It’s Au Revoir not Goodbye

Happy New Year!  I hope you have had a restful break if that’s what you needed.  There’s so much expectation that we should hit the new year running, but I think it’s equally important to take stock and have some time to think through priorities and plans.  That’s certainly what I’ve been doing, and although I do need to get cracking on an up-and-coming exhibition, I also want to spend January thinking about what 2023 needs to look like for me. 

And this is where I have news to share.  Well, it’s more about empty space than actual news.  But empty space is important, in life as well as in design!   I have decided that I am not going to be organising any of the usual fairs in 2023.  I need to make room for new projects, and to pay more attention to existing business commitments. 

Design@HEART has been going for 8 years.  Can you believe that!  I was thinking 6 or 7 but I’ve just checked and the first were in 2015.   (Of course, some of you will remember fairs at HEART in the early years as HEART& Craft, and those were run by Hayley).  I started the company as a stallholder myself, with the aim of providing a fantastic selling opportunity for local designers and makers, here on my doorstep.  I wanted to combine the best bits of fairs and fair organisers I’d experienced and add on to it lots of local knowledge, and my decades’ worth of events management.

As a stallholder, the things that really stood out for me as being key to a great fair were professionality, clarity, value for money and good organisation, great customer service, a friendly and supportive atmosphere, good quality marketing and lots of it, knowledge of the location and customer base, curation of quality stalls and stallholders, and, last but perhaps most key, absolute dedication on the part of the organisers to do their best by their stallholders.  It took me a year or two to work out exactly how those all translated to Design@HEART, and sometimes I’ve overcompensated with chocolate, or misjudged timings for events, or hospitalised myself with over-eagerness (remember the face on pavement incident?  And more recently, the broken leg?  Oops!) But I hope I’ve mostly succeeded with those objectives.  Sometimes people – usually ‘outsiders’ – have commented that I care ‘too much’ about my stallholders, that I go above and beyond, that I don’t need to put so much effort into keeping everyone happy, but I think it’s precisely that attention to detail that’s earned Design@HEART fantastic support and participation from some of the best designer makers in West Yorkshire over the years, and some very loyal customers.

I have loved every minute of organising Design@HEART Art and Craft Fairs thus far.  I’ve honed my organising skills, learnt a lot, and met dozens of fabulous talented people.  Design@HEART has become a by-word for quality fairs, and is a much-treasured event for the people of Headingley.  I’m really proud of what we have achieved.  Because it is ‘we’.  Without fantastic local designer makers, and without the staff at HEART, and without all our lovely customers, it would be nothing.  It’s been an absolute pleasure. But I’ve also learnt what my limitations are.  I’m older and a lot more disabled than I was 8 years ago, and I need a lot more help with the physical parts of running events (see aforementioned broken leg incident), so I need to figure out how to make that work.  And I need to commit to my own artistic practice and to give some proper attention to The Green Yard – my plant and garden shop.  I need a bit of a break!

This is not the end of Design@HEART.  There will be new ideas, new events, maybe even more of the same at some point in the future.  I will get the urge sooner or later to put on a fair!  Please do stick with me on social media and on the mailing list. 

Thankyou all, for being here, for supporting me and Design@HEART, for turning up as stallholders, as colleagues, as customers, as friends.  It’s all about the people in the end isn’t it.

With very best wishes

Becky Moore

Design@HEART

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