Simply Handmade too aims to showcase the work of artists and crafts people living in west Suffolk

Colin Ranson and Debbi Hill outside the Simply Handmade too outlet

Colin Ranson and Debbi Hill outside the Simply Handmade too outlet - Credit: Archant

A business that champions local artists and crafts people has opened a shop in west Suffolk.

Inside Simply Handmade too

Inside Simply Handmade too - Credit: Archant

The retail unit called Simply Handmade too is based on the Stour Valley Business Centre in Brundon Lane, Sudbury, and features work from 30 artisans and crafters most of who live within a 25-mile radius of the town.

The new shop, which features a range of crafts from handmade paper, lino prints and ceramics to stained glass, candles and soaps, has been created by Colin Ranson and Debbi Hill, who want to showcase local talent.

“We feel there is a market to provide good quality, unique gifts to discerning customers who want something that is not available on the high street, as there is certainly nothing like this in or around Sudbury,” said Ms Hill

“Each of our artisans’ work is vetted by ourselves before we allow it in our showroom so that we can maintain our very high standards.”

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Although the store is away from Sudbury’s man shopping area, Ms Hill says she hopes to attract people to the outlet through advertising, word of mouth and by building up a good reputation. Crafters who display their works at Simply Handmade too rent the shelf space and the products on show range in price from £1.50 to £250.

“More and more people feel there are too many mass-produced goods on the high street and they appreciate something that is handmade. A lot of people think handmade items are expensive but they are made with love,” added Ms Hill, whose own expertise is in clothing alterations and soft furnishings.

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The business has also launched a number of initiatives designed to build up a community of arts and crafts people around the shop. These include a series of tutor-led workshops where customers can learn craft-based skills at a studio within the shop as well as a regular drop-in session where local crafts people can come and work in the company of other like-minded people.

Ms Hill said: “Often crafts people work alone and we wanted to make sure they aren’t spending all their time surrounded by their own four walls. The drop-in sessions run on market days between 1pm and 4pm and we are finding them to be very popular.”

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