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window frames were bright red and peeling, the floor was filthy and we didn’t all know each other or what to expect… looking back I’m amazed at our optimism.”


involved in MiN each have their own roles to play. For both the Bath, and Newcastle projects, everyone contributes a certain amount of time to the running of the shop, from staffing to cleaning. Su advises, “Be upfront and transparent about costs. We had a flat fee to cover bills.” An alternative model, adopted by MiN is for designer-makers to contribute a small percentage of sales.


20 | ukhandmade | Spring 2011


Working with other designer- makers has its benefits, but there may be challenges involved too: “It’s important that the art is all of equal standard and to have a shared view or aim for the project.” says Su. Of course, some elements of unpredictability are inevitable. “On the first day when we picked up the keys it was a real mess.” Su recalls. “The walls were cracked, the


For MiN, the road was even bumpier; having occupied a shop in July 2010, they were given notice to leave the premises less than halfway through the lease period when another retailer offered full rates. Three months later, on the verge of giving up, Lucy was told that another space was available – a fabulous five storey listed building in a prime location but there was a catch. “We had planned to use one floor as a gallery, one for the shop and another as our workshop space, but we discovered there was no fire escape and due to building regulations we’d be unable to use the upper floors.” Finally, after rebuilding the floor, blagging carpet assortments and painting the walls the second shop opened a week before Christmas.


Although each site is temporary,


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