Five Sheffield businesswomen ask people to shop local in support of two independent shop campaigns
It’s July, and that doesn’t just mean it’s finally time to get your summer wardrobe out, it means its time to celebrate our independent businesses.
This month is Independent Retailer Month, and today – July 4 – is also Independents’ Day here in the UK. Both of these initiatives have been introduced to highlight the important role small, local, independent retailers play in our community.
Five businesswomen who are supporting these campaigns are Amie Siriphong who is director of Bow and Lace, Sarah Catterall who is the director of All Good Stuff, Laura Smith who runs the brand Life is Better in Colour, Michelle Walton who is the owner of Birds Yard, and Lindsay Lonchar who is the owner of Wildwood Artisan Gifts and Coffee Shop.
Amie, who is a dress designer, said: “Shopping and buying locally means a lot to independent shops like mine. It has a domino effect because when customers come visit my store, it encourages people to visit other surrounding local business.
“By wearing my designs, my clients are helping promote art and fashion in Sheffield. We have a lot of different talents in Sheffield; from artists to steel makers to musicians.
“The more recognition we get, the more popular we become as a city. Generating more interest in the city encourages new business for everyone, not just me.
“Please buy locally and let us all show the rest of the country that Sheffield is a great city full of different talents.”
Sarah, who is also a jewellery maker, said: “With over 50 Sheffield based artists at All Good Stuff, shopping local with us is helping them.
“No matter when you call in to the shop, there will be one of the artists there to personally help you shop for that special gift, commission or simply let you browse for the inspiration and gift ideas we all need.
“We are so proud of out little gallery. The support from customers helps us as a shop retain our relaxed and unique personality and our volunteer staff and artists who are the backbone of the shop itself.”
Laura said: “I love initiatives like these as they help to shine a spotlight on hardworking small businesses. Not only do they have amazing items for sale, but they’re also working to build a sense of community with their customers and fellow shopkeepers. I say hurrah for small independent retailers. I’m proud to support them and proud to be one.”
Michelle said: “Any celebration of independent retailers is great. Campaigns like these make small shops more visible so people look at what’s on offer locally and can find that something different.
“The money that’s spent in our shop stays local, which means our makers can create more and offer even more back to our customers. That relationship between us and our customers is something we treasure.
“We love to talk to our customers and tell them about what they’re buying and they enjoy hearing about how their purchases were made, by who, and any other interesting little details.
“Bird’s Yard has a more unique perspective than most in that way as we are a collective of small, independent creatives working together, so we know all the makers and their stories. This also means that we can offer more personalised service to our customers as we can work directly with makers to create custom or personalised pieces, something bigger retailers can’t often offer.
“Independent shops aren’t just about making money, they’re about providing something for our community too.”
Lindsay said: “All Independent businesses have break-even targets each day to enable us to pay rent, rates, utilities, staff wages, tax bills, stock invoices and so on. So every card, every key ring, every coffee sale really counts.
“Independents tend to go the extra mile to offer an personal experience to their customers and, in turn, those customers are pleased to be able support the staff they get to know when they visit.
“We’re passionate about what we do and it absolutely makes our day when customers appreciate what we have to offer.
“If we don’t want to lose even more of our high street, it’s vital that we support our independent retailers, in July this year and all year round.”
If you would like to support these initiatives, you can do so simply by shopping at the many amazing independent shops we have. Whether you are looking for a special gift or doing your weekly food shop, there are many places to visit. Look at independentsdayuk.org and independentretailermonth.co.uk.