggled to find trendy, unique, fun and functional clothing for both our new-born daughter and our two-year-old son. We ordered from the usual shops and struggled to get the clothing we liked in the sizes we needed too!”
Sarah is keen on unique products and so all of her products are of limited design and her shop is updated on a regular basis with funky, new and seasonal designs.
Her family recently moved from Birmingham to Blyth and they have found everyone here to be welcoming and friendly.
Nature’s Gift sponsors a local charity, The Jack Ward Inclusion Initiative, and donates 5% of each order. Sarah explains that she wanted to give back to the community and describes a bit more about the charity.
“Jack Ward is an eight-year-old boy with autism. In fighting for a diagnosis and access to the correct level of educational support, his mother Stephanie realised that a lot of information was not readily available to the general public. This meant that an already tiresome and difficult process was made twice as hard.”
“Over the past eight years, Stephanie and her team accumulated a lot of information and links with services, and so, in 2019, meetings began to see how they could support people with this information. They support adults and children with additional vulnerabilities in their life, whether that relates to a disability, gender or sexuality, social class, social isolation, mental health or other physical health conditions. They have a ‘no man left behind’ attitude and do whatever they can to help people live the best life they can, with all the support they are entitled to.”
Natures Gift Boutique also cares about the environment using recycled or recyclable, packaging, labels, business cards, thank you cards and paper.
I asked Sarah about her views on a virtual xmas market:
“The idea of the virtual markets on Facebook is a great idea. It puts all local businesses in once place where on most occasions you would not even know that the business existed! It keeps people in jobs.”
“Joining the virtual markets I have not only been able to promote my business but also made new friends which has been great for me as I am new to the area and don’t have family up here.”