‘I want Yorkshire to be the artisan capital of the UK’ - Inspiring story of Ripon independent traders' market as it celebrates fifth anniversary

Founder of Little Birds Artisan Market, Jackie Crozier, has revealed the market's inspiring story which has supported independent traders and nurtured creative entrepreneurs across the city as it reaches its fifth birthday.
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Mrs Crozier, who previously worked on large scale projects like Manchester Pride and the London Olympics, gave up work to be with her mother who was taken into intensive care.

During this time, Mrs Crozier held her first traders’ market in the Magdalen's pub garden, next door to her mother’s home.

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Mrs Crozier said: “Somebody said to me today you’ve gone from the gardens at Magdalen’s to the gardens at Harewood house.

Founder of Little Birds Artisan Market, Jackie Crozier celebrates fifth anniversary at Ripon Market Square.Founder of Little Birds Artisan Market, Jackie Crozier celebrates fifth anniversary at Ripon Market Square.
Founder of Little Birds Artisan Market, Jackie Crozier celebrates fifth anniversary at Ripon Market Square.

“I was born and bred in Ripon and left for Manchester at 21.

“When my mum got really sick, I came home.

“I stopped all work so I could spend time with her, and be in the hospital every day.

“I had a lot of time on my hands to think.

“I’d always been passionate about the high street, independent traders and tourism, those three things together.

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“My mum was actually in intensive care in Harrogate when I held my first market there.

“Whenever I’d come home to Ripon and do my shopping, fill my car, I thought how much Ripon needs my money more than Manchester

“I’d always been aware of small traders, and had friends who were small traders.

“I just thought if I can support their business one day, they might take a shop on the high street or expand.

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“That's where the name Little Bird came from, the little bird flying the nest.”

After advertising for traders, the Little Birds market’s popularity followed in quick succession.

Little Birds supports surrounding trade, encouraging visitors to explore everything on offer in the city.

“Yes, it's about independent trade,” she said.

“But it's also about supporting the whole high street.

“We always advertise, don’t just come to the market, come and have some food, bring the dog, go for a walk to the world heritage centre.

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“For someone from Ripon, it's amazing to bring back my skills, support unique businesses and put Ripon, as well as Knaresborough, Harrogate and Wetherby, on the map.

“We’ve got amazing independent, talented traders.”

Little Birds provides a support system for trade starting out while encouraging young creatives and nurturing talent as it makes its way onto the market place.

“As a councillor more than ever I’m really proud of Ripon,” she said.

“When my mum was in hospital one of the dieticians had a daughter who made ear-rings.

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“She asked if there’d be a spot on the market for her, I said absolutely.

“She started on my market and in around two years she left her full time job.

“I’m proud to have given her that opportunity.

“People's dreams are vital.

“It's incredible to encourage creativity in young people and everybody wants to work for themselves.

“Little Birds proves it's possible.

“It's tough out there, people are working really hard to get through the cost of living crisis.

“We give people the confidence to do it.

“Little Birds is about supporting each other as a community.”