Posted in gifts, independent retail, small businesses, support uk

Fiver fest

We are taking part in Fiver fest.

Choosing to shop with your local businesses instead of the larger chain stores has many benefits, some of which we are sure will surprise you. As this is the case, we thought we would put together 15 of the best reasons why you should choose your local independent business over a large, commercial supplier. We cover everything from how this decision can help improve the economy and environment to how it can also help to increase tourism and local jobs.

The local economy

Local businesses are the backbone of our economy, the epitome of the UK high street and often large tourist attractions. But what you may not know is that shopping at a local business, rather than a large chain, is actually better for the economy of your community. To ensure a strong and sustainable local economy foundation people need to buy locally. Research shows that £10 spent with a local independent shop means up to an additional £50 goes back into the local economy. This is simply because the nearby shop owners, who you are spending your money with, will then put that money back into your local community by going into local pubs and restaurants etc, thus circulating the money and allowing your community to thrive.

Shopping with and investing in local businesses means you can have a very strong and positive effect on the health of the local jobs in your area. Small, local businesses are surprisingly the largest employer of jobs nationally and provide the most local jobs to communities. Not only this, but local employers are more likely to pay a higher average wage than their commercial chain counterparts. Helping to grow the number of jobs in your area makes for a better place to live and work which then creates a healthy economy for the community.

Personality and character

The fantastic thing about independent businesses is that they are run by people, not by boards, stockholders or algorithms. As they are run by local people you will usually find that the business/shops building is in keeping with aesthetic of the area, adding character to the community and a touch of warm, welcoming personality. This natural authenticity will always be more popular than a chain, no matter where in the country.

Customer service and shopping experience

Although many chain businesses do have good customer service, you can’t beat the personal touch of a local owner who knows everyone in the neighbourhood. They can offer you a product that is suitable for you, your house and even your area. Building relationships between the local owner and the local customer goes further than just a purchase. It is also worth remembering that local shops stock an inventory based on their own customer’s choices rather than national fashion trends. This is so you can find what you want rather than finding what they want to sell you.

Healthier environment

This one might surprise you, but choosing a local company over a chain can actually have a positive impact on the environment. This is because the majority of local companies are found on the high street and are within walking distance, rather than a drive away to the nearest large shopping centre. If more people chose to pop to the local high street rather than driving to the superstores, this would considerably reduce air pollution, reduce traffic and improve the quality of the nation’s high streets.

Originality and individuality

In a world that is becoming increasingly dominated by chain stores, which have been designed to look the same, independent businesses bring much-needed originality and variety into communities. They can be a real breath of fresh air into an area populated by generic stores and companies.

Through supporting your local businesses, you are actually helping to support local entrepreneurs who once may not have had a chance of getting their company started. Through more people choosing the smaller, local option over the larger chain businesses it is allowing more entrepreneurs to get their foot in the door, thus making for a very healthy economy.

Help to create the identity

Some local businesses will actually help shape the identity of the area. A high street filled with unique, vibrant and colourful shops will attract more tourism and help to make the community a more popular and financially healthier area in which to live and work. There are many places around the UK that are known for exactly this. Places such as Camden, Manchester and Glasgow are all full of local companies thriving thanks to a healthy view of independent businesses.

Local business for local charities

Buying locally means that you are actually supporting your own community in more ways than you think. This is because many local businesses support local charities that are particularly relevant to that area, and by shopping locally you are helping to increase the number of local donations. Of course, large chain companies do support charities, and there is no right or wrong one to support, but if you would prefer to help support a local one then buying locally is a great way of doing this.
Healthy competition

The reason local companies have such great and competitive prices is purely thanks to healthy competition. This, of course, goes for all types of companies. A marketplace of thousands of small businesses is the most reliable way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.

Tradition

Supporting your local business over their larger, international rivals is somewhat of a British tradition. Unlike other countries, who have allowed the chain stores and companies to completely take over their high streets, Britain has always tried to keep the focus on local businesses. We can be a stubborn country who like to keep their traditions going for as long as possible, and in this case we are right to do so.

Without the creativity and innovative nature of local businesses and entrepreneurs, industries wouldn’t advance at the rate that they are. Take for instance the coffee shop. Currently at the peak of popularity, chain coffee shops are actually following in the footsteps of independent coffee shops right now. They are doing what they can to blend more into the community and seem more authentic. This is happening all over Great Britain and is all thanks to the innovation of local businesses.

Local government incentives

Local governments often provide tax incentives to entice nationally-owned companies to their communities. However, if these corporations are paying less in taxes it means that local residents are paying more. But, when you buy from local companies it lessens individual tax burdens and creates up to 75 per cent more tax revenues for your community.

If things go wrong

It’s important to know that if anything was to go wrong you have a local company to go to, someone to talk face to face with. Large commercial companies will often provide you with a phone number for their customer service team, which is often not in the UK, and make you wait for what seems like an eternity until you get to speak to someone. This simply is not the case with a local business. They will often prefer to meet up face to face, rather than on the phone, and find out exactly how they can help fix the problem.

Posted in British gifts, British travel, gifts, support uk

Mary Quant

Inventive, opinionated and commercially minded, Mary Quant was the most iconic fashion designer of the 1960s. A design and retail pioneer, she popularised super-high hemlines and other irreverent looks that were critical to the development of the ‘Swinging Sixties’ scene. Our fashion collections include examples of her famous designs from across the 1960s and 1970s.

