Trading Places showcases their unique Christmas crafts at Spitalfields Market
With so much shopping going on at this time of the year it is always nice to discover we can combine our spending with something charitable. On 21st and 22nd December there will be a Christmas Pop-up sale at Spitalfields Market called Trading Places. This event is being held by Ladies Who L-EARN – a women’s creative education and development charity. We got a chance to catch up with the charity’s director, Asma Shah, to get some information on what delights we can expect this coming weekend, and also gain an insight into the Ladies Who L- EARN programme.
How many women are involved in this project?
There are 21 women in total on the Ladies Who L-EARN programme, with five women selling their own handmade products on the market.
What kind of products will be on sale?
Who makes the products?
In addition the three women make their own products using their drawing and handcraft talents.
There are many interesting stalls with interesting products on sale in Spitalfields Market, why do you think Trading Places might catch people’s attention?
We have a great location. (Our stall location is stall number 32 which is opposite the Gourmet Burger Kitchen, facing the market). Our stall will be noticeable with our You Make It and Ladies Who L-EARN banners and branding. In addition to this you have a lovely group of ladies on the stall selling their unique products.
What inspired you to set up this organisation?
A number of things: firstly my own background of relative socio-economic disadvantage (grew up in 70s and 80s with late mum and three elder sisters on a Peckham Housing estate) and knowing first-hand the challenges that women from similar ones to me face in realising their voice, value and earning potential in one of the most creatively exciting but competitive and toughest cities in the world and what it takes to overcome them – i.e. I’ve worked in management roles within several of London’s cultural and creative employers; secondly the climate of austerity, in which we’ve seen slashes to services to young people who need support the most; and thirdly, knowing that I have a lot of contacts/networks as well as lessons and experiences that I could share with young women to really help make a difference to their life chances.
What are the main skills women develop from doing something like this?
Bottom line is it’s all about confidence and developing self-belief – basically by taking part, each and every woman will experience a change of perception of themselves and the world in which they live and what part they can play in it. Along with that, skills and knowledge centre around public speaking with authenticity, collage based visions of where they see themselves, interview and CV skills, marketing and PR knowledge, the basics of business planning, and real experiences related to either setting up a small business, as well as pitching for investment for it, for example, Ladies’ Den, or taking a work placement in a creative/cultural place perhaps normally really hard to get into!
What are the main differences you notice in the women when they complete the programme?
They become focused, energised and confident that they’ll make it in life and have the right to.
And finally, what do you love most about your job?
I love the change I see in the women who take part – I find them mostly in job centres, and then over the course of the programme they just seem to gel with one another, and their minds open up and there are all these light bulb moments when I can see so clearly that they suddenly “get it”, they get what they’re meant to be doing, they get who they are, and they understand the importance of developing and maintaining relationships/networks to make it in employment or as business owners themselves.
Photos: Courtesy of Ladies Who L-EARN
For more information on Ladies Who L-EARN please visit their site here.