A Vintage Year for Laura
As a teenager Laura Johnson loved nothing more than rummaging around jumble sales, charity shops and second-hand stores. So when, a few years later, she looked for places to sell her own vintage goods, she was surprised the options had dwindled.
But this gap led to something great – the launch of Crafty Vintage. It was seven years ago Laura founded the company with husband, Dave and son, Dan. Her first event at Brockholes attracted people in their droves.
Today, Crafty Vintage events, which take place across Lancashire and the Lake District, have become the place for vintage devotees, retro lovers and those who love handmade, one-off items. Laura, through her events, throws the spotlight on talented creatives from jewellery makers and vintage fashion brands to purveyors of tasty food and drink. It also reveals some of the county’s hidden gems to visitors.
“When I ran boutiques, it got to the point where the big stores were pushing the little companies out,” remembered Laura. “But people want more now. They want that something that little bit different. It’s come full circle which is fantastic.
“It’s important to me that we celebrate those smaller businesses that create beautiful products as well as encouraging people to visit places they wouldn’t have gone to. We’ve had a lot of people who haven’t realised places like Brockholes and Hoghton Tower exist and are so special. But once they’ve been, they go back and visit.”
Laura, along with her family, work closely with exhibitors to make sure they have the best experience as well as creating superb events for the people who attend Crafty Vintage events. They advise on stall display and ways they can optimise as well as providing a friendly face to those new to the event.
“It’s something that’s important to me and something that people like,” said Laura, originally from Clayton-le-Moors but now living in Lower Darwen. “There have been exhibitors who have been struggling for sales, we’ve given them some pointers on how to market their products a little better and they’ve noticed a big difference.
“It goes the other way too, I want to hear if there are things that haven’t worked or if there is something we could have done better. It’s what helps us improve.”
Last year Laura was named Tourism Superstar at the Lancashire Tourism Awards, organised by Marketing Lancashire. It is an accolade she treasures.
“It was such an honour, I couldn’t believe it when they read my name out,” said Laura. “Dan had to tell me to get moving to get my award because I was just in shock.
“To be awarded something like that is just fantastic. It’s something I’m very proud of.”
Determined to drive the business forward, 2018 will be a big year for Crafty Vintage with more events and new venues including Shores Hey Farm – an arrangement that was borne out of her Lancashire Tourism Award win.
“It is a fantastic venue and it was something that happened because we’d heard about each other at the awards,” said Laura. “It’s really exciting and we’re really looking forward to having our first Crafty Vintage event there in April.
“We just want to keep working hard to make Crafty Vintage the best it can be and having fun while we’re doing it.”