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  1. Issue 6 – end Oct 21

     

     

          

    Kishorn & Lochcarron Arts and Craft Trail

    I was so busy covering 12 months in the last newsletter that I forgot to talk about the Kishorn & Lochcarron Arts & Craft trail that Freedom Works Kishorn took part in, on the weekend of 18th and 19th September.

    Ross and Trish from Freedom Framery were instrumental in setting up what proved to be a fantastic weekend, involving 11 local artists and crafters from Kishorn and Lochcarron. They produced a flyer with a map showing all the locations for people to visit over the weekend, including the shop, and we welcomed many locals and tourist alike.

    In the garden behind the shop we put up the bell tent where Gordy and Fi, a husband and wife “super couple” from Lochcarron set up their woodworking and art tools for people to watch them at work as well as having a go themselves. The whole weekend was such a success that plans are already underway for a similar event next year! 

        

     

    Two New Trade Suppliers

    As well as the wonderful individual artists and crafters from the local area and further afield in the Highlands that already have their unique items in Freedom Works Kishorn, I have also been looking at providing visitors to the shop the chance to buy sustainable, responsibly sourced handmade gifts from further afield.

    I’m delighted to announce that I now have trade accounts with the following two companies:

    St Eval Candles: The previous shop in Kishorn, before I took over as Freedom Works, used to stock candles from St Eval and I have had several requests over the past year to see if I could stock these. I have to admit that at first, I was not keen as I have a fantastic local supplier of soy candles and reed diffusers, Lochcarron Candles already in the shop and I didn’t want local suppliers to “lose out” against larger companies from further afield. However, after approaching St Eval Candles with my concerns, I have been able to obtain a completely different range of candles which compliments the local ones and I’m delighted to say that both types are selling well. St Eval Candles is a winner of the Queens’ Award for Enterprise under the Sustainable Development category.

    Namaste UK: Namaste is a relatively small business and they have given me the opportunity to stock a diverse range of small items that are completely different from anything I already have in the shop. If dear old Turner Bear was still around (for those of you who didn’t know him, that’s Mike, my late father in law who used to own the shop) he would say that the goods that Namaste stock are typically the sort of things I love…….. (colourful, hippy, spiritual, “tree-hugging”)……and I have to admit he would have been right. I think an awful lot of the things I order are going to end up dotted around my house, but I’m sure that the ones that actually make it into the shop will be well received. All of Namaste UK’s products are fairly traded and their aim is to help workers move from income insecurity to economic self-sufficiency, and as such, I’m delighted to be able to support them.

     

    “Online” shopping

    After several failed attempts at trying to set up online shopping on my website www.freedomworkskishorn.co.uk I am trying a couple of other options. The reason the website online shop failed was due to the fact that the majority of the items I have in the shop are unique, “one-offs” and as soon as I was loading the photos onto the website, someone would come into the shop and buy the item, and the online shop would be totally out of sync. Instead, I’m going to start trialing a couple of alternatives over the next couple of months to see how they go.

    Firstly, I’m going to set up an Etsy online shop in which I can sell the limited number of items I can stock that I have a few of. For example, I personally make soaps, solid shampoos, angel cards, dreamcatcher kits, greetings cards all of which can be sold online (as long as I get myself in gear and get plenty made for the shop and for online too). There are also a few other bits in the shop from other artists and crafters that could be added too.

    Secondly, I’m looking at doing frequent Facebook and Instagram posts to include current video tours of the physical stock that I have in different areas in the shop. These videos will each be focused on different items…..for example I will do one for all the current art in stock, one for jewelry, another for glass, woodwork etc. The hope would then be that customers can view the videos on social media and contact me via mobile or email to request further info, prices etc and I can post out items. There may also be a way for me to add the same videos to my website and people could then use the contact form on there to request items.

    So for those of you that cannot pop into the shop in person and are looking for the perfect gift for Christmas, or any other time of the year, please keep an eye on the website: www.freedomworkskishorn.co.uk , Facebook www.facebook.com/kishornshop or Instagram https://www.instagram.com/freedomworkskishorn/  for more information.

     

    The “C” word

    I know that for most people, October is far too early to be mentioning Christmas (unless you are Tescos, where it seems that Christmas appears as soon as the Easter eggs have left the shelves ;) ). However, with all the tourists that have been visiting the shop it felt right to dedicate a small corner full of festive items to give them an opportunity of taking a small piece of the Highlands home with them to celebrate when the time comes.

    This proved to be the right decision with several wonderfully crafted individual Christmas “goodies” now heading to all different locations throughout the UK and further afield.

