A woman has turned a lifelong love of crafts into a thriving business.
Louise Clark started with a stall at Tynemouth Market but has now launched Elsee Crafts in Park View, Whitley Bay, thanks to support from North Tyneside Business Factory.
Her new store features a dedicated gallery space to create and sell her range of unique art, stationery and prints.
Louise said: “I never dreamed that when I made my first greetings card two years ago that I would now be opening my first shop.
“Generally the products I make are inspired by something I have desired for my own home so I’m thrilled at how creating things I love has taken me from a market stall in Tynemouth to my own shop.
“Park View was the perfect place as there is a community of independent shops. It’s wonderful to see what was once one of the busiest high streets on the coast regaining the character which independent businesses bring.”
Elsee Crafts sells prints, photographs, gifts and stationery while the product range has now extended into photographic prints by a local photographer as well as a selection of items designed by her daughter, an art student.
Louise said: “We actually started out just making dog-themed cards and crafts as initially I was designing pieces friends would be interested in.
“Of course as the demand for the canine cards started to grow, I began to look at what other products I could create that would complement the range and Elsee Crafts really took off from there.”
Louise began exhibiting her range of canine cards and typographic prints at the popular weekly market at Tynemouth station where her unique products and coastal-inspired designs became a hit with regulars and locals keen to purchase a piece of the area for display in their own home.
Louise said: “Tynemouth market has become a popular location for shoppers and those further afield interested in unique and different pieces often made or sourced by local people with a particular passion for what they do.
“It has been a pleasure to witness the popularity of the market develop and of course benefit from the thousands of people who come through the doors every Saturday and Sunday looking for food, gifts or homewares.
“Opening a shop is the first stage in what I hope to be a double celebration as I have also been working with North Tyneside Council to push for the pod-style units planned for the seafront to help give smaller, bespoke businesses such as ours the opportunity to reach some of the thousands of visitors who come to the area every year.
“With such exciting development plans already underway to revive the seafront, the pods will hopefully be the location of the second Elsee Crafts outlet in the area if everything goes ahead.
“We are now entering an exciting time in the evolution of Elsee Crafts from market stall to online and retail outlet and we are looking ahead to the future with a great deal of optimism for the opportunities opening up to our business.”