It’s that time of year when you’re lost with what to buy for your friends and family. Despair no more, there is a fantastic Christmas Market in our fair London town for you to pop along to, Urban Makers East.
Urban Makers East was founded in Bow, the heart of the East End, by a group of designers and makers Ilka, Jo and Julia. We chatted with the wonderful Ilka Dickens to get the low down.
How did the Christmas Market come about?
Being makers ourselves we realised that a local, designer led market was missing from our lively, creative and diverse area. With so many other established and budding designers, artists, crafters and all round great people on our doorstep, we wanted to take over local spaces and create somewhere for them to showcase and sell their unique creations.
It started in 2013 with a one off Christmas market in a small church in Bow and has mushroomed from there. We have since hosted seasonal markets at the stunning Mile End Ecology Pavilion and collaborated with the Roman Road Summer and Winter Festivals, Winterville London and The East End Design Fair
How do you source brands for each show ?
We open applications at least 5 weeks before an event. Submissions are made online through our website. We send out newsletters and post on our social media channels to let people know that applications are open. We also keep an eye out for and approach brands that we know our customers will like.
We are heavily oversubscribed for each event so it’s often very hard to whittle the list down. Luckily we have space for over 50 stalls in the pavilion so we can have a diverse mix of traders. We categorise the applicants in sectors, i.e. jewellery, artwork and stationery, children’s wear and accessories etc and we try to have a balanced mix from each sector. We know our market and what sells well so we often base our decisions on this. We have our favourite designers that we invite back as we know they sell well, but at least 50% – 60% of our traders are new to Urban Makers East at each market. It helps to keep each market fresh.
Where to start? There will be over 100 designer makers trading at our Christmas Market – Over 50 different traders each day. There are three workshops to choose from – arm knit your own scarf, make origami Christmas decorations (for adults and children) and make your own organic body polish.
We also have a scrumptious range of festive food and drink at Urban Makers Feast. Join us for artisan coffee, cakes, wholesome hot food -including meat balls and pork sliders – and indulge in Christmas cocktails and mulled cider.
Tower Hamlets Mums are hosting the Mini Makers Craft room When the kids need a break from shopping, come and visit us in our Mini Makers craft room, plus find our festive back-drop where you can have the family photographed by a professional photographer.
And if you get there early (doors open at 11) you could walk away with a free goodie bag full of products generously donated by our designer makers. Each bag has a value of our £60. Please see our website for terms and conditions. You could also win one over on our Instagram page.
And that’s not all….We are also hosting a Christmas hamper raffle in support of Samuel’s Charity Our hamper is full of wonderful products (valued at over £100) – again, all donated by our designer makers. Please purchase your raffle ticket at the market and give generously.
Join Urban Makers Facebook event page for more updates.