Meet the Makers of OHC: Made by Marianne

Ladybrid pencil case

We thought it was about time to introduce you to the makers behind our fabulous handmade goodies in-store…so, in the next of our Meet the Makers of OHC specials, please say hello to Marianne of Made by Marianne….

How did you become a designer/maker?

I always enjoyed making things from an early age and I particularly remember paper quilling, and designing cards to sell! I re-discovered sewing recently and with stock building up I decided to take a stall at a local village event. It’s then just carried on from there, with more and more people ordering from me directly,as well as supplying to local stockists like Our Handmade Collective. So I’m now sewing practically every day!

How did you choose your business name and what’s the meaning behind it?

My business name is ‘what it says on the tin’! I’ve always liked alliteration and I wanted to reinforce the handmade nature of my products.

 Do you run your business full time or balance another job as well?

My business has really taken off after having my 2 children, as I really wanted to stay at home and be around for them as much as possible, so the sewing is ideal as I can work flexible hours. It does mean I work some strange and often late hours though!

What’s your favourite thing about running your business?

I love the freedom of thinking up an idea, designing it, then bringing it to life with fabric. I also really enjoy the personalised commissions and knowing that someone’s received an extra special and bespoke gift.

Of all the things you’ve ever made, which has been your favourite?

One of my favourites would have to be the Tour de France cushions I made to celebrate the race starting in Yorkshire for the first time in 2014. I wanted to incorporate the theme of cycling with Yorkshire highlights like rolling hills and sheep! They proved to be really popular and I struggled to keep up with the demand for them!

 Fox cushion2

Sheep row 2 cropped

Describe your business in three words

Creative, Bespoke, Personal

We also loved your Tour de France Sheep themed cushions Marianne! Thanks so much for dropping by and telling us your story. You can find the Made By Marianne collection in store now.

See you at the shop x

How to fill your OHC loyalty card in 3 visits!

Hello! You know how we do like to look after you all as best as we can – whether it’s helping you to find that perfect gift, booking one of our craft classes, giving you directions or recommendation for great places to eat and drink, and of course reminding you to take advantage of, quite frankly, what we consider to be THE best loyalty card out there….and once your card is full you get 10% off your next purchase so you can even treat yourself!

All you need is 10 stamps on your card and that 10% off is all yours :) ’10 stamps’ we hear you say, ‘that might take me a while!’.  Well, if it does, that’s no problem as your loyalty card has no time limit, but, here’s how you can fill your card in just 3 visits to us!

loyalty cardVisit 1:

1. Make a purchase and you get a stamp.

2. Check in with us on facebook while instore and you get a stamp.

3. Buy an OHC shopper bag and you get a stamp.

That’s 3 stamps already!

Visit 2:

1. Bring your fabulous OHC shopper bag back to reuse it for your purchases and you get a stamp.

2. Make a purchase and you get a stamp.

2. Check in with us on facebook while instore and you get a stamp.

That’s 6 stamps so far…..

Visit 3:

1. Bring your fabulous OHC shopper bag back again to reuse it for your purchases and you get a stamp.

2. Make a purchase and you get a stamp.

2. Check in with us on facebook while instore and you get a stamp.

That’s 9 stamps! You’re there, you’ve done it!

On your 4th visit you can redeem your completed loyalty card for 10% off your purchases…..and if you bring your fabulous OHC shopper bag with you and check in on facebook you’ve already got 2 stamps on your next card 😉


But what if you forget your loyalty card?!

We often hear ‘I haven’t got it with me’ or ‘It’s in my other purse/wallet/bag’.  Well, we can help with that as well as you can now leave your loyalty card instore with us, we’ll file it away nice and safe for you and you’ll never need to worry about forgetting it again!  Just ask us when you next pop in :)

See you at the shop!

Claire & Nat x

Meet the Makers of OHC: Lydia Teapot


We thought it was about time to introduce you to the makers behind our fabulous handmade goodies in-store…so, in the next of our Meet the Makers of OHC specials, please say hello to Lynn of Lydia Teapot….

How did you become a designer/maker?

I started crafting seriously when I had my Son 24 years ago. I have tried my hand at lots of different things but sewing is by far my favourite and helps me relax.

How did you choose your business name and what’s the meaning behind it?

Lydia Teapot is a nickname that we used to call me Nanna Lydia. “Lid of your Teapot / Lydia Teapot” – I’m not sure if she found it at all funny…

 Do you run your business full time or balance another job as well?

I have a full time job as a support worker for Adults with Learning Disabilities.

 How do you fit it all in and keep that balance?

