Our 2018 highlights

As we start to make plans and goals for Selwyn House in 2019, it seemed the right time to stop for a few minutes and appreciate just how much we did last year! 2018 was our first full year as Selwyn House, and I remember at the beginning of the New Year thinking, what would it be amazing to have done by the end of the year? We’d never done a market or show this time last year, we had just a little Etsy shop and a few pieces we’d made in our spare time. We worked HARD last year, so much so we swept past both our 30th birthdays and our 10th year together without much celebration. I barely remember having a day off. We focused so much on moving forward I think we missed a lot of the things we’d been working towards! So this acts as a well done, to ourselves, but most of all a huge THANK YOU to all those who supported and encouraged us - here’s a few highlights of our year.

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We’re very lucky to live so close to the location of one of the best shopping events around - the Fabulous Places markets at the Roundhouse in Derby. After visiting the hugely busy Christmas market in November 2017 it was on our ‘wishlist’ to get a spot at one of those markets. Deb (aka Fabulous Places) puts on a visual feast, with stunning styling and a great atmosphere. As well as this she really does believe in local, independent businesses and handpicks over 100 of them for each event. Despite us not really having much in the way of social media presence or Etsy sales, she must have seen something in us and we got a spot at the Spring Market! I won’t pretend we smashed it on our first event - looking back there are so many things we’d have done differently - but, we were there, we were selling Selwyn House products we’d made, and it opened the way for a whole year of events, including the Summer and Christmas markets in the same location. A huge thank you goes to Deb - I am sure we aren’t the only business out there forever indebted to your belief in us!

Image courtesy of Made+Good

Image courtesy of Made+Good

Image courtesy of  teawithruby.co.uk

Image courtesy of teawithruby.co.uk

As we started to put things out on Instagram (and quickly became a little bit addicted to it!) we’d look at others who were making amazing work or supporting independents. One of those who made it onto the ‘wishlist’ was Made+Good, a website dedicated to UK made craft which we’d found through Instagram. The work was beautiful, carefully curated with a simple, honest feel, plus a percentage of profits goes to charity. It was out of the blue one day that Alex (founder of the Made+Good site) messaged us through Instagram asking about our linens! It’s an incredible feeling when anyone likes something you’ve made, but even more so when it’s someone who’s on the ‘wishlist’! Alex is so dedicated to Made+Good, both the makers and charities her site supports, and it’s an absolute honour to be part of the site. It’s also the reason we’ve had some ‘pinch me’ moments with our work featured in magazines, newspapers and blogs! Honestly, it was all I could do not to tell the staff in Sainsburys that my napkins were on the cover of House Beautiful magazine! It still makes me giddy to see Selwyn House featured, even if it’s just the corner of a napkin, and we’re so thankful to Alex and all she’s done for us through Made+Good.

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We’ve been so lucky to attend some brilliant markets and events this year, and it seems cruel and ungrateful to pick one as a highlight - but making the selection for Made by Hand Cardiff cemented it in our heads that actually, we’re kind of good at this! It’s nerve wracking applying for events of that calibre (‘Are we ready? Are we good enough? What if we look awful compared to everyone else?’) But I think it pushed us to produce better work than we had before, to focus our efforts for the 2 months beforehand on pieces we were really proud of. And luckily it seemed to pay off (though, those two months were nothing but work. I think Sean managed to actually sand his fingers to the bone). We are eternally grateful to everyone at Craft Festival, for letting us be one of the incredible line-up of talented makers. We had a busy, tiring weekend, we met wonderful fellow stallholders, talked A LOT about wood, but we kind of can’t wait to do it all over again (fingers crossed…!)


Away from the events and features there’s just us two - day in day out! There’s no big team behind the scenes - a lot of the work that goes on, including this website, all the product photographs, all the social media content - is just us, the same as many small businesses out there. I’m so proud of how far our photography and brand identity has come in the past 12 months. There are so many small achievements we haven’t mentioned here. We’ve met some incredible makers who have been so warm and generous even if we’ve only been stall neighbours for a few hours! Trust me, if you’ve stopped by our stall or liked a post online or spent your hard earned cash on something we’ve made, then you’ve made the hard work worthwhile. Hopefully this post doesn’t come across as an egotistical run-through of achievements but as an appreciation of our own and others efforts to make this our living. We’re making this year’s ‘wishlist’ and we’re more than excited, and a little bit nervous, about where 2019 is going to take us - we’ll see in 12 months shall we?!

Sean Best