9th April 2020

Culture / Holly Tucker

The Importance of Independent Shopping by Holly Tucker

40 5 mins 0

HHolly Tucker MBE is the founder of Not on The High Street and UK Ambassador for Creative Small Businesses. She is the authority on independent retail business. Through her work at her eponymous Holly & Co, Holly encourages people to build a business doing what they love and urges all of us to shop small and support our local independents.

My mission to support small businesses and independent shopping runs very deep. I truly believe that embracing small businesses and their creations will not only help you find what you want to buy; but connection, humanity, conversation and originality comes as an added extra. Each item has a story to tell and with each purchase you become a part of their story.

 

In this digital age, where everything is faster and distant, our precious high streets are the only hub of the physical community the majority of us will ever witness.

Holly Tucker

Spending a lifetime within the world of ‘small businesses’, I have lately taken a great interest in our high streets and their importance. In this digital age, where everything is faster and distant, our precious high streets are the only hub of the physical community the majority of us will ever witness. I believe they are so under threat that they need to become protected. They serve as a place of community and collaboration; a place to meet our neighbours, calm our busy minds and feel, well, human.

Independent and small businesses are up against so many challenges to survive, yet are so completely under-appreciated. Did you know that a shop pays rates based on how much the building it is in is worth? So whether it’s occupied by a chain store churning out the same products as its 200 other stores across the country, or by a wonderful family who’ve been there for 20 years and works tirelessly to source ethically sound and unique products for their valued customers, they will pay the same business rates!

Truly independent shops are a different species to the chains, so lumping them in together is like comparing a shed to a mansion. You just can’t do this. Not only because what they offer is truly different but how on earth will they ever be here in the next 5 years?

It’s something we need not only to all be aware of, but we need to be careful this doesn’t become one of those awful occurrences, which we’ll look back at as a historic moment where a species gets wiped out, and when we realise – it’s all too late! We were asleep at the wheel.

So I ask, beg, that whether you're hitting the high street or browsing the virtual shopfronts, why not click that 'about us' button before completing any purchases and see whether you're spending your money with businesses that make the world a better place?

Holly Tucker

So I ask, beg, that whether you’re hitting the high street or browsing the virtual shopfronts, why not click that ‘about us’ button before completing any purchases and see whether you’re spending your money with businesses that make the world a better place?

This is the loudest cry and plea for action… Not just for the traditional consumer, but for those of us with small businesses, we shouldn’t be spending the same way as everyone else. We should be leading by example, I know (more than most!) how hard that can be if you’re in the middle of a busy period, I know it seems like Amazon can solve all your problems, BUT why not resist and just take a moment to think about the love and passion that person has put in behind the scenes, just to capture a moment of your attention.

I ask that the next time you walk into a shop and are greeted with a warm smile and genuine interest, when you open a door into a haven of beautiful things you’ve never seen before or when the person behind the till is busily making stock to fill their shelves, know that just by stepping through their door, liking their post or asking them about their dreams, you are giving them a virtual hug, a pat on the back and the encouragement they need to keep pursuing their dream.

I can and will continue to #campaignshopindependent all year round (it’s not just a Christmas thing!) because really it isn’t just shopping. It’s a connection. It’s humanity. It’s a community… and it’s love.

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Holly Tucker MBE is the founder of Not on The High Street and UK Ambassador for Creative Small Businesses. She is the authority on independent retail business. Through her work at her eponymous Holly & Co, Holly encourages people to build a business doing what they love and urges all to shop small and support their local independents.

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