I work shifts and so can fit my crafting in around those – I also work late evenings if I have a rush order to finish.

What’s your favourite thing about running your business?

I love making things that make other people smile. To turn a piece of fabric into something that someone else loves gives me lots of pleasure.

 Of all the things you’ve ever made, which has been your favourite?

Memory Bears are my favourite to make as they mean such a lot to people, weather its from baby grows or sentimental clothing items – they are all so  special.


Describe your business in three words

Handmade, Sewing, Happiness

We can certainly agree with that Lynn! Thanks so much for dropping by and telling us your story. You can find the Lydia Teapot collection in store now.

See you at the shop x

Meet the Makers of OHC: Life’s Big Canvas

We thought it was about time to introduce you to the makers behind our fabulous handmade goodies in-store…so, in the next of our Meet the Makers of OHC specials, please say hello to our own Paper Folding Ninja, Chloe of Life’s Big Canvas….

How did you become a designer/maker?

I used to be a manager in a dental surgery, but I eventually found it unfulfilling once the NHS changed how dentists were run. I had enjoyed talking to people, helping them when they needed it, and supporting staff, and wasn’t interested in making money. I was signed off with severe depression, and found myself needing hobbies, so I took up drawing and painting again. I haven’t stopped in six years!

How did you choose your business name and what’s the meaning behind it?

I was booking a craft fair, and they asked for a business name. I didn’t know what to say, so I asked my online friends. Bel came up with Life’s Big Canvas, from the Danny Kaye quote – ‘life is like a big canvas, throw all the paint you can on it’. I liked the quote, it’s so joyful, and definitely the sort of person I am, and I also liked that it didn’t particularly describe what I did. I’m always changing what I want to do.

Do you run your business full time or balance another job as well?

I run it full time. I’m very lucky that I have room at home for a space just for working, and my husband is also a full time artist, so our house is usually both of us making stuff or doing admin, surrounded by cats and paper.

chloe working

How do you fit it all in and keep that balance?

I would rather make stuff that do almost anything, so I am not good at making time for housework, that’s for sure.

What’s your favourite thing about running your business?

I can choose when and where I work, how many hours, and I can say yes or no. For me, it’s the hours I choose which is the most important thing. I get to make stuff for 16 hours a day if I want to, and I very often do. I try not to though; I got repetitive strain injury from making badges last year which put me out of action for weeks! It also means if my depression rears its head, I can take time out. I don’t like letting people down, so if I know I have a workshop or event coming up, I’ll take time to rest before and after so I can be the best Pesky I can be during those times.

Of all the things you’ve ever made, which has been your favourite?

I used to make mainly jewellery, and I made some stuff that still makes me laugh out of old toys. My ladders and sunrays made from Barbie arms were two pieces which became a real talking point when they were in my old shop. I was also fond of my barbecue necklace, which had food and utensils clipped onto it, with a matching campfire bracelet to cook the food on.

barbie arms 1bunting seahorses (5)

Describe your business in three words

Paper is everything

We adore the trail of Origami creatures and creations which follow you around Chloe! Thanks so much for dropping by and telling us your story. You can find the Life’s Big Canvas collection in store now.

See you at the shop x

A Christmas Shopping Savings Scheme with a difference!


On this bright and sunny summer afternoon, we’re actually daring to say it…the dreaded ‘C’ word. Christmas.  It’s on it’s way.  For those of you who don’t want to know, look away now but (at time of writing) Christmas is only 140 days away! Aarrrggghhhh!

days to xmas 2016

Now, you know how much we adore Christmas here in OHC (and it does feel a little bit Christmas all year round in store!), but the cost of paying for Christmas can get really out of hand – the search for the ‘perfect’ gifts, the ever increasing costs of said gifts, the ever increasing Santa wish lists, and so on.

So, it occurs to us – why not use our Gift Vouchers to good effect as an alternative Christmas Shopping Savings scheme? Spread the cost and the Christmas cheer!

Pick up some vouchers when you’re shopping in store and save them up to use closer to Christmas on your Festive gift shopping :)

gift vouchers

Our vouchers have a 6 month validity for use and are available in £5, £10 and £20 so you can help spread the cost and make it a little easier on your pocket.

And even better, save your vouchers to spend at our Mince Pies, Mistletoe and Mulled Wine Christmas Shopping Event on Thursday 3rd November and you’ll get 10% off your purchases too – and free mince pies and mulled wine while you shop – double bonus!

See you at the shop,

Claire & Natalie x

By Eck, it’s Yorkshire Day!


