It’s always a shock to the system going back to work after the Easter break, after a couple of four-day weeks, I think, one must ease themselves back in gently. What better way than to arrange a coffee first thing on a Monday?
I met Jason Brett in a coffee shop in Guildford, as I sat there waiting for him, as some of you might know when you are sat waiting for someone you have never met, it can be slightly awkward on your first encounter. As Jason sailed in through the door, he broke the silence immediately as he quipped “it’s worse than a first date!” yes, this was going to be a great first encounter.
Jason began to tell me the story of how Handpicked for Dorking had been born. It all started two years ago as Jason already had a company with his partner Rob called Dapper & Suave when they began a blog about mixing high street fashion and vintage for men.
Out on a country walk they decided that they would make some fabric lapels and take them to a local craft market. Jason & Rob exhibited at various markets, full of hope and excitement about their new business venture, however over time, began to feel that the events he was frequenting were not attracting the right customers for their brand.
The seed for Hand Picked for Dorking was planted and Jason had the bright idea of starting up his own events. He went out and did his research, handpicked some exhibitors and took a leap of faith and went his own way.
Jason’s biggest aim was to give back to the stall holders, going above and beyond to network both with and for them and try and give them as much of a helping hand as possible. Small touches such as badge holders for the stall holders gives it a much more personal approach. In the two years Handpicked for Dorking has gone from strength to strength, their events have become far more interactive as well as incorporating a vast range of ‘creative gurus’, a name Jason thinks represents the Handpicked family well.
Before long Jason’s hard work was recognised by Surrey Hill Enterprises and Wendy fell in love with the idea, all handmade and all local produce, exactly what we all like to see! Soon Handpicked for Dorking became a member of The Surrey Hills Enterprises and that was where they met Clandon Wood and now have another string to their bow “Handpicked for Clandon”
Jason’s small idea is now growing into a family that now network and help each other in promoting their own business ventures. Each event also supports a local charity and has so far included dementia, food banks, homelessness, and bereavement support. Stallholders and visitors alike have always given overwhelming response and support.
Handpicked for Dorking is now on the Top 10 best Christmas Markets, and it really does go to show that Albert Einstein was right, “Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with the big dreams is more powerful than the one with all the facts.” I can’t wait to follow the journey of this amazing local company, and if this is where they have progressed in two years, hold onto your hats for the next two!