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Meet SoLo Craft Fair: 1/3 of Elephant Stores

SoLo Craft Fair opened their first independent gift shop at Elephant Park in 2021. They tell us why they love being based in Elephant Stores.

Arts and culture
  • 19 January 2022

SoLo Craft Fair (South London Craft Fair) was founded by Catherine Dunne and Rebecca Hunter, who are both makers themselves. Catherine is the owner of London Lily which is a homeware, jewellery and beauty range, and Rebecca is part of the Drawn Together Art Collective

Each month SoLo Craft Fair will play host to over 60 small businesses, selling everything from art to fashion, to homeware and more. Their new space is part of the multi-use unit Elephant Stores where other small businesses Little Louie and Fix Your Cycle also operate.

We hear more from founders Catherine and Rebecca about their new store at Elephant Park…

 
Tell us about SoLo Craft Fair and how it started.

We were having a Christmas drink in the winter of 2015 and said how nice it would be to have a few more South London markets, and by April 2016, SoLo Craft Fair was born. Initially, we were only meant to do the market as a one off, but 5 years later here we are!

What's it like being part of Elephant Stores?

We love being part of Elephant Stores, it’s brilliant to be working with two great businesses, Little Louie and Fix Your Cycle. The fusion of having three different companies under one roof really makes the place truly unique. 

Why did you choose Elephant & Castle? 

As South Londoners ourselves we love to champion businesses South of the river - all our markets are in South London, so it only felt appropriate to have our shop in a similar location. Elephant & Castle seemed perfect as it is a central location, yet it has that strong sense of community. We have loved getting to know all the locals and neighbouring retailers of Elephant Park over the past two months.

Are you looking to employ local people?

Most of our staff and traders are South London based - we really welcome having local makers on board.

How would you describe Elephant & Castle?

Elephant and Castle is an eclectic mix of culture, arts and innovation. Certain streets are buzzing with energy no matter what time it is; in others you can find a little oasis of calm. 

What is your favourite thing about this part of London?

The diverse mix of things you can find here - whether it’s a Colombian food shop, an 80s arcade bar, an Italian food market – Elephant & Castle has it all! 

How would you sum up Elephant & Castle in three words?

Cultural, energetic and creative.

What do you think about the local community?

The local community has been so welcoming and supportive - it’s meant the world. Opening a shop during a pandemic is incredibly nerve-racking so it’s been great to meet so many locals and have their support. 

What do you think of Elephant Park?

Elephant Park is a brilliant hub of fantastic unique businesses - we could just lose hours wandering around the park and having coffees in all the bars and restaurants. 

How helpful were the team in helping you get set up?

Lendlease and the Elephant Park team were extremely helpful in assisting us setup and, now we’re open, the support continues.

How do your sustainability goals tie in with Elephant Park?

Small businesses tend to be more sustainable, with the lack of mass production, and most companies using recyclable packaging. Many of the businesses we work with have a sustainable ethos and plant trees for every product sold. The shop produces very little waste, and we are mindful about the impact we have on the environment.

Tell us your top 3 exciting makers at SoLo Craft Fair, and what items can you find from them?

This is a hard one as there are so many to choose from!

We love having Penny and Lil’s lampshades in store - they’re made just down the road in Catford and are all so incredibly vibrant and unique.

Secondly, we should mention Gifted Hands Africa which is ethically sourced homeware made by single mums in Uganda.

Finally, we’ll go for Ruby’s Reads who provide multicultural books which are beautifully illustrated, and all celebrate differences. 

Where can you apply to be a maker to have products on display?

Any maker can apply to be in the shop via our website.

Give us 3 reasons why we should visit you at SoLo Craft Fair?!
  1. Every month we showcase different makers and designers - so there’s always something new on offer.
  2.  
  3. We are a small business supporting other small businesses, with a sustainable vision. 
  4. The shop offers one of the most original and diverse range of gifts.
  5.  

You can find SoLo Craft Fair in Elephant Stores at 14 Ash Avenue. Check out their Instagram for news on makers, events, competitions and more!

To read more Q&As from our other retailers, check out the below links:

Kennington Osteopath
Fix Your Cycle