As you may know last weekend I was in Nijmegen for the 2 day Smaak Markt. I had never been that far from Amsterdam before and felt pretty nervous not knowing how people would respond to my Wool & Water wares and how well I would be able to get by in my basic Dutch.
I can understand far more Nederlands than I can speak. When it comes to Wool & Water I can almost entirely communicate what I believe makes what I do special and of interest to people, but I had no idea whether outside of the cosmopolitan Amsterdam that would all translate.
I needn't have worried at all - I found the organisers, attendees and my neighbours some of the friendliest, most welcoming and enthusiastic people I have ever met at a market! The sun was shining (in fact I got a little tan on Monday) and the people kept coming and buying pieces from every collection. The Lapel Pins and Suspenders/Bretels were definitely the most popular but I also sold some Bow Ties for people's up-coming Weddings which is always a great feeling for me!
I had so many compliments on all the ranges I felt quite sore from all the smiling - not a bad problem to have at all!
As I still don't drive and it was a 2.5 hour journey from home, I had packed everything up into 1 big suitcase and 2 bags and stayed over in a local hotel the night before and in-between - so you can see why it felt a real adventure.
I would like to quickly tell you about some of my fellow designer-makers who were there with some truly beautiful ranges.
My lovely neighbour for both days was Dott. is a young ethical fashion label run by a dedicated couple, Feline & Roos.
Dott's gender neutral sweatshirts and t-shirts are designed by the girls and then handmade in Nijmegen in organic cotton by two young refugee men, one from Syria and the other from Somalia. In their home countries they worked as tailors and are getting the opportunity to transfer their skills and be part of a really exciting start up. Having decided, after watching the True Cost documentary, that I will only buy fair & ethical from now on, I could not resist and bought a t-shirt (pictured below) which fits perfectly and is super soft. It will not be my last Dott. purchase.
You can follow Dott. on Instagram @dott.stories
I also bought a beautiful illustrated print from Studio Roux for the Wool & Water Studio. Marlous had so many beauties it was hard to choose from but I already have my eye on some further purchases!
Follow Studio Roux @marlous.roelofs
Last but not least was Dilli Jewellery, a beautiful boutique brand run by a Adnan, a New Delhi native and his Dutch girlfriend Ineke. They were so chatty and charming and their handmade pieces so interesting and diverse. Their label was born out of bringing their two cultures together in their relationship - who can resist that!?
Follow Dilli @dillijewellery
So THANK YOU Smaak Markt and the people of Nijmegen for the welcome and response, I loved it!