Flax and Finch, British-made goods shop, to stage official opening in North Walsham

Out-of-the-ordinary, hand-crafted goods, many designed by north Norfolk people, are among an Aladdin's cave of items on offer at a new shop which is staging its official opening this Thursday, November 8.

Flax and Finch has laid out its colourful and creative homewares and accessories in the barn beside North Walsham's Cockerel Restaurant, on North Street.

Owner Debi Hanley, from Swanton Abbott, had been running Flax and Finch as an internet business since 2010 but decided the time was right to invite potential customers to have a look in person at what was on offer.

Ms Hanley, who runs a personal and professional development business, said she came up with the idea for Flax and Finch because she kept coming across people who were very creative but did not know how to make their products commercial and marketable.

Flax and Finch only stocks British-made goods, from all over the UK, and a proportion of its designers are local people.

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They include Debbie Springett and Julie Kett-Brodie, from Swanton Abbott, who produce flattened beer and spirit bottles recycled into items including clocks and cheeseboards.

Brian Slaytor, from Wroxham, creates birds out of driftwood, Bridget Myhill, from North Walsham, is a silversmith and makes jewellery, and the shop's youngest designer, 13-year-old Lily Moore, a pupil at Aylsham High School, fashions a variety of textile bags using a sewing machine she bought second-hand on the internet using her saved pocket money.

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Elaborate paper baubles, made by Will Farrell, from Hethersett, and the chatty chicken pottery range made in south Norfolk by Heather Richards are also on sale alongside fabrics, wooden and other items from all over England, Scotland and Wales.

'People in Norfolk are as good, if not better, at producing items as they are in London but lack the confidence and knowledge to know what to do with them which is where I can help,' said Ms Hanley who added that she realised the national economic situation was not ideal for opening a high-end goods shop.

'We took on a business just as a recession hit and I would be lying if I said it had been easy,' she said.

'People are being more careful but still want to spend money on items which are more unusual and of a very high quality.

'It's difficult competing in a price market where there are so many imports from China and India but we push the fact that our stock is all British made and feedback has been very positive,' she added.

The shop would be working in partnership with The Cockerel, promoting each other's services and sharing events.

Thursday's celebration, from 6.30pm-9pm, will include canap�s and a chance to meet some of the Flax and Finch designers.

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