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Art collective to expand its retail offering


A mother and daughter duo have created a communal business for local artists and are encouraging creativity among Cardiffians


Gemma and Nicola working together and combining their business abilities

Artists can find it hard to get their work seen and sold, but the efforts of a mother and daughter duo in Capitol Shopping Centre are paying off as the council is considering whether to let them expand the space to provide art workshops.

The Cardiff Creative Shop was opened in April 2018 in the Queen Street shopping centre and provides space for lots of artists to exhibit and sell their work, while sharing the costs of the business between them all and giving up their own time to run it.

The shop is owned by mother Nicola Day, 55, and daughter Gemma Cox, 28, but it’s an unusual business model that involves the contribution of over 50 local artists.

“We all pay the rent between us,” explains Nicola. 

“We share the broadband, the till, the card machine costs; we share all the relevant things that you can’t afford to do as a normal artist,” she says.

Many of the creators agree to do an unpaid day a month at the shop, enabling them to be open seven days a week.

“Gemma came to trade with me and decided we needed to be inside!”

Nicola says: “I was trading outdoors, making jigsaws and things. Gemma came to trade with me and decided we needed to be inside!”  

Nicola and Gemma prefer to be called creative coordinators because they say they have no intention of stifling the freedom or creativity of the other artists.

creative shop

The shop is home to a wide variety of crafts made from different materials

The artists are encouraged to contribute to the daily running of the shop.

“But the administration side to it isn’t much fun and nobody wants to do the form filling!” laughs Nicola.   

They say they have plans to expand the business in the near future.

“We plan to set up a virtual shop so people can look around online and we can direct them to the website of the actual artist,” Nicola explains.  

They are also trying to make the space next to the shop a social enterprise where people can trade and do workshops.

They have been working with Cardiff Council to make this idea a reality.

creative shop

They hope to maintain the area next door as space for the public to get involved and be creative with the artists

Nicola says the funding is difficult but the council has recently re-evaluated the council tax.

Their objective is to be affordable to as many members of the public as possible.

“It’s about making creativity happen for everyone and being accessible,” Nicola explains.  

The Creative Shop will be running a Christmas market in the Capitol Shopping Centre from 12 November to 31 December. 

Paint your own pottery workshops run every day and chalk drawing on the wall is free and encouraged.

Video credit: Cardiff TV

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