July is Independent Retailer Month

We were chuffed to be recently highlighted by the Interior Designers at Yellow Brick Road Design in their blog discussing independent retail interiors in the current age. We thoroughly enjoyed reading their thoughts on retail, design and our place as businesses in our communities. Read on for the full piece ...

There is a growing number of movements which are creeping up in support of Independent retailers, highlighting their place in communities, not just in our local area but around the globe.  It comes as no news to read that retail is going through a transient phase as it reconfigures its place in our busy, ever demanding lifestyle. The knock on effect is the demise of not only our towns but purpose built shopping malls and mixed use developments as even the larger more global brands struggle to keep afloat!

July is 'Independent Retailer Month' a global shop local campaign that has run annually since 2011. Its aim is to encourage consumers to shop at independent retailers by highlighting their positive social and economic impact - locally, nationally and globally. July is a time to celebrate the independent retailers that help to build our economy, creating more sustainable cities, towns and communities. 

Another movement based in the UK is the #justacard campaign. Aimed at encouraging people to purchase off Designers/Makers, Independent Galleries and Shops by reinforcing the message that all purchases, however small, even 'just a card' are so vital to the prosperity and survival of small businesses. These shops are at the heart of a diverse local economy, they generate consumer traffic,  breathing life and diversity into our cities, towns and villages.

One of the more zany campaigns #letsgiveashit - coined by the outspoken Retail Futurist, Howard Saunders. #letsgiveashit is aimed at encouraging the more doudy, soulless, grimy independent stores - the ones we have become so accustomed to that we hardly notice - or 'Shit Shops' as he so blatantly puts it, to spruce themselves up. The thinking behind it is that up to 90% of London retail is made up of sellers who give little or no thought to the impact the dowdy façade, jumbled window arrangement, spray of tacky posters and faded signage that form the backdrop to so many of our streets, communities and overall vista create.

We need to support Independent retailers and they need to support us. Every purchase counts for the independent, but the experience must also be a joy for the customer. Retailers need to attract customers by creating spaces that are as engaging as their budget will allow. They need to create new in-store experiences to attract customers, spaces that customers can fall in love with.  The Eclectic town of Totnes, Devon is one where the 'independent' is celebrated. Almost every store has a its own unique story to tell and this shines through in the products they sell. These shops are not just selling 'stuff' they are selling passion, inspiration and loyalty.  Their interior design and ambience would hold their own in any major town or city. They are reacting in a positive way to the future of retail trends, consumer demands and community spirit. They have retained the theory that 'Retail' is indeed 'Therapy'. Each of these stores have answered the current brief stating that customers want engaging spaces that they can relate to, one that makes them feel part of a community, that shows them respect and ultimately makes them feel good.

 COLONY: This fashion and accessories store follows the current global trend of 'Mindfulness' by incorporating design elements that reflect the natural environment. Their fixtures utilise natural and sustainable materials that create a sense of serenity throughout the space, while foliage intertwined in the units breath vitality and life into the store.  Although the design and layout is simple, nothing is left to chance, every detail is carefully considered, every product placement is arranged and rearranged until it is just right and this attention to detail is reflected in their customer service. Their fashion and accessory style is a thoughtful assortment of products they know their specific customer would love, rather then cluttering the eye with an assortment of ranges, they stick to one style and they OWN it. ( 51C Fore St, Totnes TQ9 5MJ )

COLONY: This fashion and accessories store follows the current global trend of 'Mindfulness' by incorporating design elements that reflect the natural environment. Their fixtures utilise natural and sustainable materials that create a sense of serenity throughout the space, while foliage intertwined in the units breath vitality and life into the store.

Although the design and layout is simple, nothing is left to chance, every detail is carefully considered, every product placement is arranged and rearranged until it is just right and this attention to detail is reflected in their customer service. Their fashion and accessory style is a thoughtful assortment of products they know their specific customer would love, rather then cluttering the eye with an assortment of ranges, they stick to one style and they OWN it. ( 51C Fore St, Totnes TQ9 5NJ )