Nellies members get set for a fair effort
A GROUP set up to champion small business talent in North East Lincolnshire is holding its next event in Cleethorpes this weekend.
North East Lincolnshire Ladies in Enterprise, or Nellies as it is more commonly known, was founded last year to provide a platform for local entrepreneurs to sell their products.
Although set up by local women who juggle parenthood with running their own small business, the group welcomes members of either sex.
At the Nellies Autumn Fair this Sunday, more than 20 local traders will be showcasing home-made and handcrafted products as diverse as cards and wedding stationery, nursing wear and jewellery.
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It is the third fair the group have held since forming in June last year, after deciding that existing craft fairs were not the right platform to showcase their diverse range of businesses.
Event organiser Caroline Plowes said the group provided an effective way for fledgling companies to get exposure for their businesses, without the overheads of running their own premises.
She said: "A lot of the stall holders have other jobs on the side and they are not in a position to pack those in completely to focus on their businesses.
"This is a good stepping stone for people to get themselves out there."
Caroline said although the market place was tough for all businesses in the current economic climate, there was a definite demand for handcrafted products.
She added: "It isn't easy out there at the moment, but it is becoming very fashionable to buy hand-stitched items, so the market is definitely there."
Caroline, who balances running Annack Designs, a jewellery and hair accessories business with another part-time job and looking after her two young children, added: "I've been running the business since April of last year. Before that I dabbled with it as a hobby.
"I would love to have my own premises and make it more of a full-time venture, but with two small children and a third one on the way, that's something for the future."
After losing some of the original members due to family commitments, Caroline said the group was "starting afresh".
She added: "It's still early days for us. Most of our activity is online at the moment, but that could all change.
"We have a group on Facebook where we keep people up to date with what's going on, and any local small businesses are welcome to join our page. We are hoping to make it bigger and better."
Find out more
The Nellies Autumn Fair is at Cleethorpes Memorial Hall on Sunday, September 16 from 10am to 2pm.
For more information about the group, visit www.facebook.com/nellies.lincs.