Rocking Day in the Life of… Sheena and Louise, Founders and Owners of m.a.d.e (Makers and Designers Emporium) in Cirencester

Your emporium to date has sold on behalf of over 250 designers and makers – where do you find these beautiful things?

As an emporium we are constantly on the lookout for new makers (no stone is left unturned) in fact that’s how we spend the majority of our time as sourcing new collections is paramount to keeping m.a.d.e. fresh and up to date and of course beautiful. We are approached constantly by makers and designers and we view lots on line (Instagram is brilliant for this), but we also go to shows like Top Drawer, New designers and smaller venues whenever they pop up. It’s also essential when we are sourcing new work for the emporium that it works with the existing collections.

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Do you have any particular favourite pieces in m.a.d.e that inspire you?

I don’t know if there’s one piece but collectively it works…you walk in and bang it hits you, there are so many beautiful  products and it’s so colourful and bright in here ‘I sometimes refer it to being like a Pandora’s box as you never know what you’ll find’ or like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates and you definitely need to spend time in here as you’ll miss so much if you don’t.

We love and really appreciate the makers we have and the skills they possess. It’s great when we are viewing items and then the work comes in….You just can’t beat holding an item and getting a real feel for something. The creativity and skills are immense and we feel very lucky to have so many makers. We had one customer who came this summer from Europe who knew of m.a.d.e. from Instagram and only came to this area because of us. Saying we were thrilled is an understatement it was a proud moment and the lovely lady said it was even more impressive than she had imagined it would be.

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James Pegg’s work (Lecturer and Ceramicist) Work Titled…Action Cast Porcelain…based in London…Fluted Cup costs £26.00

Tell us about your business – who’s behind the scenes?

It’s myself Sheena and business partner Louise who manage and do everything. We are both makers which is how we met and came to open m.a.d.e. This was an important step for us, as having bricks and mortar to showcase ours and everyone else’s work meant we could have items on view all year round although neither of us have time at the moment to create new designs or make. Running m.a.d.e. keeps us very busy but hopefully in the near future we would both like to start working on our own projects again.

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Laure Filho: Local Jewellery Designer & maker from Cheltenham…also offers a bespoke service…Stacking rings (various prices)

What’s a fairly typical morning and afternoon for you?

It starts with a coffee then we undertake all the usual shop duties, which range from accounting, to the online web shop/social media management and sourcing organising and buying and curating our collections, customer commissions and internet orders, and of course assisting our lovely customers in any way we can.

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Annaliv…Scandinavian & Nordic inspired Children’s wear…based in Cirencester. Beautifully packaged babies and children’s wear that come in wonderful wooden keepsake boxes…Winter suits start from £55.00

What would you say about the work/life balance of being in the Cotswolds?

Cirencester is such a lovely and friendly place to work and live…it’s very upbeat and there’s a lot going on from venues to great places to eat and the shopping of course is fabulous. There is a wealth of independent shops here and we are constantly told by our customers that they prefer Cirencester to so many other local towns because there is so much choice and it’s also a great little hub for creatives including galleries, the Corn Hall and the outside artisan market. There really is a lot going on in Cirencester.

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Some of m.a.d.e’s Hedgehog toys prices start from £25.00     

Where would you recommend to grab a bite to eat during lunch in and around Cirencester?  Are there any local pubs or bars outside of Cirencester that you love?

Toro is great for a quick bite to eat and has a lovely relaxed atmosphere. We also love the Wild Duck at Ewan…such a fab place, the food, atmosphere and the décor and apparently the Queen Mother used to love it too!

What’s been the most challenging and rewarding part of your job so far?

Since it’s just the two of us that own, run and staff m.a.d.e. it can be challenging when keeping on top of all that needs to be done, as with all business there are many roles that need to be fulfilled so we are constantly kept on our toes, but after 11 years in business we have learnt to cope well with this and lean on each other when we need to.

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Close up of the interior showing some textiles…in the forefront is hand screen printed pouches are from LOOP…£16.99

When customers come back in to tell us how well a gift was received and say thank you it always brings a huge smile to our faces.

We also enjoy the sense of discovery involved with finding new makers collections for the shop. It’s such a thrill when collections arrive, unboxing them is always an exciting time the curating them into beautiful displays. This whole process can take time but it’s fantastic to see how much appreciation our customers show us, and their delight in the discovery to.

Are there any items that you’ve brought into the shop recently that you’ve got your eye on?

I’m loving Fiona Wilson’s work especially her contemporary wooden vases collection…I really need one for my house. Oh and not forgetting Anna and Simon from Pink and Scull (the purveyors of curio’s) these lavish and brightly painted wall cabinets are truly pieces of art that have been  filled to the brim with gorgeous hand painted butterflies  that hang beautifully on the wall…these are fabulous reworked cabinets that have been brought back to life and make great talking points.

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Anna & Simon’s work from Pink & Scull…these re-worked lavish wall cabinets are filled to the brim with handmade butterflies…based in Hampshire…cabinets start from £300.00

What three things would you say to encourage anyone looking to buy the perfect gift but without a clue where to start?

Buy a gift that conveys thought for the person you are giving it to, take time to think will they cherish this? And lastly will it bring a smile to their face?. Remember to always wrap your gift with beautiful paper and some ribbon perhaps adding in some confetti or chocolates for an extra special touch and of course take time to add a special message to the person you are giving it to, write something they will remember or that will make them laugh, your words are just as important as the gift.

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Fiona Wilson…Contemporary Artist producing paper and wood printed goods…based in Staffordshire…Screen printed wooden vases…£30.00

How do you unwind after a busy day?

It would have to be a G&T.

Finally, if you could recommend one place to go in the Cotswolds for a first time visitor, where would you recommend?

Gosh there are so many lovely places in the Cotswolds but I would have to say Cirencester’s outdoor pool, it’s natural spring water is heated and it’s a wonderful place and way to start your day…you can’t beat an early morning swim.

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Cirencester open air pool (open May to Sept every year)

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