A COUPLE who opened a craft shop featuring the work of many talented locals have been given a warm welcome by the community.

In the first week of opening in Cockermouth, Moshi Beads has sold at least one item made by each of the 26 crafters exhibiting.

Five weeks later, the couple now exhibit the works of 37 craftsmen and women, with more coming on board each week.

Sue and Les Ball moved from the south to Greysouthen in January. They opened Moshi Beads in Main Street.

“We’ve had exceptionally good feedback from locals and we’ve had a lot of support from locals, too,” said Les.

“We have had a fantastic response,” Sue added. “Even when we were doing the place up, people were knocking on the windows and saying good luck. There have been so many well wishers.

“And people really like that it is local crafts we have. It’s lovely to be accepted in this way.”

Sue has been making jewellery for many years and displayed her collections at various fairs, halls, and markets.

With the disappearance of venue spaces, the couple decided one night over chips to have a go at opening a shop. Sue said: “We decided we needed more of an outlet to sell my jewellery and the work of other local crafters.

“During lockdown, people have been at home; some have lost their jobs and turned to crafting and haven’t had the opportunity to sell.

“We want to help them promote and sell their work.”

Twenty years ago, the couple ran a shop together in Staffordshire and learnt some valuable lessons on how to run a business in a small town.

Before opening Moshi Beads, the couple garnered a huge response to their adverts inviting crafters to sell their merchandise through the shop.

There is all sorts for sale, including fused glass, jewellery, macramé, embroidery, glass, candles and cards.

“Everyone has sold something, that’s really amazing,” said Les.

The couple have crafters from Whitehaven, Cockermouth, Egremont and Workington.

“We wanted to keep it Cumbrian from the start and give people a fair chance, so we have an eclectic mix so far,” said Les.

Les worked in the motor trade for more than 30 years and is currently a professional photographer. He said: “It’s make or break for us during these times, but the town has been incredible. We’ve had people come in and say I’m going to spend some money here just to support you.”

Moshi Beads is open seven days a week.