Anna Hodgson looks elegant, happy and radiant in a pretty apple green handmade summer dress as she welcomes new and returning customers into her smart new retail premises in Sidlesham near Chichester, West Sussex.
The drivers and their friends, who have all been invited to attend the event, easily park their cars in the large stony parking areas.
Saturday is a warm sunny day with a fresh coastal breeze, it is the perfect weather for a gala day to celebrate 15 years trading for Anna and her team at the Eternal Maker business. Picnic tables seat those who have bought their textile treats and now have plenty of time to relax and chat about their latest sewing, craft and knitting projects. The visitors soak up the sunshine with their favourite drink and a delicious piece of cake from the Eternal Maker’s fresh café.
The new shop is located in the country village of Sidlesham in the area south of Chichester which encompasses the Witterings beaches and Pagham harbour nature reserve, as well as the Selsey peninsular that defines the shape of the Solent. This area is known for many famous creatives who have lived and work in this district of outstanding natural beauty.
An upmarket gravel drive leads from Keynor Lane to reveal a generously spaced group of large grey tiled topped stylish buildings. The attractive new barns with large sliding doors, timber cladding and Velux windows hint at rural Scandinavian design. The soft landscaping includes mature palm trees which add to the European feel and the harmonious environment.
Anna has an enthusiastic following amongst the creative folk in Sussex, Hampshire and beyond. The company director and skilled textile designer entertains her fans online with excellent Instagram updates and details of the variety of classes, latest cloth patterns and equipment and also special social occasions that happen on a regular basis at the Eternal Maker.
Ladies, couples, families and occasionally their dogs delight in looking through the collection of top quality materials that are arranged carefully on displays throughout the spacious contemporary barn. In every hue in the rainbow, the latest bolts of cottons, linens and mixed blends line the shelves neatly. The effect excites the senses like countless ‘treats in a sweet shop’ and is as tempting for any budding home sewer or craftsperson.
On Saturday the talented and accomplished female entrepreneur enjoyed chatting with several visitors who merrily browsed through the wonderfully colourful sections of fabrics, wools, patterns, accessories and haberdashery. A 15 per cent off discount valid for the promotional day was eagerly redeemed by the keen customers of all ages.
This celebratory day reflects the achievement of running a small business successfully over the last 15 years – no small feat considering the economic ups and downs and unexpected restrictions and new laws following Brexit, which have all been part of the many changes that all retailers have had to take in their stride across the UK.
The Eternal Maker has moved to the contemporary new premises approximately a 15 minute drive south of central Chichester, the previous location for several years. The benefits of the new shop include improved thermal properties and additional natural light as well as a dedicated classroom space which is specifically designed for classes.
The additional parking facilities especially at the weekends are also a big win for shoppers looking for convenience. It is possible to leave the motorway and head straight for the village of Sidlesham without encountering any city of Chichester traffic.
Although the new barn style outlet is not a larger shopfloor in terms of retail square footage, this new location offers Anna and her team the opportunity to make the most of the multi-channel retailing. The winning combination of physical store and online trading is now such an important part of most fashion and design related businesses.
Many different experiences for Eternal Maker ‘club members’ are offered throughout the year. the combination of classes and also more social meet ups, shows an appreciation for how a small business can keep commercial whilst delivering a unique and local service full of character and fun.
A ‘make do and mend’ theme to our wardrobes and home interiors wasn’t on the top of our wish list for Autumn Winter 2022. Seeking thrifty activities to occupy the weekends and evenings during the cooler seasons wasn’t the first thing that sprung to mind as we emerged from our coronavirus cautiousness this spring. However due to unexpected international pressures, it looks like we are moving into another period of relative austerity in all of the British Iles and indeed around most of the globe, once more.
Suppliers of sewing materials, equipment and ranges such as fleece and warm wools are bound to be in demand over the coming months as the public looks for more ways to use any free time to make rather than buy items for their homes and loved ones. This Christmas will be full of crafty clothing and gifts with those with the skills to create something original. Television programs such as ‘the Great British Sewing Bee’ on BBC2 capture this countries continued fondness for home making.
Thanks to Anna and her teams hard work and dedication the Eternal Maker is all set to continue to be a glowing beacon of joy and possibilities. Ideally placed to cut a more interesting path through any recession that reaches our shores, Anna is enabling people to live better and more enriched lives, through the social and stimulating process of making and mending, a more vibrant and creative life. The thriving community of the village of Sidlesham will certainly be brightened by being joined by such a brilliant gem of a business and the team at the Eternal Maker.
(1) The Eternal Maker website, 8 August 2022 The Eternal Maker website
(2) The Eternal Maker on Facebook, 8 August 2022 The Eternal Maker on Facebook
(3) The Eternal Maker on Instagram, 8 August 2022 The Eternal Maker on Instagram