RARE Christmas Market

Shopping with RARE Brands at Goodwood

This year, more so than ever, I have been more conscious of supporting local, independent businesses. Whether that is eating at local restaurants and cafes (see Solera, and Bread & Milk), shopping at Goodwood Farm Shop or One Market Brighton for those extra special quality treats, or even travelling to independently run campsites on my staycation adventures (I highly recommend East Thorne in Bude, Cornwall). Christmas will be the perfect opportunity to really be careful with my purchases to make sure they are sustainable, charitable and ultimately great quality products from businesses that deserve the extra attention this festive period. The Rare Brand Christmas Market is the absolute idyllic place to shop with this ethos in mind, and I had the priviledge of being invited along to Goodwood Racecourse to enjoy this event and celebrate some fantastic brands and businesses. 

For those that do not recognise the RARE Brand from my November article on The Barn Little London, the woman behind it all is Emma Schwarz who is on an absolute mission to expose consumers to the best emerging brands in the market. While there is a bias to local Rare Brand’s, some brands travelled from Hampshire, Cornwall, London, Suffolk and Scotland for the market last week. The mission seems to be proving a success too as the halls were absolutely full of shoppers keen to learn and buy from the sustainable clothing stalls, food-waste fighting charities, and enthusiastic creatives over the three days (17-19th November). 

@kennydeane, limited edition vinyl art

First I must address the venue itself. It does not get much more stylish than Goodwood Racecourse, and on this particular Saturday morning, it looked especially incredible in the November sun. Entering the event, we were first introduced to ‘Dinoski’ on the exterior of the market – a children’s skiwear brand with an ethos of wanting to get the kids (and adults) to go outside and enjoy the great outdoors. They have also created ‘Roarsome’, renovating vintage school buses and turning them into epic glamping accommodation. One of these colourful buses was parked right outside the food hall, giving us just a tease of the sort of quirkiness we would find as we mazed around four halls packed with hundreds of shopping brands. 

In the Double Trigger was everyone’s favourite part of a market – the food hall. It was hard to resist the tasters of food and liquor as we wandered around, but what was even more impressive than the taste of these samples was the care each brand had for its product. Mavrik Drinks introduced us to the deliciously refreshing taste of their low calorie, no alcohol canned cocktails, but then shortly after we were exposed to the delightfully sweet warmth of Thunder Vodka’s toffee spirit. Continuing to maze through the stalls, we nibbled on biscotti and tasted curried butter chicken. There were cheeses, chocolates, cured meats and plenty more booze. My purchase of the day was made with UK Harvest who were selling their sweet chutneys made entirely from surplus ingredients rescued from going to waste, and cleverly labelled ‘Scrap and Pickle.’ The new ‘boxing day chutney’ is made from all those leftover pumpkins we tend to carve and dump annually. 

Once I had tried and tested my way through all of the food and drink products, there were still three rooms to explore across Goodwood’s Charlton Stand. Jewellery, candles, clothes, kitchenware, and decor brands filled the room like tetris blocks to cater for everyone’s Christmas wish-list needs. A wonderful feature was the bar in the middle of room one serving coffee, cakes and Digby Fine Wine, transforming a shopping morning into a shopping experience. What’s more is there was a pop-up version of The Barn Little London with a delicious brunch menu for those more-than-peckish tummies; the courtyard sheds were brought along to the racecourse too for that authentic Barn dining experience from the market. 

youneedart.co.uk @youneedart.co.uk

It was a joy to see the market so busy, and to hear people networking, from social-media following to live action candle sniffing and reviewing. The day was clearly about making shopping personal, and really building relationships with the brands you buy from. The rush was far from claustrophobic, but instead had a comforting, communal buzz which left me feeling extremely festive. It goes to show that shopping with care – choosing the brands and businesses you buy from wisely – can truly benefit your own wellbeing, as well as the environment, and is a habit to form and maintain beyond Christmas. 

Hear from the Brands themselves: 

“Sustainability is a big deal for us. Shanty was born out of a genuine love of the British coastline and we give money to projects that are concerned with protecting and cleaning up this ecosystem. The seaweeds that we use in our product are harvested sustainably by hand ensuring that the holdfasts are left in tact allowing for regrowth. We use an organic wheat based spirit. The bottle is wax dipped so as to avoid any plastic shrink wrap. Our 70cl bottle is decorated using organic ceramic glazes that are kiln fired on to the bottle.We encourage refilling our bottles rather than throwing them away offering a discount to anyone who brings us back a bottle. 

We are looking at the possibility of using solar power or even tidal power to run the still in the near future.

It is great to see events such as Rare Brand’s putting time into making sure that the brands that they represent are making efforts to produce sustainably. Making a difference to the climate and the well being of the planet is ultimately going to be down to each and everyone of us but I think it’s important that brands set a good example.”

“[Our] Handmade products are made in small batches and often made to order, meaning less waste, as they typically use fewer resources to produce than mass production techniques. Sustainable brands will put the environment first, from fabrics choices, to recycled packaging, to locally made items.

Events such as the Rare Brand Christmas market are great events where you know and can trust the brands exhibiting who they say they are and are truly independent and unique and have the environment at the forefront of the business. Events mean that customers can meet the faces behind the brands, feel the products and try them on first hand rather than through a computer screen.”


Currently at The Stanley Road Store on Market Street in the south lanes is a pop-up store which features Brighton’s own makers. From ceramics to clothes; prints, jewellery and badges, there are 70 artists on display, each with their own aesthetic. Check it out while you can from 11am-6pm everyday until Christmas. 


Stanley Road pop up store on Market Street, Brighton

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