Sheffield City Council celebrates Independents’ Day
Sheffield has joined the national Independents’ Day campaign with Sheffield’s very own Independents’ Retail Day. Officially celebrated on Thursday July 4 and now in its third year, the campaign aims to celebrate and give a voice to the UK’s independent retailers.
This year, Sheffield’s City Council has joined the campaign aiming to ‘raise awareness of the fantastic and creative independent retailers in Sheffield’ by encouraging retailers to celebrate the day by putting on demonstrations and holding special offers. Councillor Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for Business Skills and Development,said:
“We are delighted to be providing support for Independents’ Day this July 4 and have a number of plans for the city centre in the pipeline to celebrate the campaign.
“We are lucky to have a unique and vibrant offering of independent shops in Sheffield, 60% of all our retailers in the city centre are independent and we are already home to Chapel Walk, Division Street, The Nichols Building and others which are well supported by the Sheffield community. Therefore we hope that both retailers and shoppers really get behind Independents’ Day as it is a great initiative to show people the fantastic products and services on offer in Sheffield City Centre.”
On Saturday the council hosted an Independent’s Day market in the city centre as part of their Summer Saturdays events. They have also put up posters and spread the word about Sheffield Independents’ Day on July 4 when they will be encouraging people to shop at independent retailers and celebrate diversity on the high street.
At the market Stone the Crows, founded 35 years ago by born and bred Sheffielder John Allen, exhibited their outdoor living room in the middle of Fargate. Whilst independent retailers showcased and sold vintage clothes, jewelry and items made by local designers and artists.
Shouting about independents
Bird’s Yard, a new retail emporium located on Chapel Walk in Sheffield’s city centre was represented by creative’s who have stalls within the emporium. Siohban of Little Denim, makes recycled denim cushions and hats and sells them at Birds Yard:
“The market is fantastic, it has given independents in Sheffield, designers and sellers and even little businesses the chance to come into the city centre and people who wouldn’t normally see them have been coming across them.”
Siobhan thinks it is ‘brilliant’ that there is a national independents day. She said:
“We need to do something big to be able to make people aware that they don’t have to go to all these chain stores and big corporate businesses, that there are little people working in their kitchens and their small studios making amazing things. It is hard for small businesses to promote themselves and this is just a really good way of doing it.
“Sheffield is an amazing place for new designers and new businesses coming up but I think on a national scale the only way to do it is to just shout about it.”
Siobhan said they are very grateful for the support of the Sheffield City Council: “The city centre really needs new businesses coming in, we’re always overshadowed by places like Meadowhall and there are other things the council can be doing to make it easier for people to come and shop in Sheffield city centre. But having the council help us tell everybody that we are here is amazing.”
The Independents’ Day campaign has been run by the National Skills Academy for Retail over the past three years. This year the academy are offering training and business support to independent retailers at a low cost, depending on their location. The package is available to help retailers to grow their business and assist them to survive in the current economic climate.
Jane Rexworthy, Head of the National Skills Academy for Retail, said:
“Independent retailers make up 92% of all retail businesses in the UK and their contribution to a location’s identity and community is unrivalled. We recognise how important they are and we are delighted to help give independent retailers a voice to reach out the public.
“We also want to raise awareness among the independent retailers of the vast amount of support and training that is now available at a substantially reduced price, to assist them in acquiring and improving essential skills which can really make a difference to their bottom line.”
Deborah Moon, who’s company Moonko supports emerging artists and graduates, hopes the council will hold markets like the Independents’ Day market every month. Moonko helps to sell artists’ ethical products and jewellery and works with other organisations to support designers and creatives and organise exhibitions. She said:
“It is really important to raise awareness of independent businesses in Sheffield and it is vital for the council to be behind small businesses in today’s economic climate.”
Plantology is an independent florist on Division street, offering bespoke and unique flower arrangements since 1995. Elizabeth, assistant manager at Plantology said:
“It’s nice to see lots of other independents in one place and it is good because a lot of people may not know we exist.”
“It’d be nice to have more independent shops in the city centre and I think it’d be good for Sheffield’s economy.”
A disappointing turnout
Whilst it was great to see so many independents represented at the Saturday market, there was a lack of atmosphere, no independent music, entertainment or food and drinks stalls to attract people and a sense that the market had not turned out as it was intended.
Lauren from CherryOnTopVintage based at The Nichols Building Vintage agreed:
“Today is smaller than I expected, we can’t complain, we’ve had a good day, we’ve got the name out there a lot and we have had a couple of sales between us, so we have done well. But I think everyone was expecting a little bit more promotion and a little bit more oomph behind it but it is a good start, it is good that the council is trying to recognise independents.”
“Things like this are really good to promote that independent is the way to go. Although I think the market could have been promoted more, there are a lot of young, trendy people who like independent businesses and I feel like they have not been targeted enough for this, however I can see the difficulty in promoting it.”
If you missed this market or would like to attend another The Nichols Building Vintage are holding their Midsummer Vintage Market on Sunday July 7 from 12-5pm.
The market will showcase the buildings vintage, art and crafts as well as the additional music, ice cream, crepes, beer, open studios and tarot readings.
£1 of the £2 entry will be donated to the pet rescue charity Rain Rescue
For more information go to: https://www.facebook.com/events/556499771055579/