By Eck! It’s Yorkshire Day on 1st August, celebrating all that’s truly glorious about God’s Own County…

And we’re lucky in more ways than one, as not only do we have a reet good selection of products proclaiming our love of Yorkshire, we also have more than 60 proud Yorkshire folk to provide us with those goodies!



And in true Yorkshire hospitality, if you pop in to see us this weekend and tell us the phrase that pays you’ll receive a free gift with your purchase, and an extra stamp on your loyalty card too!

‘What’s the phrase that pays?’ we hear you say….. It comes to us courtesy of Becky of Guitar Geekery, who’s grandpop always used to say to her:

Ey up lass, by eck, it’s champion is that!”

Just quote the #phrasethatpays to us this weekend when you’re at the counter and get yourself a little free gift as a thank you for supporting all of our talented Yorkshire makers!


See you at the shop,

Claire & Natalie x


Can we ask you a quick favour please?

Oooh, we’re very excited here at OHC!

Do you remember when we won our lovely Leeds Love Affair Best Place to Shop in Leeds trophy? With our cheesy grins and happy little faces? And of course, the very charming Mr Burton of Educating Yorkshire fame who gave us our award :)

LLA award with Mattt

Just look at those exceptionally cheesy grins from both of us!

Now, you may have already heard us mention that the fabulous folk at Leeds Love Affair are holding their Independent Awards again this summer  – and the nominations are now open!

We would of course absolutely LOVE to retain our crown and win Best Place to Shop again – and that’s where we need your help with a little favour if possible….

Could you spare a quick few seconds to nominate us? We’d be ever so grateful and will do our happy dance! (But we promise we won’t sing cos we’ve finally got some sunshine and we don’t want to spoil it!)

It’s really simple to cast your nominations – just visit the Leeds Love Affair website and nominate us under the Best Place to Shop category (number 4):

You don’t have to complete any of the other categories (unless you want to of course) and you don’t have to enter any personal information.  And, you can even nominate more than once so if you really think we deserve it you could nominate us again 😉
Our previous blog post about our win reminded us just how much it meant to us at the time to win – and we still feel that way now, two years later! Our trophy has pride of place on our counter and it makes us smile on a daily basis! We’re so very proud of the achievements of our little shop and are humbled that you guys love what we do so much <3



With crossed fingers and toes,

Claire & Natalie x

#LeedsIndieAwards #BestPlacetoShopinLeeds #OHCLeeds #LeedsLoveAffair

Creative Craft Classes: Wire Sculpting with Sophie Dumont Designs

We’re really loving our Creative Craft Classes over at Our Handmade Collective. We’ve had some excellent students, laughing, chatting, drinking tea and eating cake and we hope lots more will join us soon! This month we’re excited to be holding a new to us class, being run by the lovely Sophie of Sophie Dumont Designs!

We caught up with Sophie to ask her a couple of questions ahead of her class….

Sophie from Sophie Dumont Designs – Wire Sculpting

“Join Sophie of Sophie Dumont Designs to sculpt gorgeous gifts, home decorations and keepsakes from wire. 
You’ll learn the necessary twisting and shaping skills to bring your sketches into three dimensional wire decorations. Using variations of wire thickness, the pieces you’ll create will be perfect to frame, hang as a mobile, mount as a stunning wall sculpture, or embellish an object you already own. 
If desired, intricate details will then be added by sewing and threading materials onto the wire. 
Feel free to bring in an object, piece of wood or decorative paper that you’d like to put a wire detail to or use as a base.”


How did you first get involved in making your craft?

I’ve always been a hoarder of bits and pieces, clinging to what I think are little treasures that are bound to be useful for something! During a long summer after university my parents moved into the Somerset countryside and I suddenly had a whole wood of gorgeous materials at my disposal! I ordered some wire, clay, ripped up an old book and fell in love with the process of fiddling to create something whimsical with poetry of its own.

What made you decide to take the leap to start selling your work?

Lots of lovely comments from family and friends suggesting I should! Instagram has played a massive part in boosting my confidence and making me feel like the contents of my images could be a profession. Once I realised that all it begins with is an email or a meeting with a gallery, shop or organisation the more my confidence in my style and material grew. I never make anything I wouldn’t love to have around me myself so it’s wonderful if others are taking pleasure in it too!

IMG_2314 photo 3 copy

What are you most looking forward to about running your workshop?

I’m excited to share my love of the materials I use, especially wire. I can’t wait to see what playful creations people come up with and what they conjure from basic materials.

