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Business Hub Opens Third Shop in West Wales to Meet Customer Demand

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Traders are enjoying start-up success with the support of Antur Cymru Enterprise.

Entrepreneurs, makers, and independent producers in west Wales are benefiting from the organisation’s Cymorth Busnes Lleol / Local Business Support programme.

After opening retail units in Aberystwyth and Newcastle Emlyn, a space has now been unveiled on Cardigan High Street.

Loren Nash is the owner of Under the Laurel nature-inspired jewellery accessories and homeware, now based at the bustling store having launched during the pandemic.

She began making items in lockdown to improve her mental health; however, increasing demand led to customers across the area and online, so she decided to take the leap and join the Local Business Support community earlier this year.

“I started making items just for myself, but after requests from friends and family ended up creating an Etsy store, which is when it really started to take off,” she said. 

“As my customer base grew, I felt I needed a proper space to make and to sell, which is when Antur Cymru stepped in to help. They have been so incredibly helpful, imparting their knowledge and advice, which has been invaluable.

“They have also assisted me with social media, helped myself and other traders understand what grants are available and how to apply for them, and even demonstrated how to how to put together table and window displays.”

Loren added:

“The response since opening has been wonderful and local people have been incredibly supportive, telling us how nice it is to see small businesses getting a chance to get their products out there.

“Eventually I would love my own shop here on the high street with my partner and also run free art workshops where all supplies are provided by us and the space is welcoming and accessible – that’s the dream, but for now I am excited to be here and looking forward to the future.”

Among the other start-ups are Funky Fairy jewellery and keyrings, artist Titus Sharp, and Andrea Edwards, whose model venture Amaze Me 3D is reaping the benefits of having a physical presence in the town centre.

“This started as a hobby, gifting to my friends and family, and progressed just a few months ago,” said Andrea.

“I make 3D models out of a material called PLA (Polyactic Acid) which is environmentally friendly as it’s made from natural materials like corn starch and sugar cane. Dinosaurs and dragons have been particularly popular with the shoppers, and being here in this shop has shown me the true potential of my business.”

Talented artist Titus Sharp, whose Tonnau Glas (Blue Waves) venture is already picking up commissions and demand for bespoke glass creations cast from beach and sand ripples, was in agreement.

A former health and social care worker, he is proud to be part of the group and said:

“I am here at the shop as much as possible, drawing, learning more about business and selling my work, which has been very positive.

“I’ve had several sales and commissions, and being part of the community has given Tonnauglas more exposure, which is great – everyone has been very supportive.”

Andrea Stinton and her Funky Fairy start-up combine the making of jewellery and keyrings from various metals sea glass and crystal beads with dreamcatchers and suncatchers woven from feathers, natural crystals, and crystal glass.

She echoed his words and has enjoyed a similar experience.

“What was a hobby and something I enjoyed doing with my daughter turned into demand for items from friends and family, then their friends and then it was craft fairs and more!” said Andrea.

“Antur Cymru identified this might be a good move for me and they were right. My dream is to have my own store one day and now I’m on the way to that thanks to them.”

Funded by UK Government and driven by Levelling-Up via Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire councils, the project also includes guidance for new and start-up businesses across the region via a team of skilled and experienced mentors and advisors.

The other outlets in Newcastle Emlyn and Aberystwyth have enjoyed regular footfall and community support, and Project Manager Julie Morgan said that has already been the case in Cardigan.

“The shop has been busy since day one, the town has really got behind us and given these small businesses real encouragement,” she said.

“The lessons we have learned at our other two retail spaces have given us a firm foundation to build on here, and with plans for further pop-up stores this year we are confident of giving start-ups and entrepreneurs in west Wales even more opportunities in the future.”

For more on Antur Cymru, visit the website www.anturcymru.org.uk and follow them on social media at @AnturCymruWales. Alternatively, call 01239 710238 or email [email protected].

Business News Wales