In 2020, small businesses in the UK account for three fifths of the total employment (16 million+ people). In these difficult and uncertain times, these businesses are the first to feel the effects of the financial strain and as a consequence, those employed by these businesses feel the burden too. Without these small businesses on the map, the very places we visit for coffee, bread, handmade clothes and much more - will disappear.
As we all personally feel the affects of Covid-19 in a variety of ways, it's not easy to support every small business, but it's important to champion them and encourage shopping small, after all, it costs nothing to support small businesses. If you happen to be on the hunt for a gift or looking for something special for yourself, I'd like to introduce you to six small businesses who you should have on your radar.
East of Eden
Housed in a small grade II listed barn, East of Eden strive to offer customers simple, decorative, and functional items that can be used and enjoyed everyday. "To us, 'modern' is an approach, not a style. We seek out products with a lasting aesthetic that transcend short-lived trends."
Owner Graham discovers items from a wide range of sources, across the UK and abroad. Some are totally unique, designed & made 100% by hand in small batches by independent makers, whilst others come from bigger established studios and brands.
"The teams passion is really about sourcing objects which make people smile. How many things have you bought this year which will became valued possessions?".
East of Eden are open Wed-Sat 10-5 and operate online 24/7!
ÒR consists of 2 creative retail stores situated in Portree on the Isle of Skye. They showcase a wide range of contemporary art and craft goods. Skye has become their source of inspiration & have worked on a number of collaborations with artists & designers in creating new work.
In addition to the shops, owner Jen also designs and makes jewellery. The brand represents a modern creative retail environment and they're passionate about connecting customers to the story and person behind the piece.
ÒR - The Green is Open Monday - Sunday
ÒR - Wentworth Street is currently closed for refurbishment.
DESIGN AT 44
Design 44 was opened in 2013 by Jade Devall and has become one of the best lifestyle and gift shops. Jade's passion to showcase independent local businesses has driven the shop to become one of the most successful independent shops in the Midlands. Her drive and passion comes from having worked in the design industry for over 8 years and also owning her own design company.
In March 2020 the shop moved into it's new home within Intu Derby, allowing over 50 designers and makers the opportunity to sell their work alongside the major high street brands.
Design 44 strives to help small businesses have a retail platform in which to expand and sell their products, Jade sources the very best design-led gifts, Eco products and interiors from British, Danish and Dutch design. This has become a true passion for Jade and Design 44 provides the best trend-driven Scandinavian style, right in the heart of the city.
Design 44 is currently open currently Mon-Sat 9-6 and Sunday 10.30-4.30
26-27 Sadler Gate, Derby DE1 3NL
CEDAR FARM GALLERY
Cedar Farm is an independent, family run business based on an old farm in rural Lancashire. This was the first time in 33 years that they had to close, aside from closing for a week during the Foot and Mouth epidemic - YEARS ago!
Ceadr sell handmade crafts and design led gifts, as well as art materials and bespoke picture framing. During lockdown, they were delivering art kits by bike to their local community.
Cedar Farm Gallery are happy to be open again between the Tuesday- Sunday 10-5
Cedar Farm, Back Lane, Mawdesley, Nr Ormskirk L40 3SY
OTHERLETTERS brings together the coolest partyware, gifts and cards. The business was born when two sister-in-laws, Linda and Debbie, decided to make bespoke birthday banners and toppers for their children.
The business quickly grew to include partyware and carefully chosen gifts - A Weathered Penny was one of the first! Starting on their kitchen table they now have a shop in an old foundry in the old part of Leigh-on-Sea in Essex and are online too.
"It was extremely busy in lockdown - the shop obviously closed and we furloughed our staff but continued to trade online. Parties at home became even more important with people wanting to make a fuss about the birthday person."
"Gifts including jewellery also sold brilliantly as well as cards! It's been fabulous to reopen the shop and see our customers again. It seems plenty of people are buying gifts for themselves as a little treat. The nail varnish is very popular!"
The Old Foundry, 66 High Street, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex SS9 2EP
The store which had its’ second anniversary in December 2019 is continuing to thrive with a steady stream of regular and new customers visiting the store in Partick and the partners behind the brand would like to thank everyone for visiting and supporting them.
"As we all know it’s been a very tough time for everyone with the start of COVID19. As a shop, we were closed from the 18th March – 1st July 2020. After the announcement was made that small businesses such as ours could reopen, we did everything we could to ensure that we made the shop a welcoming and safe environment to visit."
Now, half way into their third year, CoLab Store has launched their website and online store which they are very excited about. "The online store and website went live through lockdown at the end of May. Months have been spent designing and working on the new site which it hopes will spread the CoLab name further afield. It will be able to reach a market across the UK, Europe and Worldwide. It will ensure that all the store’s stunning products are available online as the company appreciate today’s lifestyles are hectic and sometimes shopping online is more convenient."
The store is available to hire for various events such as workshops, language classes, wine tasting and more. Just ask in store if this is of interest. The child friendly space offers nappy changing facilities and ensures everyone is welcome.
Check out CoLab’s offerings on their Facebook and Instagram pages or pop in if you’re wandering around the West End. Visit them too online at www.colabstore.co.uk
11-13 Dowanhill Street, Glasgow, G11 5QS United Kingdom
Please continue to support small businesses wherever and whenever you can during this difficult time. Thank you for all your continued support.