New businesses set to launch at Christmas Fayre

New businesses set up by a quartet of artists and crafters are set to make their debut at the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre next month after taking up a council initiative.

Earlier this year West Suffolk Council teamed up with community artist Louise Gridley to offer the chance for people to undertake free training and support on how to set up their own market-based business.

The first four to complete that training will be launching their new business adventures in The Traverse as part of the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre (November 21 to 24). They will then trade for a free period on West Suffolk’s markets in Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Mildenhall and Newmarket.

Louise said: “The aim of this venture has been to give business support and mentoring to people who already possess the creative skills but were perhaps unsure about how to market and sell their products.”

John Griffiths, the leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “Part of the council’s role is supporting the development and growth of new businesses, from the seeds of a table top venture into something more established. Our West Suffolk markets are a great place to start a new business and over the years we have had many market businesses grow to establish shops as well as an online presence while many continue to trade and enjoy life on the market.”

Among the new businesses is Lepetit Signs set up by Christelle Lepetit from Haverhill. Christelle trained as a sign writer in France more than 20 years ago and is now using the techniques she learnt to create beautiful hand painted signs on recycled materials.

She said: “I hope this opportunity will not only allow me to meet other Suffolk-based crafters but also turn my passion into a new venture that helps keep this art alive.”

You can see her work on Instagram at lepetitsigns

It was after taking voluntary redundancy four years ago that Michele Russell started pursuing a creative interest in stained glass. She bought a second-hand kiln in 2018 and after the first firing of some jewellery she was hooked. Now Michele from Elmswell has set up Churchhouse Stained Glass making jewellery and lead framed stained glass designs.

“There are only so many pendants I can wear at any one time. I’m very much looking forward to marketing my products,” she said. See her work on Facebook at churchhousestainedglass

John Abercrombie also from Elmswell learnt woodturning after retiring in 2017. He will be selling his hand-made decorated platters, bowls and other items.

“This initiative has come at the opportune time for me to take advantage of the great offer and will allow me to set up as a commercial market maker.  I’m really looking forward to being a part of the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre.” You can see his work on Instagram and Facebook at turnedfromthetree

Wicken Candles and Gifts, set up by Susan Curtis-Griffiths, will sell candles, diffusers and handmade cards and gifts. Susan retired from a London law firm in June.

“I thought retirement would be scary but it has given me the opportunity to channel my artist side. I’m living the dream,” she said. See her work on Facebook at wickencandlesandgifts.

All four makers will be demonstrating their skills and selling their products on Thursday, Friday and Sunday of the Christmas Fayre. They are very much looking forward to meeting and welcoming people to their stalls. The new makers will be joined in the Traverse by other crafters on Sunday, November 24.

For more on the Christmas Fayre visit

Pictured above are Christelle Lepetit, Susan Curtis-Griffiths, John Abercrombie and Michele Russell who will all be launching their new businesses at next month’s Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre.

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