This coming Saturday 6th December is Small Business Saturday. This nationwide event backed by credit card company American Express, no less, is dedicated to celebrating those small businesses which help to keep our high streets alive, and keep them from turning into clone towns filled with huge chain franchises which can ultimately suck the personality from our city streets.
You may not even realise it but how many of you by pass the local corner shop to buy a pint of milk and head straight for the Tesco Express 2 minutes further down the road? Or do you buy all your fruit and veg from the local supermarket when there's a green grocer right at the end of your street? Or how about stopping off in Greggs for a baguette and a coffee, walking straight past the bakery which has been churning out 'split tin' loaves for over 50 years.
So, in honour of Small Business Saturday, I thought I would share with you all a few of my favourite small businesses, in hopes that you will all buy atleast one gift for a family member from a small business this year, and help boost your local economy.
Nestled away in the hill top town of Llantrisant, this adorable little patchwork shop is a must for any fabric-a-holic, like myself. Not only does owner, Susan, stock patchworking fabrics and supplies but, she also runs courses for budding beginners looking to try their hand at making a patchwork quilt. This tiny little shop is an Aladdin's cave of fabrics, sewing kits, supplies and lovely gifts too. From cushions and doorstops, to sewing bags and cute little projects in a jar, you're sure to find something for any family who loves sewing.
This interiors and gift shop can be found in the Cardiff suburb of Pontcanna, about 10 mins from the city centre. She is a proud stockist and painting guru of Annie Sloane Chalk Paints, and boy does she know her stuff. They also run painting workshops to learn the perfect techniques to shabbying up your furniture the Beti Biggs way. But, if decorating isn't your bag, don't worry, these guys have got tonnes of gifts and little trinkets to choose from, to cater for all.
Not exactly a high street business but, a small business none the less. This website is a crafters heaven, stocking a whole array of supplies from yarn to embroidery thread, fabric, and washi tape...even lampshade making kits. The Homemakery was started up by a lovely lady called Kate who ditched her job in coporate finance to follow her dream of opening up a crafting boutique. So, if you're looking for a project to keep you busy on these cold dark winter evenings then bypass Hobbycraft for a second and head on over to The Homemakery.
Ok, this one isn't exactly a high street business either but, a small business it is, with world domination prospects to say the least. The Pretty Nostalgic Society started life as a bi-monthly magazine once sold on the shelves of WHSmith but when editor and founder Nicole decided to take things in a different direction she had no idea what a can of worms she would open. Once a magazine publisher, The Pretty Nostalgic Society now produces a quarterly compendium (it's first issue has just gone to print in time for Christmas. Yippee!) and is looking for members to add to it's growing readership. If you love nostalgia and all things vintage, or are just looking for a slightly slower less consumeristic pace of life, then this is the magazine for you. It's fab!
I'm sure you've all got a Christmas market of some description near you this winter. And whilst you may be drawn more to the smells of roast turkey and pork, or the scent of hot Gluhwein, why not take a minute to stop and some of the traders stands and see what gifts they have on offer. Guaranteed you'll be able to find something interesting and unique that you wouldn't normall see in a supermarket or chain store. Go on, try it. You might be pleasantly surprised.
So, there we have it. Will you be shopping small this Saturday? Even if it's just for a pint of milk, think of our high street heroes as you hand over your loose change and the fact that you are contributing to helping our high streets keep their unique personality.
See you soon,