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Speyside businesses get a pre-Christmas boost from XpoNorth online market

By Calum MacLeod

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Grantown artist and craftsmaker Angus Grant.
Grantown artist and craftsmaker Angus Grant.

With only 40 days until Christmas, XpoNorth has relaunched its popular Christmas marketplace to support local makers and help shoppers find a unique and locally sourced special gift.

Following a call from the creative industries support organisation last month asking all creative practitioners based in the region to apply to be a part of the XpoNorth Christmas Marketplace, the online marketplace has returned featuring businesses and artists from Perthshire to Shetland and from Moray to the Isle of Lewis, ranging from publishers to craftsmakers, artists, photographers and musicians.

In addition to the marketplace, each day from now until Friday, December 17, one brand will take over the XpoNorth social media channels giving them valuable exposure during this crucial trading time.

Jennifer Macdonald-Nethercott, founder of Grantwin-based Wilder Waves.
Jennifer Macdonald-Nethercott, founder of Grantwin-based Wilder Waves.

Among those participating this year is Jennifer Macdonald-Nethercott of Wilder Waves from Grantown on Spey, which designs sustainable clothing and accessories to enable marine conservation.

Also representing the Grantown area are whisky maker Angels' Nectar and artist ad craftmaker Angus Grant.

This year’s marketplace also includes Shetland-based, Mella handmade soaps including a range of palm oil free soaps, natural skincare and soy wax candles made using only the finest ingredients; Chocolates of Glenshiel with flavours including Blairgowrie raspberry and Isle of Skye sea salt, everything that goes in to these chocolate has been produced in Scotland; beer from one of Scotland’s first independent craft breweries which started brewing in 1988, The Orkney Brewery and Iona Hall Jewellery. Iona takes inspiration from the movement, lines and irregular patterns in the beaches near her home in Moray to produce some wonderful, unique pieces.

One of the products from Grantwon's Wilder Waves ethical clothing and accessories company.
One of the products from Grantwon's Wilder Waves ethical clothing and accessories company.

Iain Hamilton, head of creative industries at Highlands and Islands Enterprise and co-founder of XpoNorth said: “This year we are delighted to see the return of some familiar brands from last year’s inaugural Christmas marketplace as well as welcome the many new brands who have joined this year. About 40% of this year’s makers are showcasing for the first time, which is a great testament to the support the marketplace can provide in helping our local creative economy to thrive this festive season.

“We look forward to seeing local shoppers engage with local brands over the coming weeks via the marketplace and our social channels and hope shoppers and makers alike benefit to have a truly special Christmas 2021.”

The full list of creative businesses included in XpoNorth’s Christmas Marketplace is available to view at www.xponorth.co.uk/marketplace

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