Our third Trading Tale begins with the reason we began this regular feature. The Canal and River Trust have invested time and money chatting to a wide variety of people who love the Inland Waterways of UK. To date they’ve written two stories about Floating Traders, both from the Roving Canal Traders Birmingham Market in September 2015.
They emailed recently to ask if we’d like to post the tales on our blog – which snowballed into ‘Trading Tales’ as a weekly occurrence for the foreseeable future.
Here’s the first ‘Humans of the Waterways‘ story (reproduced word-for-word) …
“For a long time Andy and I wanted to make the transition from land to water but before we did, we wanted to have something to do on the boat. Maybe not the obvious choice, but we started creating fused glass jewellery – I’d always made jewellery and Andy is interested in the science behind it. Our first day trading was actually at the Olympics and it went from there!
We’re making the full move onto the boat soon and it’s hard to know what to do with all our ‘stuff’. When you’re on a boat you probably won’t need your ball gown, but what do you do with it? It’s hard to decide what stays and what goes. But when I’m on the boat, I’m happy with what I have, especially when I am surrounded by beautiful jewellery all day.”
Here’s some more information about The Glass Barge …
Introducing Pam and Andy
What’s the name of your boat, and what business do you run from it?
The Glass Barge – fused glass jewellery made and sold onboard. We are also intending to run courses on glass fusing and jewellery aboard our studio boat.
Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourselves?
Having traded for a couple of years from the side of our living boat, ‘Enchanted Moon’, we decided to purchase a second boat that we have fitted out as a gallery and workshop for our fused glass jewellery. We now work and sell in the comfort of the gallery, rather than sitting out on the towpath in all weathers.
Give us a glimpse into the how and why you decided to become Floating Traders?
Having started with narrowboat holidays over the years, we eventually bought a share in a private syndicate boat and then purchased our own boat.
We wanted to live on the canal, but needed some purpose for our travels, as we were not quite ready for full blown retirement yet.
Describe the joys and drawbacks you’ve experienced to date a Floating Trader …
It is lovely to have a different view out of our ‘office’ window each week/day, and work with the sound of sheep and cows in the background.
We enjoy working together on a joint project, rather than each having different occupations that did not always leave us free at the same time.
Opening the glass kiln after a firing is still the most enjoyable and exciting part of the glass making, because you never quite know how pieces will have turned out and you sometimes get magnificent ‘accidents’
Is there any sage wisdom you could share with anyone reading who may be contemplating venturing into this watery ‘working’ world?
Don’t start trading before you have tried living on the boat first. It is very different from holidaying on a boat. When you are trading you not only have to find room for all your personal ‘stuff’, but also all your stock and display equipment.
Anything else you would like to add?
It is nice to join up with other traders at markets and festival, not only to socialise, but also to swap experiences and problems of trading.
Also, it is good to make friends with the locals at your regular trading stops, as this can be very helpful and good for business.
Connect with Pam and Andy:
Connect with Pam and Andy on Facebook – and ‘Like’ them!
Where can you find us?
We are not doing many organised events this year, mainly towpath sales, but we will be at the RCTA Birmingham Floating Market in September. Check out (and like!) their Facebook page for their current location …
Next week’s Trading Tale
Lined up and ready to tell you her tantalising tale on Friday 10th June, is Sandra Willis on The Doggie Boat.