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Agora workshops will help welsh crafters get market ready

Welsh craft makers looking to turn their talents into a business will have the opportunity to take part in two craft business masterclasses next week (April 10th & 11th).

Organised by new business support project, Agora, the workshops will feature presentations and advice from some of Wales’ most successful craft business entrepreneurs.

The first workshop will be held at The Orangery, Margam Park, Port Talbot on April 10th. Among the speakers will be Nancy Durham of Farmers’ Welsh Lavender Ltd.

The Canadian journalist turned farmer planted Wales’ first lavender field north of the Brecon Beacons in 2003. Now, the lavender oil distilled on her farm is a key ingredient in FARMERS’ range of body care products sold across the UK and modestly around the world.

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“This is all a happy accident. I had no plan to turn our farm into a business.  I’ll be telling how I was inspired to transform a rainy, windswept Welsh hillsides into fields of blue – a sight more associated with Provence.  And I will share my knowledge on how and how not to run a business.”

Joining Nancy will be Eifion Griffiths of Melin Tregwynt – a family-run business that has successfully kept alive traditional Welsh weaving skills and gained an international reputation for innovation and excellence.

There also will be advice and encouragement from Jill Davies, a fellow maker who has spent almost a decade organising ‘Made it Markets’ – the successful craft and produce events which are held across south Wales.

While multi award-winning textile designer, Emily O’Reilly of the Shetland Island Wool Project, will outline ‘Gwlân to Oo’ – a preliminary project being undertaken to create beneficial economic links between the Welsh and Shetland wool industries.

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The second Agora Craft Workshop will be held on April 11th at Y Plas in Machynlleth.

There, Angharad Gwyn, who established contemporary Welsh gifts retailer ‘Adra’, will share her experiences of selling online and face to face with the public.

All Adra’s homeware and gifts have been made in Wales, created by Welsh designers or feature the Welsh language.

“I established Adra to promote independent Welsh producers and designers, says Angharad. “I will be sharing my experience of retailing with the crafters and giving them tips and advice on how to approach and get their products in front of a shop or stockist.”

Angharad will be joined by Sarah Hellen of Jŵrnal – which showcases the activities and achievements of makers and creatives in Wales; and Camilla Norberg of Machynlleth homeware and interiors retailer The Deco Shop.

Also taking part in the workshop will be Suzi Park of Cardigan-based Make it in Wales, who offers a wide range of high-end craft courses.

Both workshops will run from 10 am to 2 pm and will round off with a Meet the Buyer event where crafters will have the opportunity to showcase their products and skills to potential customers.

“These are the first workshops Agora has held that are specifically targeted at craft makers,” says Agora project manager, Rolant Tomos.

“There is huge potential for Welsh craft producers to utilise their skills and ideas to generate an income. We hope that by coming to our workshops, they will be inspired and gain the confidence todevelop their business to a wider audience.”

To register for the Agora Craft Workshops, please contact Llio Wyn on 01938 530987 or email [email protected]

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