10/05/2024 - Permalink

Shropshire Artisan Showcase proves to be “an awesome opportunity”

Related topics: Economic growth / Partner organisations

In mid-April 2024 a pop-up artisan retail shop at The Darwin centre, Shrewsbury proved a resounding success.

Eight local artisans from around Shropshire were offered the opportunity to ‘set up shop’ in a vacant retail unit in the centre for a week. Overnight they turned the unit into a functioning retail space and provided a unique shopping experience for visitors.

Shropshire Artisan Showcase sign

Shropshire Artisan Showcase

The initiative was the brainchild of the Shropshire Growth Hub and Louise Welsby from local company Buy-From.  A similar type of ‘pop-up shop’ was first trialled in 2018 and proved so popular that the Shropshire Growth Hub were keen to repeat it.

The showcase window

The showcase window

Anna Sadler from the Shropshire Growth Hub commented:-

“It’s been a terrific success for all concerned. The space looked amazing after our artisans had dressed it and was a real draw to passers-by. Most trade online or at craft fairs with no experience of trading in a physical shop environment. All have reported that it was an extremely worthwhile initiative and that they gained a great deal from the experience.”

The Darwin provided free retail space within the centre and Louise Welsby from Buy-From helped to organise and promote the event alongside the Shropshire Growth Hub, who provided workshops and seminars in the run up to the event.

The group which eventually took over the vacant unit included artists and illustrators, a perfumier, a company creating items through upcycling, another that created homeware, and a creator of original handcrafted jewellery.

The showcase window

The showcase window

Kate Johnston from Copper Moss Jewellery said:-

“ People who follow me on social media were pleased to be able to meet me in person, and discussions with my customers about the kind of jewellery they like has inspired me to create some new designs. The chance to network and collaborate with the other artisans was also fantastic. We have all become good friends and are keen to build and grow this group to develop further opportunities.”

Gisela Robinson from Gisella Robinson Art & Illustration said:-

“I have learnt a great deal from both the other artisans and the Shropshire Growth Hub. I have already incorporated all the advice they provided in the pre-event sessions into my business. It was truly a fantastic experience on both a personal and a professional level – an awesome opportunity.”

Kevin Lockwood, The Darwin manager, said:-

“ We were very pleased to support this initiative. It certainly provided something different for our customers who seemed to enjoy the opportunity to see and purchase home-grown crafts from Shropshire businesses. We would be happy to repeat this again in the future.”

Louise Welsby from Buy-from commented:-

“All of the artisans found the week a tremendously useful experience. Many have grown in confidence both as artists and as businesses. It makes all the hard work to bring this together so worthwhile when you get his kind of feedback.”


Mark Jones, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for growth and regeneration, said:-

“This is a great example of the tremendous work Shropshire Growth Hub does across the county. They work in collaboration with a wide range of organisations and businesses and are keen to both initiate and support innovative initiatives like this. We have a strong creative sector in Shropshire, and this was an opportunity to shine a light on just a small section of the tremendous talent we have here.”

To find out more about how the Shropshire Growth Hub supports businesses see https://www.investinshropshire.co.uk/relocating-and-investing/business-support/

Further information

A pop-up artisan retail shop featured at The Darwin in Shrewsbury from Monday 15 April to Saturday 20 April 2024 inclusive.

The artisans taking part were :

  • Isla Bradley Designs
  • Pegboarders
  • Copper Moss Jewellery
  • Sarah Corkhill Art
  • Calluna Upcycling
  • The Perfume Laboratory
  • Mustard and Grey
  • Gisela Robinson