Mary Portas Replies to the Handmade Community
Friday, August 20th, 2010 at 3:38 pm
Posted by Jenny Hudson
Mary Portas, aka Mary Queen of Shops, has spoken to the UK handmade industry via an open letter on her website.
On August 12th craft blogs UK Handmade and Handmade and Fabulous! posted an open letter to Mary Portas, asking for her help to raise the industry’s profile and bring handmade goods to the high street.
Mary’s advice was as follows, “If you want to compete with the big boys, you need to step up your game and act like sophisticated retailers who just happen to sell handmade products.” She went onto make a number of suggestions on selling online, PR, product adjacencies and pricing. She also talked about product placement, “I love handmade products and I think they have a real place in the future of retail, but I want handmade in a modern, sexy environment, not handmade in a Church hall.” Her points were tough but absolutely spot on.
Anna Stassen, Editor of UK Handmade Magazine, agreed with Mary’s points saying, “In her own inimitable way, Mary served up some blunt but very useful advice which all designer-makers would do well to take on board and put into practice. At the end of the day, raising the profile of handmade falls to us all as designer-makers and we can each play our part in making the image of handmade match the reality by taking our own businesses to the next level.”
Susan Morrow, from Handmade and Fabulous! felt that the issues needed more discussion, “Mary made some pertinent points about how individuals can up their game in the overall fashion and accessories industry, but she didn’t address the main issue of overall perception of the industry image and accessibility to handmade products.”
The teams from UK Handmade and Handmade and Fabulous! have emailed Mary’s Yellowdoor agency to request a meeting to discuss the issue in more detail and to invite her to help in raising the profile of the handmade brand within the UK.
The original letter can be found on the blogs:
UK Handmade: http://ukhandmade.co.uk/magazine/handmadeneedsyou
Handmade and Fabulous!: http://fabulouslyhandmade.blogspot.com/2010/08/mary-portas-handmade-fashion-and.html
You can read Mary Portas’s Open Letter to the UK Handmade Industry here: http://www.maryportas.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=77:an-open-letter-to-the-uk-handmade-industry