I’m also looking forward to seeing how others work, whether they get inspired from handling the materials or whether they work from a detailed sketch – I love the process and can learn from this myself. I really hope some random objects are brought in that we can get stuck into!

photo 4

To book onto Wire Sculpting or to find out more about our other Creative Craft Classes, simply pop in store or call 0113 418 2304.  You can also book in online through Eventbrite (subject to a small booking fee):

See you there – lets get creative! x

Time for feeling reflective….


Three Cupcakes With Candle

It’s almost our third birthday and as we’ve been making our party preparations and chatting about our big birthday bash this weekend we’ve heard this a lot:

‘I can’t believe it’s been three years already!‘ and ‘Is that all? It feels like so much longer!’

Looking back, it’s the same for us – in some ways it feels like we’ve been here forever and a day, tucked away in the (somewhat forgotten) jewel that is the Grand Arcade.  We’ve achieved such a lot in our journey so far; we’ve won awards, we’ve been recognised by our peers, we’ve won accolades, we’ve had great press, we’ve built up an AMAZING customer base (many of whom have become good friends) and of course, we have a HUGELY talented group of over 60 local makers on our shelves, who make our job so much easier!

We’ve enjoyed lots of highs, and thankfully not too many lows, which is something that we are extremely proud of in our current economic climate.  It’s been hard work but at the same time, if you’re passionate about something it’s never a chore!

We’ve faced adversity with losing our first premises just 9 months into our journey, but luckily we turned that into a positive and we now have our gorgeous little shop as you see it today! Luckily we didn’t have to move far, just downstairs!  OHC is a constantly evolving process and we’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve completely moved everything around after deciding to move just one stockist – but we do have lots of fun (if creating a little bit of chaos) doing so!

IL photo 2

We’re extremely lucky that we have truly fabulous customers who return to us time and time again, even if it’s just annually! Hearing ‘I couldn’t wait to come back to this gorgeous gift shop’, ‘I’m so glad you’re still here’ or ‘I don’t go anywhere else for my gifts’ frankly never gets old!

At the other end of the scale, we find new customers calling in each day who ‘had no idea you were here!’.  That makes us feel like a brand new shop again and is so lovely to see our little shop through those fresh eyes.  But at the same time it makes us feel a little bit sad that there are still so many people who aren’t aware of what we do or where we are.  We guess that’s always going to be the case, and lets face it, we can probably all say that we’ve walked past the same spot hundreds of times and not seen all there is! People get so busy and so focussed on where we are headed that we don’t always have the time to stop and take stock of our surroundings.  If we did, we’d see the abundance of glorious architecture within Leeds and the ongoing evolution of our fair city.


We are all creatures of habit, often visiting the same places to eat out, to enjoy a coffee and a catch up with pals, to shop and to sightsee. Leeds itself is a challenge to negotiate at times; with it’s pricy (and often lack of) parking, it’s complicated road system, frequent changes to public transport, and the seemingly never-ending road works, there’s no wonder that some of us prefer not to explore further!

Luckily for us, many people do break the habit and decide to visit us and the other Independent Retailers in the Grand Arcade – and for that we thank you from the bottom of our hearts! If you are stuck for ideas and unsure of where to visit there are some great guides to Leeds which are currently available – the Independent Leeds Black Book, the Leeds Welcome City Discovery phone app, and the ’21 Ridiculously good reasons to make Leeds your next day out!” (check out number 8!) are some of our personal favourites.  And we can promise you this, if you do venture out of your usual surroundings, you can find some gems of places to visit and intriguing shop windows to peek into!

leedsBID ambassadors
LeedsBID Welcome Ambassadors enjoying a peek through our window!

As we sit here and look around at all of the handmade loveliness which surrounds us, the many beautiful gifts which our customers are choosing to spend their hard earned and precious spare pennies on, we are extremely grateful to each and every customer who takes the time to walk through our door.  Every purchase helps to keep us in business and we couldn’t ask for more than that.

We can honestly say that we adore what we do and we hope to carry on for many more birthdays to come! So we hope that you can join us this Saturday to raise a glass with us and celebrate!

Much love,

Claire & Nat x

3rd birthday bash online

We’ve won the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence!

WHOOP! We’re so excited to announce that we’ve just been awarded a 2016 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence….tripadvisor certificate of excellenceAnd it’s all down to the great reviews that you guys have been leaving for us! So THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts, we really do appreciate each and every review we receive!  Word of mouth is invaluable praise indeed and we’re very humbled that you guys enjoy your visits to us enough to leave a few words :)

Bursting with lovely handmade things

If you want to check out more of our lovely reviews you can find them here!
Much love,

Claire & Nat x


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