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Whats happening at Ladybird?

Posted 11/12/2023

The rumour mill has been busy in Caldicot with speculation of Ladybird closing this month. So we have put together a list of what's happening and all our opening times and dates up to the end of April 2024.  Please read and share with your friends and family. Usual opening hours Tuesday to Saturday 9.30am to 3pm

To book any session or just a table please pop in or phone 01291 422322.


Christmas and New Years Opening times are different

Saturday 23rd December open 10am to 1pm.

Closed Sun 24th to Wed 27th Dec.

Open Thurs 28th to Sat 30th Dec 10.30am to 4pm.

Closed Sun 31st Dec and Mon 1st Jan

Open Tuesday 2nd Jan to Sat 6th Jan 10.30am to 4pm.

Closed for our annual holiday Sun 7th Jan to Fri 12th Jan.

We’re just having a holiday; we will reopen as normal from Saturday 13th January.

Normal opening hours Tuesday to Saturday 9.30am to 3pm.

Open for Pottery painting, Tots crafts and the adult craft groups. Coffee shop open for drinks and cakes anytime, lunches 10am to 2pm.


Adult only evenings 6pm to 9pm book with a £5 deposit;

Sat 3rd Feb,

Sat 2nd March,

Sat 13th April.

Choose your pottery on the night, drinks and cakes also available.



Hand and Foot Imprints into Clay

You must book a time during one of the below sessions, we’ll need to know how many imprints you want so we can have the clay ready.

Wednesday 24th January 10am to 12noon

Saturday 27th January 10am to 12noon

Saturday 3rd February 10am to 12noon

Wednesday 7th February 10am to 12noon


Half term from 12th February, opening times are a little longer;

We’re open Tuesday 13th to Friday 16th Feb 9.30am to 4pm. We’re open our normal times on all other dates.


Easter Holidays start 25th March, opening times are a little longer;

We’re open Tuesday 26th March to Friday 5th April 9.30am to 4pm. We’re open our normal times on all other dates.


From 6th April we’ll begin to reduce the food we offer and the amount of pottery for customers to paint.


We will close towards the end of April with the exact date to be announced.

We will then have a big sale of all furniture, equipment, supplies and stock that remain.

You are welcome to view the sale lists, with asking prices at any time, it includes the dates items will be available to have. You can see the items in person by arranging a date and time, (because we can’t have people just wondering into the kitchen anytime). You can put a deposit on something you really want, making it yours from the available date and with the full price paid, or wait and see what is available at the end of April.

You are also welcome to make an offer on any item we have for sale, Jo and Deb will consider all reasonable offers.

Please ask if you need any more information, we are keen to keep our customers up to date with the correct info as soon as we know it.

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Ladybirds Story

Posted 21/1/2023

Ladybird now feels more than just a business, it feels like a big part of the Caldicot community. Our customers and the whole community have welcomed us and supported us, so Deb and I feel that because you have been loyal customers, we owe it to you to explain what our situation really is.

If you live in or near Caldicot you probably want to understand why so much is changing or closing, Ladybird has also fallen victim to the sudden price raises and the down turn in sales, but for us this is only the tip of the iceberg.


Firstly, the staff were told a few days ago, they have been given time to digest and ask any questions they might have. We are hoping they will continue to work for us until the end, but we are also keen they follow any good opportunities that may come their way before we close and if this happens, we will both encourage them to go for it and wish them well!


Secondly this may not be the end of Ladybird. Deb and I are keen to emphasize that we are open to offers to buy the name, equipment, stock and if required, a hand over period with me and Deb. So, this may not mean another empty unit in Caldicot and wouldn’t it be lovely if Ladybird could become an even more community based business like a peoples cooperative? Where a group would own the business and run it not for profit, but for the community to both have a lovely, relaxing place to buy lunch or cakes, but also to teach those who may not get a lot out of mainstream education. Unfortunately, we also have to consider what happens if we don’t find a buyer.


With any new business you expect a time of working long hours for little to no money while establishing the business. Then you would expect some growth, and this would be the time to really cement what you are about, how the business will run and what you expect it to look like in the near future.


Ladybird opened on Caldicot high street at the end of 2016 after trading in Tintern for 2 years as just a Paint your own Pottery shop. We quickly increased our range both in craft and in the coffee shop, so much so that the unit just wasn’t working for us, it was too small to hold enough customers at peak times, but wasn’t able to make enough money from the customers we could fit in to make it a viable business. Deb and I looked at a lot of other units, as soon as we viewed the old Barclays bank, we knew we could do a lot in this building. The building had so much potential and being just off the high street meant much lower business rates. In a nut shell it had a lot more to offer for a very similar price to those units on the high street.


For those of you who followed our renovation work of the Barclays building you’ll remember the awful state the building was in. We only had a tiny budget, but with a lot of help from family and friends we just about kept to our budget, in return for a good discount on the rent we were able to make the building homely and comfortable, but with more work needed as funds became available.


