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Buy Handmade : dunlin and diver
As part of our Buy Handmade Campaign we are delighted to introduce a new shop in Kent that sells from UK based designers and makers...
Please tell us who are you and what do you do?
I am Fiona Sutherland and I have recently opened dunlin & diver - a shop selling contemporary art and craft in Deal on the East Kent coast.
Why do you believe we should buy handmade?
I think buying handmade means that you are buying a unique and individual piece and something that will hopefully give you much pleasure over many years to come rather than just being a disposable mass produced item. You will also be supporting crafts people and designer makers in the UK and in the case of dunlin and diver, very likely a local Kent artist or maker.
Handmade items are often more expensive than mass produced things but this only reflects the time and effort involved in their production as well as a bit of love and care. I think that this is reflected in the uniqueness and individuality of most handmade items.
What was the last handmade item you bought, and why?
The last handmade item I bought was a silver necklace from dunlin & diver. I bought it as a gift for a friend.
In your experience, what are the most effective ways of getting those all important customers?
We have been very lucky since opening a few weeks ago as the population of Deal seems to have very much taken us to heart and a we have had a huge amount of positivity and really great feedback since we opened. With regard to attracting new customers and keeping touch with existing customers I think twitter, facebook and of course our website will prove invaluable. We have cards printed for customers to pick up and take away which give them our web address etc. Our online shop will be opening soon for all those customers not lucky enough to live in the Dealarea and be able to visit the shop regularly.
We also aim to change stock often and introduce lots of new designer/makers and artists every few weeks to keep the shop fresh and interesting for regular customers.
Why did you decide to open a shop?
I have wanted to open a shop like dunlin & diver for a few years now as I really felt Deal was lacking a venue to buy handmade contemporary art and craft. I have always enjoyed buying quirky handmade items and had built up a good knowledge of the contemporary craft field in Britain so I knew there were lots of fantastic crafts people at work in the UK. I thought Deal was a good place to open such a venture as I knew there was a good base of arty locals who would hopefully be interested in buying handmade items as well as lots of visitors and holiday makers to Deal.
Many people thought I was a bit crazy opening a new shop in the current economic climate but I really felt that there has been a revival of interest in handmade and handcrafted items over the last few years and that people are much more conscious now about what they spend money on and many are coming to see that it is much more satisfying to pay a little more for a unique handmade piece rather than lots of cheaper mass produced items.
We are particularly interested in supporting local craftspeople and artists and have a special KENTISH MADE tag which we put on locally made items so that customers realise that they are buying things made by local people.
Find Dunlin and Diver at 112 High St. Deal Kent CT14 6EE