Esther has hailed a businesswoman who runs a monthly artisan market in Wilmslow as a shining example of determination in the face of adversity.
Denise Valente along with her husband own the company which runs artisan markets across the region, working with more than 500 traders, but faced losing everything after taking the “remarkably difficulty” decision to cancel the markets in March as a result of the pandemic.
Talking to Esther as part of a series of podcasts, Mrs Valente explained with no Government support available to them due to how the business was structured, they had to find other ways to make it work and took their business online creating Artisans Online.
Ms McVey said: “These are extremely challenging times and faced with the possibility of losing their business Denise and her husband were determined to succeed and come through the other side. Not only that but they wanted to support the hundreds of other traders they worked with, so they created an online market and made sure that those who depended on them to sell their goods were supported too. She is an example of how even in the darkest of times people want to still support each other and help others succeed.”
Mrs Valente said: “We looked at an alternative and thought, how can we still provide that platform for our artisan traders and comply with the Covid-19 restrictions and avoid any outdoor events?
“So, we looked at setting up an online marketplace for. We have created a multi-vendor e-commerce website for each of our artisan traders to set up their own virtual market stalls and sell their goods online.
“It is called Artisans Online and is a fantastic site – we’ve only been up and running just over a week, but already have nearly 200 artisans on there with their own market stalls and nearly 2,000 products ready loaded.
“It’s really easy to use, and we’re hoping for the sake of our artisan traders that people maybe purchase something, because, although the restrictions for Covid-19 will at some point be lifted, the new normality might be quite different to what it was before all this happened, and Artisans online will provide a complementary avenue for all our artisans to trade alongside the markets when they start up again, when it’s safe to do so.”
Ms McVey said Mrs Valente’s determination was a shining example of how resilient people can be when “disheartened but not deterred.”
Ms McVey said: “Denise’s drive to set up an artisan market in her hometown is precisely to bring big groups of people together it was to keep the high street alive and make sure her daughter grew up in a vibrant bustling town. What the internet did not do to the high street Covid 19 did. It has closed it down, removed people from the pathways and crowds from the pavements, Denise though working with friends found a solution Covid pulled their businesses apart but as people pushed them closer together, setting up a new 24/7 artisan market place which will run in tandem with the monthly market. She is hoping, we are all hoping, as hope is a gift from one person to another, that this new market will be bigger, will be better, will be more vibrant and more resilient than ever before.
The Artisan Market can be found HERE
The Podcast featuring this story (and the whole series) can be found HERE