July is upon us already and we find ourselves in Independent Retailer Month. As a shopaholic and a lover of independent shops, Hebden Bridge has to be one of my favourite shopping destinations as it is simply bursting with a colourful array of fabulous, independent shops.
But just what is it about independent shops that’s so special? We’ve all heard the statistics about every £1 spent in an independent shop, 50–70 pence goes back into local economy. This is obviously fantastic but there is so much more to the magic of independent shopping from a shopaholic’s, ahem! shopper’s point of view.
Wood And Wire
Variety: When you shop in high-street chainstores, the choice available may seem vast. But the reality is, everyone is going to end up with the same branded stuff, <yawn>! This is honestly not what you get when you shop in a place so full of independent shops as Hebden Bridge. You get uniqueness and variety, which is something highly sought by today’s shoppers.
Craftsmanship: There is no doubt about it, something that is really valuable to many shoppers is products that have been expertly designed and crafted. Why go to a Swedish interior megastore when you can go to Wood and Wire or Radiance Lighting and get a bespoke service and quality craftsmanship. There is real joy in knowing that someone has taken pride in creating something beautiful for you to take home.
Advice: Independent shop owners are often experts in their field and able to offer customers valuable advice on their purchases. A favourite of mine is Dragonfly Boutique. Whenever I visit this gorgeous boutique, Joanne the owner takes the time to advise how to put outfits together. She notices what I like and points me towards other similar pieces. She tells me what is coming in stock soon that I might like. This is such a personal service which you simply don’t get as standard except in independent shops.
The Yorkshire Soap Company
Personality: Who wants a bland high-street that looks the same as any other?There are many towns you can visit where it will look much the same as the next town and the next. When the town is full of independent shops you will see much more personality and individuality on show. The Yorkshire Soap Company is a fabulous example of this, where else do you find such extraordinary window displays. There is such creativity and fun that goes into their displays which not only entice customers in but generally brighten up the street for passers-by, keeping it fresh and vibrant.
The Heart Gallery
Community: Independent shops are a great hub of community. Often they will host and support local events. But more than that, when you visit an independent store and you don’t find what you were looking for, often you will find that shop owner recommending neighbouring shops you could try. Because they know that if you want one indie shop to survive, you need them all to thrive. Independent shop owners are invested in the future of their high-street and their wider community.
Discovery: For me the ultimate joy of independent shopping has to be the element of discovery. There is such a buzz to be had from a great find. You wander into an independent shop for the first time, perhaps just to browse. You stumble upon something beautiful and unique and there is a thrill. This is how I often feel when I browse The Heart Gallery. I often don’t have a specific item in mind when I go there but then you find such treasures and that thrill of discovery is delightful.
So this July, we should all support Independent Retailer Month, join in with #IndieRetail on social media and celebrate our wonderful independent shops. Let’s get out there shoppers; show them our love and enjoy all the magic they have to offer.
If you want to know more about me and why I want to spread the love for independent shops check out this blog post Confessions of an Indie Shopaholic.
Please follow me on social media @indieshopaholic and let me know your favourite things about independent shopping using #SpendItIndie.