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The story behind Pazaar

I love shopping in independent brick-and-mortar stores. I completely agree with Mary Portas, "that independent shops are the future of our high streets". That's how "Shop Indie Day" came about. To me, there's nothing better than finding a lovely, and well-curated independent shop. That's why I wanted to create a new series here on the blog, featuring some amazing independent shops, and the people behind these wonderful places, as told by them. First up is Nicola and Ben's shop, Pazaar in North Wales.




The story behind Pazaar


Pazaar is more than a shop...it's all about our stories & journeys. From three years living in Turkey to life in North Wales... & our big leap into running a business & working for ourselves.


Three years living in Turkey introduced us to many new and wonderful experiences. What started out as a one-year adventure travelling and living in Southern Turkey, turned into three years as we fell in love with all things Turkish; the people, the language, the landscape, food, culture and lifestyle. One of the highlights was discovering inspirational and beautiful Turkish products for the home: amazing handwoven blankets, rugs and throws, traditional Turkish towels (peshtemals), the Turkish çay samovar (tea maker), wooden biscuit moulds, terracotta ceramics and olive oil soap all quickly became features in our own home there.


So, this is where the idea for Pazaar emerged. Since our return to the UK, friends and family have visited us, and we've shared our stories and experiences of life in Turkey. They have all left wanting their own handmade Turkish towel, throw, biscuit mould or olive oil soaps...and so the idea of sharing our experiences and creating our own Turkish market emerged.


We have an online presence through our Pazaar website, and last year we opened a small shop in Porthmadog, North Wales. The shop is our Turkish Bazaar in the heart of Snowdonia, featuring all the things we love from our time living in Turkey. Alongside our Turkish products we have invited our favourite local artists, designers and craft makers from where we now live in North Wales and beyond to work collaboratively with us. We love weaving together the maker stories from Turkey, North Wales and beyond & we think the combination of products just work beautifully together.




What do you love about running a shop?


The shop model we have developed is a model where some of our local makers do days for space and others sell with us on a commission basis. The ‘days for space’ model means that we have a lovely mix of makers working in the shop every day and it’s an opportunity for our customers to meet our makers & often watch them busy making! They are often busy basket weaving, spinning wool and sketching alongside running the shop.


We love working collaboratively with our local artists, makers and designers. As small independent businesses, none of us could stock a shop on our own, but collectively we can! Since opening last year our list of local makers has grown from 6 to 23 makers.


Spending time chatting to our customers is so important and makes our shop days so special! A good day is when we’ve had time to have a good old natter! We love the exchange of stories …our journey developing Pazaar, our individual maker stories and listening to our local & beyond customer stories about living in or visiting Porthmadog.



Three small brands you adore stocking and why?


Being relatively new to running a business we have loved discovering and learning from other small businesses. Sharing stories of how we started, the late night kitchen table wrapping and packing and how we have developed and grown our businesses organically.

1.CALON CANDLES

A small independent business based in Wales that make the most gorgeous scented candles with bi lingual descriptions, which is important to us as we live in a town where Welsh is the first language for locals. We love that all their candles are vegan-friendly and that they use locally sourced fragrances and materials sourced from other small UK businesses.


2.SEAPIG

A small independent family run business in Anglesey. They make bespoke jewellery from sea glass that they collect from beaches. They have a passion for reusing materials and promoting plastic-free alternatives. We have loved watching the Seapig journey, from making their own sea-glass jewellery and now running an eco-craft gallery, cafe, artisan studio spaces and workshops.


3.SCRUNCH BUCKETS

When we decided to open a shop in the seaside town of Porthmadog, we were determined to source good quality, eco-friendly and long-lasting buckets & spades. You can’t have a shop by the seaside without buckets & spades! We’ve sourced a few but our all-time favourites are Scrunch Buckets.


A business that, like ours, started life small & has now grown to become globally known and loved for its buckets & spades. The awarding winning Scrunch Buckets are recyclable, reusable buckets for life. Called Scrunch Buckets because unlike most hard plastic buckets you can roll, squash and scrunch them. They are indestructible and make travelling and storage easy!



Your top tip for brands looking to be stocked by you.


Our focus is working together with local makers from Porthmadog & the surrounding areas (Gwynedd). But if the products fit and fill a gap, we do also work with makers from other areas in Wales and the rest of UK.


We curate the products in the shop and only choose products we love and that sit beautifully alongside the other crafts, art and design that we sell.


Ultimately, we want our makers to do well in the shop, so we are committed to ensuring we don’t duplicate products, and we will only take on new products that fill a gap.


So if you are considering contacting us about working with us;

  • Priority is given to local makers, artists and designers from Gwynedd.

  • We will consider artists, makers and brands from other parts of Wales and UK wide.

  • We are keen to introduce new brands and different products into the shop and to fill the gaps. For example, some of the gaps that we’d like to introduce /extend our range, are homeware, adult clothing, knitted hats and socks and stationery. We are always on the lookout for innovative creations from other small independent businesses.


You can find Nicola & Ben's beautiful shop, Pazaar on 5 Bank Place, Porthmadog, LL49 9AA. And if you're not planning a visit to Snowdonia anytime soon, you can visit them on pazaar.co.uk, and follow along over on Instagram @pazaar.co.uk.

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