Our unique trading story takes us on a journey from the foothills of Snowdonia, Wales to the rice paddies and steep ravines of Bali. As a business, we have been travelling to Indonesia since 1994 with Jane taking over the buying in 2007. In this time we have formed strong links with our Artists, who have become friends, we have watched their families grow and their businesses develop.
Over the years we have got to know their neighbours, the community and there is a mutual trust between us that we are working in everyone’s best interests.
We take many of our own designs and work with the producers to adapt and develop ideas. We work together combining their traditional skills with our western influences and arrive at some outstanding pieces of art.
It is essential to understand why we import many of our beautiful products, as we are often asked when people visit Snowdonia "is it made locally?"
The short answer is no, if it were all made locally, we would not still be trading. The beginnings of Beddgelert Woodcraft are firmly rooted in locally produced, handcrafted wooden items. The founder of the business Mike Garside was a renowned woodturner, producing clocks and barometers in the 1980s and he fulfilled many prestigious contracts throughout the country.
As times change so do the trends, costs and the way the consumers were buying, the increasing costs of producing and selling items meant that action had to be taken to keep the business sustainable. It was at this point that Mike began travelling and importing goods, building the first of the trade relationships, many of those first producers we still work with today.
We import directly from the Artisan producers, there is no middleman, no wholesalers and no one adding their mark-up which means we can sell for a reasonable price while still paying our Artists the best price. Importantly Mike saw the benefit to the communities in Indonesia he was working with as well as the benefit to the community of Beddgelert. By moving the business forward in this direction, it meant he could keep the shop in Beddgelert open all year round and employ full-time members of staff, not just seasonal work, in our small village this is an important consideration.
It also meant he spent at least 6 weeks of the year travelling and exploring the world which he loved to do! Since Jane took over the business in 2007, she has added her artistic influence and worked to bring her ideas and designs to life with the help of our Artists in Indonesia. It has become a real fusion, for example, you will see Welsh Lovespoons, designed in Wales, incorporating all the traditional elements but hand carved in Indonesia and then hand-finished by our staff in Beddgelert!
And then there was 2020... the year that no one expected! The global pandemic has hit everyone, everywhere in different ways.
Trade wise it is the year that never was, creativity wise it has given us time to reflect on ourselves as a business and reassess. Moving forward we will be looking to bring you the best of both worlds… once travel reopens we will still be bringing you the best of our Indonesian products but we will also be looking closer to home at ways to showcase some of the fantastically talented artists and creatives we have right here! We aim to be allowing artists to work by providing a sales platform for them, wherever in the world they might be and we hope we can find a way to balance the benefits to all while still allowing a sustainable year-round business to continue to flourish in our beautiful Beddgelert!