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):

http://www.leedsloveaffair.co.uk/news/leeds-independent-awards-2016/

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

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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!

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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!

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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): https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/wire-sculpting-creative-craft-class-tickets-25378186840

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!

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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.

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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!

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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

 

Meet the Makers of OHC: L & P Company of Natural Candles

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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 Laura of L & P Company of Natural Candles….

How did you become a designer/maker?

I remember sitting with my Mum one rainy day, struggling with marketing job applications and saying ‘All I want to do is make candles…..’ And the rest is history!!!!

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

After a lot of brainstorming and asking everyone I knew – I finally decided on L&P Company of Natural Candles. The ‘L’ stands for me (Laura) and the ‘P’ stands for my partner (Phil) as the business is very much a joint effort. There was some good (but mostly bad) suggestions such as ‘A Lorra Lorra Candles’, ‘Ignite’ and ‘Candle Corner’ but in the end I just wanted to go with something classy and simple that included candles but didn’t come across too cheesy!

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

I also work as Marketing Consultant on a self employed basis and I love helping other smaller businesses drive forward their marketing plans.

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

Planning, planning and more planning!!! I have to be organised – tricky as every week throws up something different, it’s a challenge but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What’s your favourite thing about running your business?

I love being able to think creatively about how best to market our products and how to reach out to our customers. Everyday I’m meeting new people and facing new experiences.

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

Alongside my usual candles I made 50+ wedding candles for a lovely lady once and I was so happy with how they turned out!!!

Describe your business in three words

Sniff and see!

We can certainly confirm there is a fabulous aroma emanating from your shelves Laura! Thanks so much for dropping by and telling us your story. You can find the L & P Company of Natural Candles collection in store now.

See you at the shop x

Meet the Makers: Guitar Geekery

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 Maker specials, please say hello to Becky of Guitar Geekery…

How did you become a designer/maker?

Like many designer-makers I designed and made as a hobby for most of my life, and that became a business out of a passion for putting food on the table! The guitars were a slightly frivolous side-line to my handbags and accessories brand to begin with, and have gradually taken over. It all started because I had an injury that stopped me playing my guitars for a few months, so I started drawing them instead. I always knew I could sew, but it’s come as something of a surprise to me that I have both the drawing and design skills and the music knowledge to pull this off!

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

Well, you can like music, and you can like guitars, and then… you can like guitars just a little bit too much! I’m not the geekiest of guitar geeks but some of my customers are. It does what it says really.

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

I have a full time designer-maker business. Guitar Geekery takes up most of my time but it’s not all drawing and designing. I would say the majority of my time is taken up with marketing, researching, and developing new ideas. I also organise designer maker fairs under the name of Design Inspire Live, providing a platform for artists and craftspeople to sell their work, including some of the sellers here at OHC

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

There’s a little bit of my old job that I can’t quite let go of, so I continue to do some consultancy work for the University of Leeds. I keep thinking when I stop needing the extra income I’ll give it up, but I actually enjoy it too much. It doesn’t take up too much of my time, and it kind of keeps a different part of my brain ticking over.

What’s your favourite thing about running your business?

The other day I sat in a café, drinking tea and eating cake with a good friend, discussing music and musicians, sharing tracks, learning about artists I’d never heard of, extolling the virtues of artists she’d never listened to: and I could legitimately count this as work! What’s not to like?

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

My original design for the Guitar Heroes mug is my favourite. Not because I think it’s the best, artistically speaking, but because I put in such a lot of research. It wasn’t going to be just my favourite musicians. I wanted it to show the influencers and the originators, the inventors and the innovators . I wanted there to be enough really famous names to grab attention, but then throw in some wild cards, so that people would have to do some research, or maybe even be turned on to different music. It worked for me, and I think it works for people who buy the mug too. One guy once congratulated me on including Hubert Sumlin, and we got to talking about seeing him play at and it turned out we’d been at the same gig 12 years ago. I’m about geeky enough to love that stuff!

Describe your business in three words

Cool Guitar Gifts

We reckon that we all have a little bit of a geekiness about us somewhere Becky! Thanks so much for dropping by and telling us your story. You can find the Guitar Geekery collection in store now.

See you at the shop x

OHC Instagram Challenge – meet you over there!

We all love telling a story with pictures don’t we? Instagram is excellent for that!  We’re pretty new to Instagram we have to admit, but we love it!

You may or may not be following us there already – well, if you aren’t now is a good time, and if you are, well you’re in for a treat!

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OHC Instagram feed

During April we are running our own Instagram Challenge with our makers joining us to showcase the many faces of OHC – introducing you to all of us and sharing lots of lovely photos along different themes each day.

Using the hashtag #OHCLeeds you’ll find posts each day from the shop and lots of our makers – including some treats such as ‘Customers and Friends’, ‘Handmade’, ‘Complimentary and Coordinating’, ‘First and Last Displays’ and ‘All that Glitters’ – ooh, we can’t wait!

We’re particularly looking forward to our ‘Best Pun’ post…. we have a corker lined up!

OHC instagram challenge April

But that isn’t all, we want you guys to get involved with our challenge too! We want to see your photos of your purchases…

If you’ve taken photos while visiting one of our events then post them and tag us at #OHCLeeds on Day 9 (Customers and Friends) or Day 21 (Events) – or both!

