Artisan entrepreneurs have said taking part in a young traders competition has given them the confidence to pursue their creative careers.
Dannie Sharratt and Emily Williams were crowned the winners of the Young Traders competition, which took place in their home town of Newcastle-under-Lyme on Saturday 27 July, and both say the whole experience has helped to steer their future plans.
“I really couldn’t believe I won,” says Dannie, who specialises in abstract portrait art.
“Taking part in the whole competition has had more of a positive impact on me than I thought it would. I was starting to question where my art was going and if I’d ever get anywhere with it, but by doing this it has allowed me to think about what I want to do with my art and where I want to go. I am also considering having my own market stall in the future at a local market. It has genuinely given me a lift and I’m much happier.”
Emily adds: “I was surprised to win too as I only heard about it last minute and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to take part.
“It was such a good experience and I’m really glad I did it. I did not think I could have a business from doing my art, but now I’ve realised I can. I think there are a lot more opportunities to do it and having something like a stall in the future would be great.”
Emily, aged 23 and Dannie, aged 26 (pictured in main picture) both agree that one of the benefits of taking part in the competition was receiving feedback from shoppers in the town, and meeting other local artists.
Dannie said: “I could not believe how many people came to look at my work and also gave comments and positive feedback – which all really helps and it makes you think to yourself that you can do your art and you can be successful.
“I’d encourage any artist to get involved in this in the future, even if they think their art is not quite good enough – it is – and everyone’s art is their own style.”
Emily, whose art is centred around pet portraits, canvases and water colours went on to say: “It was great to chat to the other artists and I got a lot of tips from just speaking to others which has been really helpful.
“A lot of people came up to look at my work and I had a lot of positive feedback. There were a lot of artists there and it was great to get that support from others. Having a stall like that was like being part of a community.”
The Young Traders Market is run by the National Market Traders Federation (NMTF) – the only national UK organisation representing market traders – and it is the second time it has been held in Newcastle-under-Lyme following its success in 2019.
The initiative which aims to encourage more 16-30 year olds to consider incorporating market trading into their business model.
Both Dannie and Emily will now go on to the finals which will take place in Stratford-upon-Avon in August this year.
Councillor Stephen Sweeney, portfolio holder for Newcatsle-under-Lyme Town Centre, said: “The Young Traders Market was a real opportunity for a group of young, talented and entrepreneurial artisans to show their work and, importantly, to talk to customers about it. We hope it acts as a springboard to future success in the market place for each of them. Shoppers seemed pleased to see them and I think that the Young Traders Market will become a regular feature here in Newcastle.”