Straight away when you see Stuart’s Fabrics, it’s obviously a business run with a lot of care, attention and a high-level of expertise.
Reams of every imaginable material are immaculately organised, each one’s unique characteristics easy to observe, with prices clearly marked. Though you’d hardly think it possible, there are always new additions being put on display as well. And, on the rare occasion someone doesn’t find what they’re looking for, the staff will always endeavour to source any unique fabric requests.
The stall’s owner, Stuart Weston, has years of experience in his field – and it shows: “We’re very specialised in what we do and very cautious of buying high-quality wools, tweeds and silks. Our commodity base is very important,” he explains.
“We’re pretty unique to Leicester, there’s not that many people selling fabric in Leicester that have been around as long as I have,” Stuart adds, clearly extremely proud of the business he’s developed.
People constantly approach Stuart in the Outdoor Market, asking for advice on various projects, and he gives each one all of the time they need to ensure they’re satisfied. This level of service means he has a stream of regulars, while he’s also always getting more.
When asked about how he keeps the customers coming in, Stuart says: “In the old days we used to say ‘civility costs nothing’ and if you adopt that to your business you’ll always get on,” which aptly sums up his approach to work.
As well as the frequent visitors that have been accumulated over the years, in recent times Stuart has created strong links with De Montfort University. Thanks to his impeccable reputation, he supplies hundreds of students with the materials they need for their creative projects.
It’s a relationship which Stuart is pleased to have established and he does as much as possible to help the young shoppers with their work: “The uni students are great. We support them all we can and try to source their commodities. We give them really good trade prices and 10% student discount, sometimes even more.”
To keep the stall exactly how he wants it, Stuart regularly works 70-hour weeks. At particularly busy times of the year he can do up to 80 – yet another detail which highlights the lengths he and his team go to, to keep the business running perfectly.
Stuart’s Fabrics is open from Monday to Saturday, and is based at Unit 40 in the C Section of the Outdoor Market.
The Outdoor Market is home to a wide range of stalls and is open Monday to Saturday 7:00am to 6:00pm.