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What inspired you to set up?
We’ve always wanted our own campervan and love the idea of being able to drive off with everything you need tucked away with you. Living in Altrincham we are so close to such amazing countryside, we're always spoilt for choice where to visit next. We have many friends who love the idea but wouldn’t want to commit to actually buying their own campervan, which is where hiring one for a weekend or longer makes perfect sense! It takes camping to a whole new level, being able to park up, put the kettle on, and use fresh milk from the fridge. There’s a memory foam mattress and even plug sockets to charge your phone or tablet.
When did you set up the business?
We have only recently set up our business and have had ‘Pearl’ for just few months.
How are you finding your clients?
Most clients have been local & found us directly on internet searches. We are trying to spread the word on social media too.
Do you have plans to expand?
We would love to purchase a second van next year and convert it ourselves. We’ve done so much research that we feel confident in our abilities, and we now have several contacts who we can call upon for trickier jobs like LED lighting & fitting gas. The hardest part is having the confidence to start drilling away in to the metal of the camper!!
Do you drink sherry?
No but we do like a nice glass of red wine. And the fridge is usually stocked up with a couple of fruit ciders for when we have parked up at the end of the day
What was the last takeaway you had?
We are always trying new local takeaways but the last one we had was fish and chips. Our local chippy doesn’t have very long opening hours but it’s so good when we do catch him open!
Do you holiday in your camper?
Yes, we test it out as often as possible, purely for the customers benefit of course.….!! We have quite a few bookings for the summer already so we will definitely be needing that second camper next year.
For more info visit
Why did you go in to soft furnishings?
I was working as a civil servant until 18 months ago, with 17 years’ experience in corporate communications but getting increasingly frustrated. With four kids and three dogs in the house, it was also more and more difficult to find a sensible work life balance. I’d originally taken up upholstery as a form of therapy about three years ago, but I quickly realised just how much pleasure I get from making something beautiful for someone to have in their home. I jacked in the full time job 18 months ago and now work part-time on Nellie K and part-time as a communications manager and consultant.
We see you sell at Altrincham market how are you finding that?
I love Altrincham Market, although I can’t be there every week unfortunately - I need time to be in the workshop! The market and Market House have become really exciting hubs of community social activity and creativity, and I love being a part of that. I’m a sole trader living and working in Altrincham and I’m really proud of how the town is developing - the market has been a really important catalyst in that. I”m back there on 20/21 May, when the sponsored dog walk is on and that should be a lovely weekend!
Are your on-line sales going OK?
Online is much quieter than social media. I think people prefer to buy from people - and rightly so. If you’re going to pay for something beautiful to be made to order you should also be able to speak to the person making it, so they understand you, understand what you want and so they can offer good advice on the options you have.
Do you have any plans for the future?
Just to keep making lovely furniture - I love it when people come to me with ideas or wanting something a bit different. I’ve recently worked with a friend to design an exclusive ‘Manc’ fabric, which has been really well received so I’d like to more with that - possibly some wallpaper.
When did you last eat out?
Last Friday night at Danilo’s in Hale.
Red or white wine?
Red unless I’m on holiday in the sun, when a nice chilled chablis is lovely.
How can our visitors find out more about you?
www.nelliek.uk, ‘Nelliekfootstools' on FB or 'NellieKcreates' on Instagram
The Altrincham Duck team catch up with a very exciting project A4 Studios and we ask some questions. We hope you can help and support this.
This sounds like a very exciting project, where did you get the idea?
We are a group of local artist, some of us have studios in the local area with other providers. We got together because we all need something different. I needed a ground floor studio and I have disabled artist friends who also need studios. We looked at pooling our collective resources to get a building that fulfilled our needs but rents were too high.
So we looked at getting a much larger building and creating a community of artists. A4 Studios was born because we found a real need for a facility that would cater for disabled and low income creatives, we decided to set up a not for profit social enterprise to make this work.
Where in the area are the workshops going to be based?
We are based in the old RNC building on Grosvenor road, half way between Navigation road and Altrincham Central stations. 2 minutes walk from both stations giving us excellent transport links to Manchester, Chester and Liverpool.
Who are you trying to attract ?
We are trying to attract creatives from all walks of life, whether they be crafters, makers, photographers or artists. Our studios are affordable and cater for all. We will also attract art lovers and collectors and the wider community as a whole, bringing contemporary and installation art to Altrincham.
What sort of facilities can we expect?
We will have 21 wheelchair accessible studios and 6 studios on a mezzanine level, with another 10 studios being added at a later date by extending the mezzanine. Our studios are constructed to be clean smart spaces to create, and all studios will benefit from daylight quality LED lighting as well as natural light, all studios have extractors, are insulated and have heating, Wi-Fi, 4 RCD Breaker plug sockets and service we provide are comunal meeting area, art handling service and regular rubbish removal service. Studios planned range from 93 sqft to 298 sqft however because of the construction we can move walls to accommodate the tenant. We can also provide sound proof studios. All studios will have 24 hr access.
We also have AIR Gallery, a contemporary gallery that will showcase the best in new and emerging artist locally, nationally and internationally, as well as the gallery we have a large space that can be used for large installation art projects or performance events such as spoken word or acoustic musical performances.
We will be holding a bi-annual open exhibition which will be awarding cash and other prizes. A yearly calendar of other exhibitions and events is being planned and we are hoping to collaborate with other local artistic and community initiatives as and when events are planned.
We also provide a workshop space that's suitable for everyone in the community and we will also have art therapy workshops aimed at socially isolated individuals and those with disabilities to improve on health and well-being. We will also host platforms for emerging local talents to perform their craft to increase confidence and personal development. As well as the workshop space we are providing a machine room equipped with a range of engineering tools that is free for residents but can be rented by the hour for a nominal rent by the public.
We see that your target is £21,000 and we know that this is very early days, are you feeling confident?
We actually have 3 crowd funding initiatives in place trying to raise a total just over £50,000 and early interest has been very promising.
We have a friends of A4 Studios initiative; to allow willing patrons to support us on a regular basis. Friends of A4 Studios will get invitations to all our events and workshops throughout the year.
We also have some investors who are interested in investing in the project and we are happy to take applications from anybody who is interested in becoming an investor in A4 Studios. we are happy to send them an information pack.
our crowdfunding campaigns are:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/490370821/a4-studios-project we are trying to raise £5,000 towards phase 1 building costs.
https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/affordable-disability-accessible-creative-spaces/x/16216109 we are trying to raise £24,500 towards phase 2 and 3 of the project
https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/A4-Studios We are trying to raise £21,000 for phase 4 and the first years running costs
On Twitter https://twitter.com/A4ArtistStudios