All Aboard Collective – Pop Up and Buy Local!
All Aboard Collective is a group of creative women who’ve come together to sell their beautiful products. You’ve heard the saying about buying locally puts a dance in the step of the person who made it? Well, these ladies can dance! Their pop up shops over Christmas and the summer have sold fabulous prints, cards and hanging decorations, uniquely designed t-shirts that can be personalised along with some beautiful hand painted plates. There are some wonderful leather goods from purses, bookmarks to stunning clutch bags. You will also find yummy smelling vegan soaps and fun, quirky home cushions and hair accessories! Folkelife went along to touch and feel the wonderful shiny things.
from poppy with love
“I love the Old High Street, it’s one of my favourite places in Folkestone! I just love seeing the shops filling up. There had been a lot of different shops in Gallery 66 and Eight Squared, when I found out it it was a Pop Up Shop I began to look further into it. I spoke to my friend, Jane De Bono, to see if she would be interested in getting together and opening our own shop. We both were so excited, and teamed up with 3 other artisans and opened our first Pop Up Shop for Christmas 2018. It was very successful and we loved every minute of it! Now going into our 3rd Pop Up we have some new amazing creatives joining us and we have moved into the larger premises of Gallery 66 and can’t wait!
“We hope to continue doing more Pop Up Shops as more and more customers are recognising us. They love the products we are selling! We want to help each other’s businesses grow whether it’s face to face with customers in our shops, or at fairs, or with our online shops. The more people that know who we are will help our businesses grow. When we come together for our Collective, that in turn will help us grow more. It’s great to see customers on The Old High Street buying good quality products. Our customers help spread the news about us, telling family and friends!”
Lion Tamer Prints
“I am Vic Nelson and I’m a print maker based in Folkestone. In my home studio I use a converted 100 year old mangle to press lino prints. I also burn and print my own silk screens, albeit in a slightly adhoc way! My background is in Fine Art and like to take an informal approach to printmaking, experimenting and having fun with different techniques. The unpredictable nature of the outcome appeals to me. I’ve recently dabbled in some digital pieces.
“I mainly sell prints, framed prints, cards, notebooks and I also have a small collection of hand printed home-wares which will be having their debut at our pop up. It’s been great working with other like-minded creatives to pull this together. Lovely to find some kindred spirits!”
Jane De Bono
“We started The Collective because we felt there was a lack of really good craft markets in the area. Initially we talked about setting one up ourselves in church halls, but then Amy (From Poppy With Love) heard about Gallery 66 and the little shop next door available for rent. We wanted to provide a platform for local makers to club together and sell their makes. Having the shop has allowed our businesses a space to showcase products and keep us in touch with our customers. We would otherwise be based solely online.
“I’ve always been drawn to Folkestone. I used to visit quite often as a child on family days out. There are some good memories here of the Warren, the stunning views on the Leas and of course The Old High Street. I remember always nagging my mum to take me up the cobble road to see rock candy being made! I loved to watch the potter make hedgehogs and owl oil burners. It always feels the most vibrant and creative of seaside towns. It feels like a mini version of East London with a seaside to boot!
“All Aboard Collective grew from a need to sell what we make on a budget and essentially being time poor because we have young families. We are all creative, with very young children so we take turns to hold fort at the shop- making it possible to run 7 days of the week. We’re all very supportive of each other and from this we have joined forces with more makers. From 3 people to 8 talented and skilled women. The idea is to keep popping up in Folkestone. Keep introducing more makers to our shops and make it a regular thing. If there are landlords struggling to fill their shops, we’re open to offers! And there are plans to run some creative workshops for customers to experience something new. We’re to open to ideas!”
“I’m Jane Spence, and I spend an awful lot of time at my home studio with just the dog for company. So, at Christmas, I make an effort to get out into the world & mix with other creatives!
Sometimes I do a Christmas market, but when this opportunity came along I grabbed it. I hope to make a few sales, meet some customers and get some feedback on my work. We’re taking it in turns to staff the shop. Often when I meet customers face to face, they will suggest new topics for me to cover, and I also get to see how my designs go down with different groups. There’s a social aspect to look forward to, and learning from other creatives.
“We’ll all have different business skills to share, be that marketing, display, local suppliers, or retail know-how. Gallery 66 is in an excellent location, and the premises is a beautiful Dickensian- style shop. We can’t wait to get our teeth into it. Our WhatsApp group is off-the-hook with everyone’s window ideas today, I don’t know what’s been finalised but I do know you’ll be in for a treat!”
kate’s plates and gifts
Katie Bradley has a highly successful career as a blues singer, but she also used to paint with Peter Firmin’s daughters. Peter Firmin designed the creations from Oliver Postgate’s imagination, including Bagpuss, and The Clangers. Living in Folkestone, Katie has two creative outlets! “I became involved with the All Aboard Collective through my friend and artist Vic Nelson of Lion Tamer Prints. We had previously done a pop-up shop together a few years ago called Mermaids and seagulls. It was a lot of fun and very successful.
“I love the feel of a pop-up, it’s a temporary, yet very exclusive boutique of unique handmade items. There’s something magical about it! Being part of a collective gives your business a bigger network. It’s great to have a shop run by fellow creatives who are enthusiastic about each others’ craftwomanship. It helps a business such as mine for potential customers to see and discuss any commissions they would love. Quite often my commissions are a spontaneous flurry of ideas between me and the client! My customized wedding plates are my best sellers. People like that I can personalise anything they dream of. I can paint the exact flowers, colours and include details such as personality traits and even honeymoon destinations. This can be applied to any occasion.”
Lucy Alice Designs
“It’s great being a part of the Collective. When you work by yourself you miss out on that team aspect. I’ve been running Lucy Alice Designs for a number of years and it can get lonely! Here we meet regularly and share our ideas. Having like-minded people to bounce ideas off is really useful. We all understand the market. We’re making our own products, and there’s little room for giving people huge discounts as we need to cover our time and materials. It’s important for us that people to appreciate the time, effort and love that’s gone in to creating our work. Maybe join us for a glass of bubbly while you browse, and enjoy our work!”
Soap Lab Uk
Timea Tothova runs Soap Lab UK: “The girls are great in organising such an event and I’m happy to be part of the team. Collaboration enables us all to sell together and take turns and share the costs of the shop! It’s very expensive to hire something on any High Street as an individual especially this time of the year. This is my first time with the girls and so looking forward to it!
“My soaps are designed for the body and not just hands. Some people still think about soap as just a hand soap. I designed it to replace shower gels as I’m very much against plastic. My products don’t contain any parabens, artificial colours or fragrances. They aren’t tested on animals and are completely palm oil free and are in a paper box that is recyclable. Loads of companies still use palm oil and so are supporting deforestation.
“All my soaps are handmade in small batches with the finest ingredients. I harvest the seaweed from The Warren and the goat’s milk comes from local Kentish farmers too. At the moment I am working on an IPA soap packaging as I’m doing a collaboration with the Dockers brewery.
“I must thank the East Cliff Creatives as they’ve helped so many creatives get on their feet. They also organise pop ups, markets and fairs together.”
Folkestone Harbour Yarn
“I think it is important for small, independent, businesses to work together and/or collaborate on projects like this one. It is a competitive market, but supporting each other in this way helps each business reach new customers. Sharing the costs of running a shop, sharing our customer bases and sharing our time means we can achieve much more as a group than by working individually.
“As a new member of the collective I am really looking forward to the shop opening. They are a lovely group of women to work with; already we are bouncing ideas off each other and making plans! Next stop: World Domination!!”
The All Aboard Collective will be back in 2020 with more pop-up shops in The Old High Street.