Q&A: Our Handmade Collective shuns online for a true shopping experience

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Our Handmade Collective, located in the Grand Arcade, doesn’t sell online and instead promotes the experience of shoppers actually visiting the store. Here, co-owner Claire Riley talks to Ricky Charlesworth about the store’s success

HOW DID THE BUSINESS START?

We started in 2013, a partnership between myself and Natalie Entwistle.

We wanted to sell our own products. It started with us working with 19 workers and gradually those numbers increased to what is now 70 local makers.

I’d say 95 per cent of the people we work with are from Yorkshire and that’s really important to us.

WHAT KIND OF PRODUCTS DO YOU SELL?

We’re a handmade gift shopping experience.

We do greetings cards, jewellery and homeware and there’s artwork that does really well - there’s a bit of everything!

WHICH SELL BEST?

We have lots of animal-related products which tend to do really well, such as mugs and coasters.

And things that are quirky and have puns in them go fast too.

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE?

We don’t sell online and made that decision because the whole ethos of our shop is that it’s an experience to visit our shop.

It’s lovely seeing people walk into the shop and seeing their faces light up.

People can spend a little time here and it’s a good atmosphere - something you don’t get if you buy online.

We’ve got a Christmas launch event on November 1 (5-8pm) which is always a big event for us.

WHAT KIND OF RESPONSE DO YOU GET?

We’re actually number one on TripAdvisor for shopping in Leeds, which is huge and something we’re really pleased and passionate about.

Our Handmade Collective is open seven days a week.