BTEC Textiles student shows entrepreneurial skills
A YOUNG designer is setting out her stall to becoming a business entrepreneur.
Cleveland College of Art & Design textile student Ebony Leach has staged her second major craft fair in the North East after seeing a gap in the market for designer makers.
Ebony, 19, of Middridge, who makes her own handmade crafts said: “I started making lengths of bunting and small wooden ornaments and was asked if I wanted to sell them at a local craft fair.
“When I turned up there were only five stalls there and I thought that I could do a much better job at organising a fair myself.”
Using Facebook, Ebony set about contacting designers and craft sellers across the North East inviting them to sell at her events at Shildon Leisure Centre.
“At the first fair we had about 30 stalls which was great,” said Ebony. “But this time we have had more than 60 people wanting to buy a table, including handbag sellers, knitters, crafters, designers, jewellery makers, gift sellers even a beautician, face painter, popcorn seller and a bouncy castle.
“I don’t make a massive profit after costs but it’s really more about giving designer makers and people with their own craft business an outlet to sell to the public. It’s great seeing it all come together and so many people coming in to buy.”
Alongside the craft and gift stalls the event also featured a giant raffle with all funds being donated to the charity Sturge Weber UK.
Jackie Ebdon, who works on the textiles degree courses at The Northern School of Art Hartlepool, set up her own stall selling hand knitted and textile gifts, said: “I think it’s very entrepreneurial for Ebony to organise this event.
“It’s really important that there are fairs like this across the region to give designer makers like me the opportunity to sell to the public.”
Selling giftware and home accessories through her newly launched business Lucy Lockets, Adele Barrett, 45, of Newton Aycliffe, said: “It’s great to have a local fair where people can all come together and see what crafts and designs are available within their own community.
“It’s also a good opportunity to pick up some great individual handcrafted gifts that you just can’t buy on the high street.”
Ebony, who is in her second year studying BTEC extended diploma in fashion and textiles at The Northern School of Art’s Middlesbrough campus, plans to put her event organising skills to good use by launching her own business after completing her course.
“I’ll continue to put on craft fairs for a while but what I’d really like to do is open my own underwear shop,” she said.
“At The Northern School of Art they really encourage you to think for yourself and focus on your future career goals.
“With the skills and knowledge I’ve gained from my course and from organising the craft fairs I think I’ve definitely found my entrepreneurial niche.”