Our events are all about community
More so than ever we need to get together in person and share the roller coaster of life. What better way than to do so than under the big open sky on a Friday evening? With the humble gesture of gathering around the table we nourish ourselves with great food, and with food we find commonality. We build bridges, we build relationships, we build community.
Every idea starts with a dream
My dream is to live in a vibrant place that inspires me to live the best life I can. I want to be surrounded by happy people fulfilling their potential and living their dream. Living by the sea, on this peaceful section of a World Heritage site, we’re half way there.
About our food markets
One August evening on a family holiday in the Dordogne, we made our way to the local market, and found the treasure that all tourists are looking for. Here was the community, embraced by the blue sky and sun-baked stone buildings of the town square. The air was full of the aromas of cooking and barbecuing, chattering and singing and French pop. It was buzzing. It was brilliant. This was a fragment of dream I wanted to bring home.
When I thought about how my family managed to eat out I realised the pleasure of being in a restaurant was lost in the stress of young kids with ants in their pants, thinking about dietary needs and compromising choices to account for what everyone’s tastes. And then the hole in the purse.
That’s where Seaton Eats Boutique came from. It wasn’t all plain sailing but we got going and have been received by the community with gusto to match the French. So successful has Seaton Eats Boutique been, in 2018 we took the format and created Sidmouth Eats Boutique and there too, the community have given their resounding support.
One of our leading values in running these events is to make them accessible to everyone, be it diet, physical or financial. We choose venues that everyone can get to and around, with nearby facilities, and places that have plenty of space for kids to run around. We offer choice.
About our business, Unique Boutique Events
Unique Boutique Events registered in 2017 as a sole trader when it became apparent that our street food markets could become a viable business. I am working to make a sustainable business that can support other local industries, offer employment, and create further community events.
Until 2020 I hadn’t received direct sponsorship or financial investment to run any of my events, although I’ve had fantastic business support from funded enterprise agencies such as Business Information Point. During the quiet summer of 2020 I went through a rigorous 3 stage application process to be accepted onto The Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Start Up Programme, in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs, and jointly funded by The National Lottery Community Fund. The programme is giving me the opportunity to take Unique Boutique Events to the next level in the way I think about what we do and why we do it, and crucially, how we do it. To that end I consider Unique Boutique Events to be a social enterprise, because the community is at the heart of what I do.
About our contemporary craft markets
You could say that this was where it all began. In 2010 I was working at the wonderful Exeter Phoenix and kept meeting people who were making incredible things on their kitchen tables. I wanted to fill the spaces at the Phoenix with all this creative output, along with a great vibe and good tunes. These creative people were living their dreams by creating income from doing what makes them happy. Over the years Unique Boutique evolved and grew and still the makers came. The support from Exeter Phoenix enabled this to happen – they’re ace, as are all the talented, creative and eclectic makers that come to sell. I am privileged that they choose Unique Boutique and delight in seeing their enterprises flourish.
I’m a bit like a dog in that I get excited by just about everything: food, creativity, people, stories. My diverse career travelling the world, working in hospitality, a degree in Art and the balm of nature all feed into the flavour of the events I run.
We moved from Exeter to East Devon on my birthday in 2011 and have set up our home with friends and children and school and cricket. I’m interested in investing in our community to make it a great place to live. Every day reveals another reason to love where we are, whether its the people, the landscape, the clean air or the sea.