Thursday, 6 July 2017

the rise of the independent shop

Social media, a loathed aspect of the age of technological abundance and can breed a society of self hating millennials (or anyone over the age of twelve) yet social media is sometimes overlooked for the wonderful connections it allows between place and places. What am I talking about? Independent shops.

Alongside a rise in young people choosing to go to independents stores as an alternative to chain brands (especially restaurants), social media has also aided the rise in the independent store. On my trip to bath last week there was a wide range of independent shops, selling books, magazines, clothes and so much more. Where did I find the best picks? Just type into google ‘independent shops ...’ and you’ll be met with a number of local shops for you to visit.


On Liv Purvis' blog she had plenty of Bath recommendations and I instantly leaped at the sight of the magazine shop Magalleria. A cacophony of different magazine types, the people who worked there were so friendly, knowledgeable and willing to help. Despite the price of the magazines (bear in mind these are not the type of magazines you would find in your local WHSmith) they were too stunning not to buy and I settled with The Messy Heads and The Gentlewoman - you may have spotted them in my wishlist post, they're beautiful and the articles are so eloquently written. It's amazing to see such great work being displayed and the inspiration was rife in this shop... I definitely had to restrict myself from buying most of these magazines. 


Why buy independent though? Cast aside from the chain stores we all know such as Topshop and Zara, independent shops have so much more to offer than just a product you need. Often the pace is much slower and you can really talk to the people that work there who, a lot of the time, know a lot more about what they're selling than in other retail environments. They care about what they're selling and you're buying into much more than what they're selling, you're buying into a community and a sense of creative fulfillment.


Perhaps an overlooked reason of why you should buy independently is when you shop at an independent, you’re putting money back into your local community, or the area that you’re visiting. The profits are put back into the store and into the area to help it to thrive. They allow a sense of community that is bought back to it's roots of and allows the establishment of a sense of character to a town or city. When visiting a new place the first thing I do is search for the best independent shops because you can find a chain store almost anywhere; an independent shop? Well it's unique to that place and I think that is what makes them so great, you cannot find them anywhere else.  
Each store has its own niche to provide something for everyone on the high street. In my local town there are lots of little independent shops but in cities you need to hunt; except when you do you may find some hidden treasures. This is why social media has played such a huge part in the rise of independent shops because their location and niche is so accessible and people are voicing their views on the internet. Most shops have their own social media account in which you can browse (and possibly even buy) a new unique and special gift or product. 

I would go into more detail about buying independently online but that may have to be for another post, you could spend hours looking at independent fashion brands online and a lot have incredible ethics - most of my ethical fashion finds have been found through Instagram so many this app that has caused so much distress has it's purpose?

“Independent business bring originality and variety in a world that’s becoming increasingly homogenized.” - Craig Costello (Artist and founder, KRINK).


The above quote couldn't be more true, Magalleria is certainly original and varied and it carves a story that is lost through so many shops these days, it's a stream of creative consciousness that has led to something quite remarkable and the rise of independent shops is definitely something that should be celebrated and encouraged. I hope social media can continue to help shops like this flourish and I will certainly be sharing more shops like this on my blog, there is no way I would let a charming business like Magalleria go unnoticed, it needs to have a light shone on its brilliance like so many other shops.

If we don't shout about these shops then they have the capability to fold and as Laila wrote in a recent post about the closure of an independent Vegan restaurant called Campbell's, she doesn't want places like this to close. It may not be a shop but it's certainly independent and although on the topic of Veganism it can span to shops to. We need to spread the word about these places for they will otherwise be consumed by larger and more established stores and restaurants, or even worse be left as a shall of its former brilliance.
It took me a while to realise that my friends were stood behind the window, possibly one of my favourite pics ever

If you were unsure if there were any independent shops near where you live, google will thoroughly help you out. I urge you to go to your local town and find some independent shops because they are so special and I think have a lot more sentiment than your usual chain brand - you may even find a gem of a purchase. Share them on social media and let the world know that yes they should visit, yes they need to dine at this great cafe or restaurant and of course they need to encourage people. Are there any independent stores near your area that you love? Let me know your recommendations! 

lots of love, eleanor xx
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9 comments

  1. My town is a bit rubbish and we don't have a huge amount of independent stores. We do have an independent record store though, and I have to stop myself going in there all the time because I love it. I love the idea of supporting independent places, you're completely right about a slower pace and supporting the local community. We just got back from Canada and a lot of the places we visited had loads of independent shops and cafes and you could really feel the slower pace and community feel in those towns.

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    1. I totally agree with you, my town has a record store as well and it's just lovely to go and browse because the shops are all so unique it's great :)

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  2. I think there's also a tangibility about independent shops that is so special. Chains feel so fast paced and meaningless, you get much more character from an off-brand, hole in the wall shop. Great post!

    LEXI LIKES

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    1. Thank you Lexi! I get what you mean, the bigger the brand the less character in their shop x

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  3. I am so inspired to look for an independent shop in my town/area. To be honest, I am not sure I have ever been in one. Giving "back" and investing into the local community + discovering gems - it's a win/win situation :)
    xox Nadia
    www.mielandmint.com

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    1. Totally! I just love the idea of putting something back to the place you live in :) x

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  4. wishing I had this amount of independent shops locally! They always look so cute and picture worthy! I must travel to Bath and explore these cute little shops!

    Speak soon,
    Niamh xx

    https://justgrabacuppa.blogspot.co.uk

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  5. Your pictures are amazing! I love independent shops! Especially clothes ones coz you get to find out about small super cool brands! xx corinne

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  6. I love the photos in this post, gorgeous and lovely x

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