Supporting local artists and start-up businesses
Flying the flag for Coventry, celebrating its manufacturing history and spreading the word that it still has a positive creative future.
Buying local, eco friendly, ethical
Former life-long learning officer at Coventry Transport Museum Coventrian Julia Gandy is launching a unique new business aimed at helping the city’s small businesses, makers and artists promote and market their work.
She realised there was a wealth of talented artists and craftspeople in the city who can’t afford their own premises, and venues like the museum have upped the cost of exhibiting to such a degree it is now unaffordable.
She’s opening a shop called Made in Coventry, which will rent out small amounts of space to a host of artists and makers, creating a unique shop featuring things made in the city by local people.
The shop is in the 2 Tone Village, which is to be the new home of Coventry’s 2 Tone Museum celebrating the ska music genre that came out of the city (The Specials etc). There is already a cafe and Caribbean restaurant and a vintage clothes shop and jewellers there.
The entire 2 Tone Village courtyard was designed around the windows from the Rootes factory on Humber Road - an amazing piece of recycling.
With the Olympics visiting the city the idea is that the Village will show visitors some of the fantastic things Cov was famous for and the wealth of talent and what’s being made in the city today, plus the chance to take home a piece of the city in the form of a truly unique locally made gift.
With a degree in arts and crafts, Julia has has organised and attended craft fairs around the region and often been astounded by the pieces that are made in Coventry and the surrounding areas.
Julia says: “For centuries Coventry has been an industrial city, ribbons, watches and vehicles, to name a few of the items that made Coventry famous. Sadly now most of our manufacturers have closed. But as a city we have a vibrant community of cottage industries creating a wide range of goods that should be promoted and celebrated.
“What upsets me is the fact that there is nowhere to buy and showcase locally made goods, even local museums have been made to put up the cost of exhibiting thus pricing out small scale makers which is such a shame. I’d like to go some way to addressing this by showing locally made goods from paintings to jewellery, jam to doorstops, and local music and the work of local authors.
“One of the great things about buying locally made goods is the fact they have only a fraction of the carbon foot print of goods imported into the city and you can be 100% confident that they have been produced ethically and not in a sweat shop.Many of our makers use recycled materials in their art so its a very eco-frendly way to shop.
“The shop’s aim is to promote local makers and small business in general. We want to change the faceless economy we have found ourselves in. We don’t know our local butchers and bakers like we did 20 years ago and that’s a real shame, with a detrimental effect on the local economy
“Buying local doesn’t mean expensive, but it does mean you are supporting your local economy, giving local start-ups a helping hand and getting something unique that no one else has.”
The shop is in Ball Hill and is opening on 1 February with a launch party on Saturday 11 February.
Julia’s contact details are: