We are Bedford, and the utter fabulousness of the Castle Quay Weekender.

Somewhere, amongst some safety pins,  bits of raffia and a couple of cough sweets at the bottom of our money tin, is a receipt stamped with the We are Bedford logo. It is for the very first thing we sold, at our very first event.  Sometimes we get it out and reminisce, because it was such a lovely experience. Incidentally, we call our moneybox ‘Tim’. Because he’s a Tin.  Hilarious, right?!  We refer to him as our accountant, which is less funny because we probably need an actual accountant. No offence Tim.

The idea of the Castle Quay Weekender was to turn some empty shops in a newly developed area of town into a festival to showcase local creative and cultural talent. It was dreamt up and organized by the awesome team of Kayte Judge and Erica Roffe (We are Bedford.) The whole thing was just really lovely. The sun shined, there was live music, the empty restaurant unit was filled with gorgeous craft stalls, there was a pop-up-Post Office run by the impossibly cool  School of Craft, and John Hegley performed. A member of Queen turned up. But best of all, loads of local people came, shopped, watched, listened, sat on the grass outside and enjoyed being in Bedford. There was a bit of magic in the air. And mangoJam sold stuff!

Ah, the name. mangoJam. It took us ages, and mangoJam was about our 4th choice, but we wanted something that we could buy the domain name for, and that was the first one that was free. We wanted something that summed up our mix of English, and places more exotic than England.  (Sarah is from South Africa and grew up there.) I always think of jam as a very English thing, though obviously it is widely available in other countries. I’m not colonizing jam, or anything. Plus, I like the colour orange. Slightly unhealthily so, hence the earlier orange hair fiasco. So we were, up until 24 hours ago, mangoJam. Having been objected to by clothing brand mango, the hunt for a new name is on. All relatively sensible suggestions welcome…

Having been in business for all of about 2 seconds, we had to hastily pull together a stall which was a vague representation of what we wanted to stock. We took along a selection of second-hand outfits, which we had put together ourselves, from clothing found in charity shops and car boot sales. We tied them with raffia, gave each outfit a name, and stamped it by hand onto recycled paper. mangoJam style was born. The rest of our stock was beautifully handmade by friends of ours who are crafty. We sold handsewn pencil case rolls, craft kits, (LoCo designs) brooches made from recycled fabric, (Crafty Badger) homemade bunting, (Lavender’s Blue) and some beautiful cards (Sarah’s friend Sarah.)Truly we have talented friends!

All in all it was a fabulous weekend, and we learnt a LOT.

  • People love to buy second-hand stuff if it is presented nicely and smells nice. (Our mega-loads of washing the previous week paid off!)
  • A lot of people will buy organic cotton for children, given the (relatively inexpensive) choice,
  • That you haven’t really lived until you’ve tasted a chocolate brownie from Fancy. (Homebaked deserts.) But that you shouldn’t try to move anytime soon afterwards.

2 thoughts on “We are Bedford, and the utter fabulousness of the Castle Quay Weekender.

  1. I love you guys! So sad that you will be parting with Sarah’s impending move to IoW. I hope that there is a way you can continue this fantastic business idea. Alice is a brilliant writer and I already know that Sarah is – maybe you could write stories about real life – a Mum’s eye view of life. Take care. Sandy (Sarah’s Blister) x

    • Thanks Sandy! I will miss Sarah like crazy but hopefully we can keep the business working anyway. We’re trying to see it as a wonderful opportunity (both for the business and for holiday options!) Hope you had a lovely birthday by the way xx

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