Wednesday, 31 October 2012

60 SECOND INTERVIEW: Lindsay Anderson

JEWELLERY-maker Lindsay Anderson moved from Hertfordshire to Dorset in 2003, spending the last seven years in Dorchester. Her experience in the craft world led to her founding Shop Dorset – a shopping website dedicated to promoting local businesses.  The 43-year-old lives with her partner, Neil, six-year-old daughter Daisy and Lottie, the rescue lurcher.

WHAT is Shop Dorset?
Shop Dorset is a new, networked shopping website featuring a great mix of independent local retailers, food producers, artists and craftspeople. It shows off what a fantastic variety of small enterprises exist in our beautiful county, drawing on a fashionable desire for shopping locally. We now have nearly 100 local enterprises on board and are still growing weekly with space for many more to join.

WHAT inspired you to set it up?
I have run the Dorset Art and Craft Show for over six years now, as a series of quality events in different venues around the county. I found many of our exhibitors were unsure how best to harness the marketing opportunities the web now offers in terms of developing their businesses and retailing to a wider audience. Having always worked in marketing, I felt I could bring my experience to build something which could really help a wide mix of Dorset businesses pull together to jointly promote their fantastic wares. 

DOES it help customers or businesses?
Both! We are obviously trying to connect shoppers with businesses who offer what they are looking for, and businesses with potential customers for their products. If your Christmas list seems like a daunting challenge this year, just click onto and you will find a whole host of original ideas for all, including those hard-to-please family members and friends, all available from the comfort of your own home.

HAVE you ever turned away a business?
No, not yet luckily. I think the ethos of the site is quite clear, so retailers understand that we are only aiming to attract those businesses who offer quality, appealing products with great customer service. 

HOW did you start making jewellery? 
I have been making bead jewellery since I was a child and I have lost none of the simple pleasure that creating your own designs brings since those early attempts. I now specialise in sterling silver designs with gemstones, freshwater pearls and beautiful beads and sell my work through Walford Craft Mill and Shop Dorset.

WHAT are the influences on your designs?
The endless combinations of colours, shapes and textures inspires new pieces - necklaces, bracelets and earrings from easy-to-wear items to special occasion designs created for that wow factor.

HOW do you manage to juggle work and family life? 
A very supportive partner who is man enough to use an iron or oven without it threatening his masculinity. I know I’m lucky to often pick my daughter up from school although it regularly means working late into the evening to repay the privilege but I would be bored if I wasn’t so busy and relish new challenges as a way to keep life interesting.

IS the internet killing the high street?
I think people will always enjoy visiting the high street and the more sociable experience it offers. But with busy lives, the internet can offer an alternative shopping experience when we haven’t the time to pound the pavement for what we are looking for. With Shop Dorset you don’t lose the personal touch as you are dealing direct with each of our retailers, many of whom are one-man or woman bands.

WHAT does your daughter make of your jewellery?
She says she wears it and she really likes how pretty it all is. She is very sweet and kind to her mummy! It’s lovely to see how all small children are so easily absorbed by crafts, the creative instinct is something we should nurture throughout life.

WHO would you most like to see wearing your jewellery? 
Kate Middleton for the obvious exposure and Aung San Suu Kyi for the credibility.

WHAT is your favourite shop in the world? 
My local deli, The Potting Shed (Olives Et Al) in Poundbury whose chilled and friendly café is a favourite after-school haunt with my daughter. Now they have launched in America, which is a fantastic inspiration for all Dorset enterprises. I also love Kaniki, the Uttam shop in Bath, whose great online presence also reflects the quirky fashion sense of the store.

WHO would play you in the biopic movie of your life? 
I would hope for Cameron Diaz but fear that friends would cast Barbara Windsor instead – something to do with my distinctive laugh!

Click onto for great Christmas gifts and enter the site’s Christmas Free Prize Draw which offers a Lush gift box worth £100 amongst its great prizes (see site for T&Cs).

The Dorset Art & Craft Show is at the Corn Exchange in Dorchester on Saturday, December 8th, 10am to 4pm, with over 50 local artists and craftspeople exhibiting.