One morning in mid-November 2020 I woke up with the idea for the Nether Edge Fair in my head, just like that. I had been organising an annual 'real-life' Arts and Crafts Fair at St Andrew's Psalter Lane Church, Nether Edge, Sheffield, as part of the Nether Edge Festival for four years, so I had a list of good artists and craftspeople in the area. When COVID-19 stopped the 2020 Arts and Crafts Fair and the local Farmers' Markets, I wondered what could be done to help creative people to sell their products to customers, and this is what I came up with.
With many shops shut during the various stages of lockdown, and with lots more people working from home or furloughed, online shopping has become more important than ever. People are becoming more aware of how the things they buy are made, who makes them, and where they come from. They want to buy more ethically, more ecologically, and help their local communities.
So, a local Fair, but not just for local people - an online Fair can reach customers all over the country. In fact we've had orders from Europe and beyond, with people living in far-flung countries wanting to send gifts to friends and family in the UK!
I ran the idea past a few people to check it didn't seem too crazy, enlisted the help of a friend to set up the website, and the rest is history (with a bit of economics and IT thrown in for good measure).