    Christmas will be arriving “full on” at the beginning of November and for those of you that remember the wonderful handmade wooden Christmas tree that Kev made me for the shop last year, it will have pride of place again (see picture). (He also ended up making a few smaller “table top” versions in 2020, so if you are interested, get in touch J ).

     

    Final farewell to “TB”

     

    So, I mentioned TB earlier in this newsletter………”TB” aka Turner Bear, my dear late father in law sadly passed away a year to the day of me writing this newsletter, on 30th October 2020. I know that many of you knew him and know that he and Jenny are the reason I ended up moving to the Highlands and now find myself running this idyllic little shop that they ran together for so many years. It seems only right to end this October newsletter with a nod to him, as we finally said farewell by scattering his ashes at one of his favourite locations and watched him make his final journey out to sea……I’m sorry that it wasn’t quite the way you wanted Mike, which those of you who knew him would not be surprised to learn was to be set adrift into the sea on his 4 seater sofa (he was a tall man!!!) while we shot blazing arrows into it from the shore like some cross between King Arthur and a Viking Up Helly Ya………but at least you got the final mention in the newsletter and are always in my thoughts……… x

     

     

     

     

  2. Goodness me.....I am So ashamed that I haven't posted anything on here for almost a year. I know it's been a crazy time for everyone, but that is no excuse for not making time to update on here.......I'm sorry!!!

    So, 12 months in a paragraph makes my head hurt, just thinking about it.....and 12 paragraphs would have anyone reading this heading for the paracetamol....or the gin......so I'm going for 4 paragraphs, one for each season, which seems doable. 

    Autumn: After a very emotional few months, Autumn brought the most awesome colours on the acer in the garden, a couple of visits by the red squirrels that have been re-introduced in the woods on the edge of the loch, and planning my first Christmas in the shop. I really wanted to have a special event at the beginning of December to celebrate with locals, artists, crafters and the like.....but like everywhere else, lockdown prevented it happening.......so the shop was decorated, complete with an awesome wooden Christmas tree my husband, Kev made.....the Christmas stock was out in the shop and I had a lovley time sharing the space with the customers from near and far. 

    Winter: After closing the shop the weekend before Christmas, I cleared away all the stock and headed home to Elphin with the view to re-open again sometime in March. At this time of the year in the Highlands, daylight is limited to say the least ~ from around 10am to 3pm if we are lucky ~ but I absolutely love it. It's a time of hunkering down in front of a roaring fire and creating new stock for the shop when it re-opens in the spring. Well, that's what I meant it to be like......but as usual, I spent far too much time reading, listening to music, cooking and doing jigsaws rather than making more soaps, solid shampoos, cards etc as well as thinking about new things to make. I did manage to get some knitting done, but that's about it. If I was still at school, the report would say "Must try harder"!

    Spring: The arrival of snowdrops, daffodils....and my eldest son Ross and his partner, Trish, who both made the very brave move to leave their home and jobs in Bristol to move up to Kishorn and set up their own picture framing business, next to the shop - Freedom Framery. Ross has worked in a Bristol art gallery framing for the last 10 years......and my late father-in-law "Turner Bear" spent the last few years of his life persuading Ross to make the move. It's such a shame that he didn't get to see it in person, but I'm sure he knows and is smiling somewhere. Again, lockdown dealt me the joker card in relationg of re-opening the shop in March, but there was plenty going on helping Ross and Trish settle in. The shop finally managed to open in May and I managed to get my stock levels back to where I wanted as well as introducing a couple of new crafters' work in the shop, including some Shetland wool scarves and shawls woven on pin looms.

    Summer: Now for me, I always think of summer as the months of July, August and September. With the easing of restrictions, the roads got busier and busier .....and whilst there are some people in the Highlands that hold their hands in the air and wail about all the issues with campervans/mobile homes' users on the North Coast 500, I can honestly say that all of the people that make my little shop door ring have been nothing but kind, thoughtful, complimentary and delighted to look at all the lovely artwork and crafts......and I am truly grateful that they took the time to break their journey and pause for a time in Freedom Works Kishorn. 

     

    So, that's me caught up for now. The next post will be to share photos of the Christmas stock that I will be slowly introducing onto the shelves from late October (in case there are any tourists up here during ther school holidays that want to take a piece of the Highlands home with them for the festive season.) I'm also hoping to get a couple of new trade accounts set up, as there are some ethically sourced products that I'm looking to add, so as always, watch this space......and I promise you won't be waiting as long for the next update....honest indian!!!