Do you have a collection of goodies from OHC which go together just perfectly? Snap a pic, post it and tag us at #OHCleeds on Day 26 (Complimentary and Coordinating).

Are your walls adorned with some of our many and varied artworks? Snap a pic, post it and tag us at #OHCleeds under whichever category suits.

Have you attended one (or more) of our Creative Craft Classes? Send us a pic of your finished creation on Day 19 using #OHCLeeds.

Remember, we’re a Collective – we don’t work without you guys and we want you to be involved!

We’ll be beginning on 1st April (no, this is not an April Fool!) so do head on over and check us out – just search for Our Handmade Collective or tag us at @ourhandmadecollective

Meet you over there!

Claire & Nat x

Creative Craft Classes for March – Spring is here!

Spring has certainly come in like a lion so far weather wise, but we have lots of lovely Creative Craft Classes taking place this month which will want you to brave the rain/sleet/snow (and whatever else arrives!) and join us in our cosy little store with cups of tea, cakes and lots of crafty chat!

Metal Stamped Keyrings

Tomorrow evening we will be learning how to stamp metal keyrings with Zoe of Hello Halfpenny. We’ll find out the secret of how to write words in a straight line and all sorts of other secrets, using cute little tools and stamps – and sounding like elves tapping away in Santa’s workshop!

This class is fully booked, but if you are interested in future classes please do let us know.

Making Fabric Rag Wreaths

Lynn of Lydia Teapot will be showing us how to make this fabulous fabric rag wreath in your choice of colours on Thursday 17th March.

Using coloured fabric strips and finishing your creation off with embellishments such as buttons and lace, you’ll make a fabulous wreath decoration to adorn your home!

Class cost is £25.  Call 0113 4182304 or pop into the store to book.

Making Felted Jewellery

On Thursday 24th March join Lucy of George & Lilly to learn the art of wet felting, and then turn your creations into fabulously funky jewellery such as this bracelet.

Delving into the art of wet felting, get your hands stuck into some soapy water and create some felt beads, balls and strings that you can turn into bright and colourful jewellery to wear on your way home!

Class cost is £25.  Call 0113 4182304 or pop into the store to book

Folded Book Art

Sue of Paperweight Products will be showing us the magic of how to make these gorgeous Folded Book Art sculptures on Thursday 31st March.

You’ll learn the techniques to be able to make your own creations, and we have a large range of patterns available to purchase instore – once you get the bug it’s addictive!

Class cost is £20. Call 0113 4182304 or pop into the store to book.

You can find more details on each of our Creative Craft Classes on our Facebook Events page.  We can’t wait to share a cuppa and some cake with you!

Claire & Nat x

Vote for OHC to win Independent Business of the Year!

You may have noticed us mentioning a little thing called the Yorkshire Choice Awards a few times over the last few months….

If you haven’t, where have you been hiding?!

We’re super excited and extremely proud to have been nominated for Independent Business of the Year, it really means a lot to us that our customers like what we have to offer!

Hopefully you have already voted for us, but if you haven’t there’s just one week left as voting closes on 29th February…..

So if  you love what we do and think we deserve your vote, it only takes two seconds and we would really appreciate it!

We’ll do a happy dance if we get shortlisted….who knows what we might do if we actually win 😉

Our Handmade Collective IBOY

We currently have 7,219 followers across our social media channels – surely one vote from everyone is enough for us to win?

http://www.yorkshirechoiceawards.co.uk/#!vote-here/c1bv4

With much love and crossed fingers and toes …

Claire & Natalie x

Meet the Makers: Melodies

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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 Maker specials, please say hello to Gemma of Melodies…

How did you become a designer/maker?

I’ve always had a creative streak in me but I originally studied Interdisciplinary Practices at Leeds College of Art and Design. I kept on dabbling in creative processes as a hobby alongside my day job. But in 2012 I couldn’t resist making my passion my career.

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

There’s no secret meaning behind my name. I wanted something plain, simple and that implied a musical connection. I had a few names on the table and just went with one. Lots of people do now presume my name is Melody though, and I have joked I’ll legally change my name once I become really successful.

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

I started off running my business full time for the first year, getting all the boring stuff in place. I now balance this with a part time job in an Independent home wares store. It helps keep me stay creative and its really near OHC, so I’m always on hand for a restock!

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

I’m very lucky in my other job that I do have an element of flexibility. Mainly I have learnt to prioritise, fitting admin in where I can and on evenings, then making products in my full days. I have a studio at home and also a messy workshop further away, which means I have to plan, and get lots of work done without distractions.

What’s your favourite thing about running your business?

It has to be the designing and making. I only use a select range of materials so I force myself to be creative with them. I love getting my hands dirty, cutting, sanding, melting, anything goes!

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

This is impossible to answer. I love loads of my different pieces for different reasons. Some of my more popular designs I fall out of love with because I end up making so many (not that I’m complaining). Other designs I love making but can be so time consuming so I never make them again because they’re not financially viable. Some of my larger scale work can be really fun to do but then turns out to be really impractical. This process changes all the time.

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Describe your business in three words

Nostalgic, bold and geometric

We just love your way of using Vinyl for new creations Gemma! Thanks so much for dropping by and telling us your story. You can find the Melodies collection in store now.

See you at the shop x

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