E17 Designers' story so far....
Our group started up in Walthamstow Village back in June 2006: a group of just six of us set up tables on a windy village square to sell scarves, bags, cushions and children’s clothes - we should have worn the scarves! We had another go at Apple Day at the Vestry House Museum that October, before we finally tired of the great outdoors and organised an evening bring-a-bottle party at the Grove Cafe in Hatherley Mews in December of the same year. And now here we are. This and subsequent events proved a huge success, attracting lots of local buyers keen to snap up high quality, well designed and mostly handmade gifts, direct from the artists, designers and makers. People want to buy something unique and unusual that they won't find on every high street. We are here for people of all ages and tastes, to pick up something for themselves, family or friends that they just wouldn't find elsewhere, with the added personal touch of it being local and mainly handmade.
By making close links with the many other groups in the area, especially the E17 Art Trail, we really feel that our community is made stronger through events where you can 'meet the maker' and understand the process of making and creating, inspiring young and old to take up new hobbies, and help members to plan and develop new careers, or just have a creative outlet.
E17 Designers often do many events over a year: Spring, Autumn, local art trails (Leytonstone Arts Trail and Festival, E17 Art Trail) and of course two special seasonal events before Christmas. We have also held special Valentine’s and Christmas shopping events at the William Morris Gallery (2013 and 2015) and hosted a whole Marquee at the Walthamstow Garden Party (2014 and 2015). A week long pop up shop at Hoe Street Central in 2014 enabled all the makers to be part of an exciting week of pre-Christmas sales: over 1200 people came through the doors, where we showcased a selection of local artists, designers and makers: prints on the wall from Kirsten Schmidt, Anna Alcock, Andrew Baker, Linda Hughes and (by) Build Shop, jewellery from Ava Rae17, Carol Zilla and Amanda Mansell, leather products from SABEL Saddlery and clothes from Little Biscuit, D4Discus, Girl with Beads and Glow London. Accessories ranged from child friendly gifts at Pygmy Cloud and Hilda Rocket to more grown up items from Gail’s Windy Day and Tannen Brown. Much more was on offer with a range of prices, and many people went away with purchases, pleased they were able to shop local! 2015 saw us repeat the shop experience in The Mall (Walthamstow) for 5 weeks! Spin-offs have included Book-ish (2011 and 2014) an artists book fair and Downtown (2011), a fashion event... keep coming back to see what we are doing...
Makers and supporters say:
'The E17 Designers markets have a been a great way for us to attract local and not so local customers. They have been the perfect vehicle for us to test products, get great customer feedback regarding our products and network with other designers in London....and beyond.'
Queenie and Ted
'E17 Designers has been a great way to establish a loyal and local customer base as well as meeting wonderful local makers.'
Abigail Booth, Co-Director, Forest-and-Found
'E17 Designers has played a big part in making Walthamstow a very attractive place to live'
I first joined E17 Designers around 2007 . Having moved to the area in 2004 with a one year old son, I started looking for creative groups that I could join. As a trained graphic illustrator I wanted to get back into design and potentially sell some of my screen printed designs on t-shirts and baby gift wear. E17 Designers was a perfect place to meet some lovely like-minded women who were in a very similar situation to myself. Having set up Little Mashers I wanted an outlet to sell and test the market and the E17 Designers quarterly events were a great place to do this. Groups like E17 Designers give you experience of what it is like to make and sell your own items, test commercial viability and help connect with similar creative businesses.
Being a member of E17 Designers has been a real help in starting and growing my business. I had literally no experience of running a business and it offered a way of trying things out within a supportive framework. I got to have access to social media exposure, shared ideas and contacts with other small businesses and got to trade within a small craft market setting at E17 Designers popular local fairs. This meant I was also able to meet and chat with lots of customers and build strong local networks.
As a small local business, the appearance at E17 designers served us as a great marketing opportunity to introduce Forest Wines to a big local audience and meet a lot of lovely business owners from around the borough.
'My first introduction to the E17 Designers market was one sunny day many summers ago when I popped into Lloyd Park to meet a local vintage trader who had set up stall as part of that craft fair. I hadn't heard of E17 Designers but was bowled over by the high quality, one-of-a-kind designer maker products on offer. My Vintage-a-Fairs sprung directly from seeing the talent and goodwill that Carolyn gathers under her umbrella. As an event organiser I wouldn't have become part of that unique landscape if it hadn't been for E17 Designers'
I joined the E17 Designers' by accident 7 years ago. I baked a few cakes for fun. I was fortunate to be asked to join the group after the first event I did. I would not have started my own baking business if it had not been for Carolyn's support and the opportunity to be a part of the E17 Designers. Being part of a group with scheduled events gave me the confidence to set up on my own. I've been lucky to have been asked to make cakes for people's special events and met many interesting and enthusiastic customers and designers. It is a community I'm very proud to be part of.