Small Business Saturday Blog

Happily Ever After for The Fairy Tale Fair

Monday, March 02 at 10:38Inspiration

The Fairy Tale Fair is a whimsical themed craft and vintage fair in Brighton and Sussex. Launched in 2012 by Claire Montgomery with an aim to support local makers and designers, and bring their creations to the community.Claire says, "The Fairy Tale Fair evolved from my love of crafts and background in design. I myself am a maker/designer. I graduated in 2011 from Brighton University with a 1st Class honours degree in Communication Design. After I graduated I knew I wanted to work creatively in the design industry but wasn't sure exactly how. I was lucky enough to be offered an internship at a small design studio in Brighton which I had previously volunteered with. This internship evolved into a full time job in web design, and I am still there today (although now part time!). Its great working within a creative environment as it means your skills and ideas can continually develop with the technology and audience.
At the same time I began illustrating greeting card designs in my spare time. I set up a blog and posted them on there and on social media. People seemed to like them and I was asked by a local handmade design shop in Brighton's lanes if I'd like to be part of it. It was a great feeling to know someone wanted my designs in their shop, and although a bit scary at first and a lot of work it certainly helped me with my journey to where I am today.In spring 2012 I was invited to take part in my first proper craft fair in Brighton town centre. I spent ages getting all my designs and creations ready for it, and it was really great meeting other makers in the same position as me. It really inspired me to continue with my creative adventures. In summer 2012 I launched my laser cut jewellery designs and starting taking part in a lot more fairs and also set up my website and online Etsy shop in late 2012.After taking part in a few craft fairs I realised there was a lack of craft fairs aimed at families and the community in particular, so in 2012 I decided I would start my own.Our first fair was in a little hall locally in Patcham, Brighton and a fairy tale theme seemed very fitting for the family audience. The first fair was a big success, however we knew we'd be needing a bigger venue!Since that day our fair has continued to grow. We still hold local fairs in Patcham, Brighton but in our much loved home of Patcham Methodist Church (Ladies Mile Road). The space here means we can hold a craft workshop room, vintage tearoom, face painting and much more. It makes for a wonderful family day out for all ages. In 2014 we also expanded into central Brighton with fairs at Brighton Open Market and Brighton's biggest handmade Christmas fair at Brighton Racecourse with 100 stalls and lots of magical extras on the day. This was held on Small Business Saturday UK, of which we were one of the top 100.This year we are continuing to expand with fairs every other month at Brighton Open Market and Easter and Christmas specials at Patcham. We've now built a big social following and want to say a big thank you for everyone’s support in getting our fair to where it is today. We have regular sellers and customers, and it’s always wonderful to see those people back again and again.At our craft and vintage fairs in Brighton you can expect to find a selection of: jewellery, cards and prints, knitted and crochet, ceramics, homewares, baby and kids gifts and clothing, original artwork and paintings, homemade chocolates, jams, hampers, accessories and lots more to explore. Everything on sale has been lovingly made or designed by hand, with the majority of the makers from Brighton or Sussex. The fairs are a great opportunity to find one off gifts to impress family and friends.The fair has become a well-established name in Brighton. I also run my own laser cut jewellery company - Cat-a-Cake Creations, have an online shop - Just, plus I am a Brighton Etsy Team leader. I like to keep busy and creative as you can probably tell!If you find yourself in the Brighton area do pop along and say hello. We hope to see you at one of our fairs soon!"
By Claire Montgomery, founder of the The Fairy Tale Fair


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