March 22, 2022
This Saturday we will host our third Maker's Fair featuring local makers from Lady Lane Market. We spoke to Naomi Agyekum from Tower Hamlets Council to find out more about the project.
London’s first women-led market: In Conversation with Naomi Agyekum from Lady Lane Market
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Naomi and I work in the High Streets Team at Tower Hamlets Council. As a team our main aim is to support our 10 local high streets and businesses to thrive. From shopfront improvements to public realm improvements, area regeneration and supporting businesses and market traders. I am also project Lead for Lady Lane Market and Lady Lane Kitchen.
What is Lady Lane?
Lady Lane Market is London’s first women-led market selling unique and handmade crafts, clothing and gifts produced by local mothers, daughters, sisters and grandmothers (even a great-grandmother!). Lady Lane is an initiative that Tower Hamlets Council set up in 2019 to encourage local women from all backgrounds to start their own business and to trade on street markets. Three cohorts of women went through a programme of support that included business planning and social media training. We have Lady Lane Market traders, many who make their own products. Also Lady Lane Kitchen who are a group of five ladies who all set up their own catering businesses but they also come together as a collective to cater for events, corporate and pop-ups serving delicious, authentic, culinary tastes from around the world. The name Lady Lane Market was chosen to reflect the female community of the market and its provenance in Petticoat Lane, which is our home market.
What makes Lady Lane Market unique?
Lady Lane Market provides a supportive environment that encourages more women from all backgrounds to trade at traditional street markets. Traditionally market traders are a majority men, this initiative wanted to flip the script and provide a different environment. The ladies themselves are what really make the initiative unique. They all make their own products, love what they do and do it well. There is a story behind every lady and business and this comes out in their amazing products and food.
What’s special for you about working with Lady Lane Market?
I love all things entrepreneurship, enterprise and business growth. Working with Lady Lane Market has involved me championing women empowerment, business development, business growth and bringing women together to do something they love. Through the pandemic as well, all the women have shown resilience, some have pivoted their businesses and started selling new product ranges. There really is no stopping them. Each and every woman is special and I love working with them to develop and grow their businesses and offering or signposting them to ongoing support and opportunities.
How have you been involved/engaged with Oxford House in the past?
I have as a mother as my daughter used to have ballet lessons at Oxford House, and also when my children performed Oliver Twist in the theatre as part of St. Matthew’s Church, Bethnal Green’s children’s programme. I have also come to see an exhibition and even had my sweet 16 birthday in the back hall quite a few years ago now. The building has changed many times.
What can visitors expect at our upcoming Maker’s Fair on the 26th March?
Lady Lane Market traders will be bringing along their homemade and unique products. You can expect handmade jewellery and skincare, vintage products, hot sauce, gifts and keyrings, crotched and knitted goods as well as coaching services. It is definitely worth coming down to speak with the ladies, buy their products and even order a bespoke item as many of them take orders. I myself have ordered a crocheted hat that I will be collecting.
Visit the Maker’s Fair on 26th March at Oxford House | Find more details here.
Visit the Oxford House Maker’s Fair this Saturday 26th March. Find out more details here.