Hello! I'm Ash, and I am the founder, designer, maker and everything in between at Wren & Rye.
For those of you that haven't heard of Wren & Rye, we (the royal "we" 🏼) are a pet accessory business producing on-trend fashion accessories for your four-legged friends, big, small, dainty or rough and tumble. You will currently find a selection of our summer bow ties and award-winning BowDangles at the Made Local Pop-Up in John Lewis Trafford and on the 'Post from the Pop-Up' shop website.
All our products are designed and made in the UK as I strongly believe in British made products.
Growing up in the mill towns of East Lancashire, I have always been around craftspeople and British produce, so it is very close to my heart. The Curated Makers ethos is very much like my own: think BIG, shop small - champion and support local!
My Curated Makers journey started just over three years ago... How time flies! Back in June 2018, an email from Megan landed in my inbox inviting me to take part in an exciting upcoming event in July - an Artisan Dog Pop-up at Heaton Park. And I was so excited to be involved!
I had just been working on the Wren & Rye website behind the scenes and our store was due to go live on the weekend of the market itself. The timing couldn't have been better. I had spent the past 6+ months working on my online presence, sampling and testing products and building my brand - things have changed so much since then.
The Pop-Up was a dog and dog lover's dream, including everything from bow ties, doggy treats and pet portraits to scented candles. There was even a "Dog Bar" - a refreshment station for all the dapper pooches. Megan had covered ALL the bases; her attention to detail is something else! She had even had a word with Mother Nature to arrange for the sun to make an appearance .
That market led to our products being sold in Debenhams, YES Debenhams, which was a dream come true and one which means even more now with hindsight.
My first shift on the shop floor came later that July and that was only the start, with our products going on to be stocked by Curated Makers in Paperchase, Bents, numerous independents and more. And if you had told me when I received my first contact from Megan that I would be typing this now from behind the Curated Makers till in John Lewis at the Trafford Centre (THE place to go growing up), I don't think I would have quite believed you.
AND THE REST IS HISTORY.
Wren & Rye has now been a part of over 10 Curated Makers in-person Made Local Pop-Up events in different capacities, either as a maker, on the shop floor or helping out behind the scenes. And it has been a complete joy.
Curated Makers is not only a fantastic way for creatives to get a space on the high-street but also an amazingly supportive and inspiring collective to be a part of. It is very much community over competition. I don't think I have gone an entire shift without learning something new, being inspired, getting feedback or shopping small from a fellow maker.
I have begun selling wholesale as a direct result of being involved with Curated Makers. My products, website, social media presence and confidence are leaps and bounds beyond where they would have been without it.
Looking back over the past three years, it's amazing how much both businesses (Curated Makers and Wren & Rye) have grown. I can't wait to see what is in store next for us both (no pun intended 🤭) and I am so proud to have been a part of the Curated Makers adventure so far.