The Leader is continuing to put the spotlight on local independent traders, producers and high street heroes across the region.

If you know of or are a business that goes above and beyond, or has a great story to tell, we want to hear from you, and celebrate our local traders and producers. You can let us know via our Q&A or email for more details.


A couple of years ago I lost a treasured piece of jewellery.

It wasn’t fancy, expensive or particularly unique but it was special to me and I’d worn it every day for more than 20 years.

I was beyond gutted as I watched it bounce off a windowsill, straight into the toilet I’d just flushed.

The sentimental value had been priceless, that’s what made it incredibly special.

Many of us will own an item of jewellery that is irreplaceable for some reason, regardless of value and our latest Trader of the Week creates pieces that have sentiment at their core…

Sarah Hoare has been running her jewellery-designing business Bird and Monkey from her kitchen workshop in Brymbo for six years.

The 46-year-old explains: “I make handmade jewellery. Originally my pieces were commissioned pieces from children's artworks, I also enjoy creating animal and bird themed works.

“Lately I have been working on a range of pieces based on the Victorian language of flowers.

“My pieces are all entirely handmade using sterling silver and coloured resin.”

And it’s a wonderful combination. Sarah’s work is beautiful in its bold simplicity (although certainly not simple), making for quite the statement pieces.

A browse of her website - – can’t fail to raise a smile.

Why Bird and Monkey, I ask, fingers crossed there’s a story behind the name. And there is.

Sarah said: “When my daughter was little her nickname was Bird, and I started my business just after my first son was born and he was monkey. Tada Bird and Monkey.”

And the designer’s talents haven’t gone unnoticed, with a very well-known face contributing to one of her most memorable moments in business.

Sarah said: “In 2018 I was selected by former Dragons’ Den judge Theo Paphitis to be part of his Small Business group.

“This means that I get to take part in his yearly business conference providing business information, guidance and guest speakers from all sectors of business.”

High praise indeed.

But the former retail manger, who has worked for Laura Ashley and Claire’s Accessories, isn’t one for resting on her laurels though, or even just resting.

She said: “I moved to Wales in 2012 after coming for a weekend to visit my childhood boyfriend that I hadn't seen for 23 years.

“That was a busy year-and-a-half. I started an applied art degree at Glyndwr University, got married and had a baby. Life is a bit calmer now, although we now have two kids and I'm doing a masters degree!”

It was at Glyndwr University that the business began its journey. As part of her initial course, Sarah had to create a mock business brief, starting with the children’s drawings idea, and the rest is history.

The already busy mum, whose work also includes freestanding artworks – she has even created a model of the Forth bridge with over 120 individual solder joins – is currently undertaking a full-time masters degree, which at the end of it will see her become a professional art practitioner.

I feel incredibly in awe at how much one person can achieve.

We chat about the recent BBC show, All That Glitters – Britain’s Next Jewellery Star (if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend), and how the designers are constantly pushed to create a personal style. Not as easy as it may seem but Sarah has achieved it, with every piece being different but clearly Bird and Monkey.

Whether you’re treating yourself or looking to surprise someone, a Bird and Monkey piece will instantly be special because it has been made by someone special. And that’s priceless.

• Bird and Monkey

Social media: @birdandmonkey