Tucked away down St James’ Street in Nottingham City Centre is a beautiful little shop called Handmade Nottingham.
Solely dedicated to selling and showcasing all of Nottingham’s local creative talent, Handmade Nottingham has become a firm staple in Nottingham’s shopping scene.
Rhea herself is a designer maker specialising in knitwear. Rhea studied Knitwear at Nottingham Trent University and after graduating, she started selling her work at various events and shops around Nottingham. At the time Rhea never knew this would lead to the start of what would become Handmade Nottingham.
Originally starting as a collective of designer makers back in 2011, Rhea saw an opportunity to get a chalet on the Nottingham Christmas Market as a group. This meant they could split the cost, time and space between them equally and join forces together.
After a huge success of the first chalet, they decided to return for another 2 years whilst also sharing stalls at other Nottingham events too.
At this time there weren’t many maker markets in the city, so Rhea saw this as an opportunity to work with friends to organise maker markets, which at the time were called Bird in Borrowed Feathers Market.
These were held around various venues in Nottingham and were all about giving designer makers a place to showcase their work.
It was a little after this that Rhea was approached by the Malt Cross who were undergoing renovations.
As well as asking if Rhea would be interested in hosting a market once they’d reopened, they also had a pop-up shop space available for two months and asked if Rhea would be interested.
Of course, Rhea instantly thought this would be a great opportunity to showcase a bigger variety of designers and definitely a lot warmer than the Christmas chalets!
It was a unanimous yes from all the makers Rhea had previously been working with, and so the plans started for Handmade Nottingham. On 1st November 2014 Handmade Nottingham opened their doors to the public.
After a successful two months they were given the opportunity to stay and Handmade Nottingham is still there 3 years on!
Everyone who visits Handmade Nottingham are so excited that they showcase local makers.
This is so nice for the community, as it creates a platform that gives high street shoppers the opportunity to buy unique gifts while at the same time support local creatives.
If you can’t make it down in-store, Handmade Nottingham have an online shop which Rhea is currently expanding.
This is something that has always been close to Rhea’s heart as she’s always been keen to help local designer makers showcase their talent. Rhea is always looking for new talented designers to showcase.
Rhea originally started stocking designers she already knew when Handmade Nottingham first started, but now due to popular demand, the waiting list for stockists has increased massively.
Currently stocking everything from ceramics to jewellery, prints to textiles, Handmade Nottingham pride themselves in showcasing the best of Nottingham’s designer makers.
They go through a delicate process choosing the right applicants. Designers pay to be in the shop for 3 months at a time and every quarter a few makers are changed around to keep things fresh whilst also giving other designer makers an opportunity.
As well as working with established makers, Rhea is also passionate about working with new designers. Whether you’re fresh out of University or taking a new career path, Rhea would love to hear from you.
Knowing how hard it is to start a business and the challenges you face, Rhea is happy to offer a helping hand whether that be space in the shop, stalls at their markets or offering a bit of advice.
Calling a huge audience year after year, Handmade Nottingham Markets bring shoppers down St James’s Street to see all the indie shops the street has to offer.
Due to the increased popularity, this has encouraged more and more indie businesses to move onto the street. With likes of Dukki, Pop Press, Dizzy Ink and Plates Records, St James’s Street is becoming a great street for independent shopping in Nottingham.
Originally starting back in August 2016, Handmade Nottingham’s Markets are a great day out for the whole family to enjoy.
Showcasing a wide range of designers from crafts, ceramics, textiles, photography, print and lots of other beautifully designed handmade gift, there’s something for everyone.
Each year they host three exciting and very creative craft markets which showcase some of the UK’s best designers. The next Handmade Nottingham event is their Summer Market on Sunday 19th August which we hope you can make – we certainly can’t wait!
During our visit, IN Magazine asked Rhea if she had any exciting future plans which she could tell us about. Rhea mentioned that she is really keen to start hosting Handmade Nottingham craft workshops and business talks.
She has dipped her toe in with their first craft workshop with Little Egg Design to make your own banner which took place in April.
Rhea hopes to be able to develop a full schedule of craft workshops but also business workshops aimed at small business to help them grow.
So, as you can see IN Magazine had an amazing time visiting Rhea at Handmade Nottingham and we were truly inspired by her story.
The next time you’re out and about in Nottingham’s City Centre make sure to pop in and say ‘Hello’ to Rhea on St James’ Street. I guarantee you don’t leave empty handed.