Reflecting back on 2021 as a sustainable business.

Daines Atelier at The Frome Independent Christmas Market in December 2021 on Catherine Hill
The final market of the year at The Frome Independent.

What a year it has been to reflect upon. Spending the last few weeks of December stepping back to recharge, enjoy moments with family and sleep. Has really given me the time to reflect back with gratitude over 2021.

Considering the year began with such an unpredictability and a negative perspective regarding the forthcoming year, it was a joy to be able to reflect with so many highs over the past year.

Our First Stockist.

Joining the Poot Emporium collective has certainly been the pivotal moment of the year. With poot being my most favourite shop since being a teenager, it still shocks me every single day to be surrounded by my idols Sows Ear Couture and Collect Me , who I have always looked up to. A huge congratulations to Zoe on the birth of her gorgeous twins as well!

Poot Emporium is a Creative Collective in the vibrant heart of Frome’s Artisan Quarter on Catherine Hill. The shop opened as the first vintage shop in town over 12 years ago. It has evolved over the years to house a fantastic vintage range & book collection. They take great pride in stocking a selection of designers who have the best ethical policies when it comes to the making of their clothes.

I have been lucky enough to be working fortnightly in the Emporium. It is such a joy to work among the most fantastic vintage finds, gorgeous earrings and so many other inspirational designers. I will forever be obsessed with the shop.

Travelling for markets across the UK.

I saw my first market further afield with The Craft and Flea meeting loads of incredible people from Cambridge, Guildford, Bath and beyond. Of course my favourite market The Frome Independent was BLOODY INCREDIBLE. Doing their first night-time market and back on Catherine Hill. It will forever be my favourite time of each month.

These markets have made the backbone of my business. Attending The Craft and Flea for the first time this year was delightful. To meeting makers beyond the Somerset border was incredible. It was also a great way to shop for Christmas presents from independent sellers.

The Frome Independent will always hold a special place within my heart. It was the first destination to present Daines Atelier and it has brought so many opportunities my way. The market is representative of the future of the independent industry. We can finally reclaim the high street and traditional skills.

It was also amazing to be at Sustainable Fashion ONLY markets hosted by Sustainable Fashion Week and Bristol market, also Boneyard Bridge Studios. It’s great to see how a conversation has truly been brought to the mainstream on how to be sustainable, shop small and to look to our future rather than the past.

Bristol Market kept me sane during lockdown. Opening an incredible space online to connect with the independent community. I met many of my close online friends through the platform- who are also such talented and incredible makers. Géraldine has been a great friend and mentor over my journey.

The One to Watch. The Indie Guide.

My little side project The Indie Guide launched another issue. It always brings me so much joy to support so many other small and independent businesses to flourish in their journey alongside Sam Hamlin, Yousef Al Nasser, Donnie Bridgeman and Nicholas Higginson. I cannot wait until next year when we launch our current project in the making.

The Indie Guide is Co-Founded by three independent business owners who have come together to shine a light on the small business community. After seeing first-hand, the lack of support given to small businesses looking to promote their products to a larger audience and the struggles that business owners face when trying to go into wholesale, we knew we had to help!

We launched The Indie Guide in 2020 (Yes, that’s right – mid pandemic!) to introduce and support unique businesses on their wholesale journey in a stylish, affordable and approachable way. We focus on changing how consumerism works, promoting sustainability, and we fully support the slow movement by knowing the transparency of the brands we feature within each publication.

Most people are unaware of many small businesses because they cannot afford the same amount of public exposure as a corporation. We play a big part in redressing this imbalance by highlighting only independent businesses and their owners. Our vision not only raises awareness of the importance of shopping independent but gives confidence, hope and belief to the business owners themselves.

Each edition of The Indie Guide is shared with wholesalers, retailers and stockiest from around the world who are looking to find unique products to stock and sell. We bring together the best up-and-coming designers, makers and creatives to give them the knowledge and power to turn their business into a global brand.

Creative Projects within the Frome Community.

One of the most humble things to happen this year was the Stitch and Bitch organised by Hook me Up . Who would have thought so many like minded creatives would be hidden in Frome. And to all those involved… my jumper is nearly there. I need your help this year to figure out my pattern! (I’m looking at you Marta).

Inspiring the next generation.

Daines Atelier Evie Daines lecturing at The University Centre Somerset
Lecturing at The University Centre Somerset.

I was lucky enough to find myself as a guest practitioner at University Centre Somerset presenting a lecture of Fabrics for Design. The lecture involved an in depth analysis of how fabric can influence the final outcome of our work. It can be the pivotal decided between something incredible and not. I was lucky enough to return to the University to offer further feedback sessions for the students also.

Working from our Artists Studio.

But, I have to finish off my New Years reflections with my home Silk Mill Studios and my family The Silk Mill Collective . I do not know where I would be without the wisdom and love given by everyone at the silk mill. I feel beyond lucky to find myself surrounded by such talented Individuals. I cannot thank you enough for all the help given to me to grow as a person, an artist and a business owner you have given to me.

Silk Mill Studios and Gallery operates from one of the best preserved former textile mills anywhere in the south-west. We launched in May 2008 and have exhibitions, concerts, workshops and a multitude of other events.

Here’s to next year.

I send the most specialist thanks to Emily Perry for being my social media guru, helping me to grow my online presence and confidence. I adore you as a business partner and friend.

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