When we opened in the current building in July 2019 we were overwhelmed by the support from the local community. We had a fantastic summer, Christmas and into the beginning of 2020, Deb and I thought 2020 would finally be the year we would be able to pay ourselves a reasonable amount every month. But I don’t need to tell you what 2020 brought us… We were lucky to get grants from the council to help with paying the rent, but me and Deb received no financial help ourselves.


Every time we started to come out of the lockdowns it was like starting a new business. Advertising we were open, encouraging an understandably nervous public to return and spend their money was difficult, time consuming and expensive. We hadn’t been making a profit before the lockdowns and there were still so many jobs to do on the building just to maintain it, it took any spare money we had. This was ok because we planned to build the business, to increase our product range in craft, craft workshops and the coffee shop, to employ more staff, even increase opening hours so Ladybird could become a place for customers to enjoy as well as train new staff in hospitality and increase confidence.


Then Brexit happened and brought the problems with supplies and delivery drivers, which effected both our craft and the coffee shop aspects. We battled on because more than anything me and Deb love our jobs, we love the community feel of the shop, meeting people and encouraging crafting for all.


At the beginning of 2022 things seemed to improve for the whole country and problems with supplies and drivers were less often, our customers were more keen than ever to come out and support us. Again, Deb and I dared to believe that we could pay ourselves a wage.


While we are so fortunate to not live in a war zone, the war in Ukraine has hit the UK more then I think any of us could have imagined. Prices are raising quicker now than in the last 40 years, and we have tried to keep our prices as low as possible, after all we all need to enjoy a cuppa and cake now and again. But I’m sure like many of you, we are really feeling the crush in food and electric prices. Our customers are understandably counting the pennies at the moment and buying less luxury items.


It’s the prefect storm when it comes to running a small business. If one of these phenomenon’s had happened alone, we could have weathered the storm, but with rinsing prices after Brexit, after covid on top of being a relatively new business with no profits to fall back on, then all you have left is two very tired, poor and burnt-out ladies. Deb and I, along with our very understanding and patient husbands, have discussed the business at length over the last few months, and we are all in agreement that its time to call it a day on us owning Ladybird Craft centre. This is a real heart ache for us, but it is now time for Deb and I to focus on our personal lives.


The lease finishes next year and if we can’t find a buyer soon, we will close in approx. spring 2024.   


We hope you will continue to support us until then.

Jo and Deb.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ladybirds Log


Sunday 9th October 2016

It's so exciting to finally have something to update the public about the new shop in Caldicot. It's just a shame the update is that we're still waiting!

On Thursday I thought I would pop an update on my Fb page and it was received well :) So today I thought I would write in a little more depth about how we got this far.

In May I signed up to the website they put me in touch with a company that would help me apply for a start up loan. Craig was assigned to me as my mentor and gave me templates and advise and sent me off to write my business plan. And then re-write my business plan. Then tweak my business plan. Then add a couple more bits to my business plan. And a cash flow forecast needed filling in for 2 years- well I still don't totally understand a cash flow, but I put numbers in boxes and somehow got it done.

Craig then asks "What evidence do you have to show that Caldicot wants this?"

Enjoying drinks and cakes outside Donnies Cafe, MagorEnjoying drinks and cakes outside Donnies Cafe, Magor

So I created a 10 question survey and with the super powers of Facebook I got 248 completed surveys in just a couple of days. Me and my husband had the hardship of visiting coffee shops and cafes in Chepstow, Caldicot and Magor to see what the competition was like and all this new info was added to my business plan and cash flow forecast.

By now it was the end of June and Craig advised me I had to apply for the Start up loan before my business turned 2 years old at the start of September.

Time was against me and it felt like everything else was against me as well. After filling in the application form for the loan Craig went on holiday and wanted to be back to work before the application went in as the process includes his company reviewing the application and Craig was needed to field any questions they had. Once the application was in some questions did come back and it involved me tweaking the business plan again. I then decided I needed a holiday- Well it had been booked 2 years previous and the timing now couldn't have been worse. I spent the week leading up to the holiday on the phone to Craig or the estate agent , sorting the Tintern shop ready for me to leave it in other peoples very capable hands and serving the Tintern customers as we were now in the first 2 weeks of the school holidays.

When I couldn't think straight anymore we went on holiday, and I did manage to relax and not think about the application for a while.

The day after we returned Craig phoned me and said my application had been accepted and the money would be in my account in the next few days. I said "Thank you". I'm not sure if it was the shock, the jet lag or the thought that now things are going to get very real, very quickly, but Thank you was all I could manage with no enthusiasm at all.

Craft Coffee LeafletCraft Coffee Leaflet

A couple of weeks later, overflowing with enthusiasm, I made the finally decide on which unit on Caldicot High Street I was going to have and handed my notice in to my well paid care job.

Well that's the story as far. I'm petrified! .....and still waiting to get access to the unit- the landlords lawyers are doing ....something or other (probably nothing to do with my unit!) but it's them I'm waiting for.



I hope you enjoyed this first installment of Ladybird Log- keep watching this space for the most up to date info on our Caldicot and Tintern adventures. 


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