Mary Quant was born and brought up in Blackheath, London, the daughter of two Welsh schoolteachers. Following her parents’ refusal to let her attend a fashion course, Quant studied illustration at Goldsmiths, where she met her future husband, the aristocrat Alexander Plunket Greene. She graduated in 1953 with a diploma in art education, and began an apprenticeship at a high-end milliner, Erik of Brook Street. In 1955, Plunket Greene purchased Markham House on the King’s Road in Chelsea, London, an area frequented by the ‘Chelsea Set’ – a group of young artists, film directors and socialites interested in exploring new ways of living – and dressing.

Quant was a self-taught designer, attending evening classes on cutting and adjusting mass-market printed patterns to achieve the looks she was after. Once technically proficient, she initiated a hand-to-mouth production cycle: the day’s sales at Bazaar paid for the cloth that was then made up overnight into new stock for the following day. Although exhausting, this cottage-industry approach meant that the rails at Bazaar were continually refreshed with short runs of new designs, satisfying the customers’ hunger for fresh, unique looks at competitive prices.

From the late 1950s to the early 1960s, Bazaar was one of very few shops in London that offered an alternative to the ‘mature’ styles produced by other high-fashion designers. It also offered a radically different shopping experience than the couturiers, department stores and chain stores that made up the mainstream fashion market. At Bazaar, loud music, free drinks, witty window displays and extended opening hours created a ‘scene’ that often kept going late into the evening. Young women travelled to Bazaar to enjoy shopping for ‘something different’ in a much less formal environment.

Quant’s developing aesthetic was influenced by the dancers, musicians and Beatnik street chic of the Chelsea Set, and the Mods (short for ‘Modernists’), a powerful subculture that helped to define London’s youth culture in late-1950s Britain, with their love of Italian sportswear, sharp tailoring and clean outlines. Quant’s first collections were strikingly modern in their simplicity, and very wearable. Unlike the more structured clothes still popular with couturiers, Quant wanted “relaxed clothes suited to the actions of normal life”. Pairing short tunic dresses with tights in bright, stand-out colours – scarlet, ginger, prune and grape – she created a bold, high-fashion version of the practical outfits she’d worn as a child at school and at dance classes.

Mary Quant and Alexander Plunket Greene, 1963. © Mirrorpix/Robert Young
Left to right: dress design, Mary Quant, mid 1960s, UK. Museum no. E.525-1975. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Wool pinafore sleeveless dress with A-line skirt, Mary Quant for Bazaar, late 1950s, UK. Museum no. T.219-1995. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Havoc is classified as a gorgeous powdery mossy, green, aldehydic chypre with a floral that begins with a tantalizing floral creme broule. It gradually settles down to a really lovely retro mix of green floracy and a faint musk. It is a very rare and hard to find perfume. This Fragrance was originally produced back in the 1970’S by MARY QUANT.

Mary Quant today.

Posted in British gifts, British travel, ceramics, countrylife, countryside, gifts, gifts for her, gifts for him, historic places uk, independent retail, stationery, wedding

Laura Ashley

Laura Ashley is another iconic British brand , known for fashion , interiors and accessories. It’s a company which has been on a knife’s edge financially for many years but still it has a high street presence.

Although Laura Ashley might not be to everyone’s taste and boy does it have competition, I feel there is still room in our hearts for this brand.

You might think now this dress is damn right ridiculous but in the day her designs were sought after and contemporary.

Laura Ashley (7 September 1925 – 17 September 1985) was a Welshfashion designer and businesswoman. She originally made furnishing materials in the 1950s, expanding the business into clothing design and manufacture in the 1960s. The Laura Ashley style is characterised by Romantic English designs — often with a 19th-century rural feel — and the use of natural fabrics.

While working as a secretary and raising her first two children, Ashley undertook some development work for the Women’s Institute on quilting. Revisiting the craft she had learnt with her grandmother, she began designing headscarves, napkins, table mats and tea-towels which Bernard printed on a machine he had designed in their attic flat at 83 Cambridge Street, Pimlico.[2]

The couple had invested £10 in wood for the screen frame, dyes and a few yards of linen. Ashley’s inspiration to start producing printed fabric came from a Women’s Institute display of traditional handicrafts at the Victoria & Albert Museum. When Ashley looked for small patches carrying Victorian designs to help her make patchworks, she found no such thing existed. Here was an opportunity, and she started to print Victorian style headscarves in 1953.

The scarves quickly became successful – retailing both via mail order and at high street chains such as John Lewis – and Bernard left his City job to print fabrics full-time.[3] The company was originally registered as Ashley Mountney (Laura’s maiden name), but Bernard changed the name to Laura Ashley because he felt a woman’s name was more appropriate for the type of products they were producing. The new company moved to Kent in 1955, but when the third of their four children was born, the family moved to Wales in 1960.[4]

Laura Ashley’s first shop was opened at 35 Maengwyn Street, MachynllethMontgomeryshire, in 1961.[5] The Laura Ashley association is commemorated by a small plaque. The shop sold locally produced honey, walking sticks as well as the couple’s own products. Here Laura worked with a seamstress to introduce their first forays into fashion, producing smock like shirts and gardening smocks. The family lived above the shop until moving to CarnoMontgomeryshire. They first set up in the vacant social club, but moved in 1967 to the local railway station, which had been closed two years earlier.[4]

Laura Ashley has slumped to an annual loss of more than £14m after a collapse in demand for its signature floral home furnishings.

The retailer said Brexit concerns had hit consumer confidence and stopped shoppers from making big-ticket purchases or starting big DIY projects.

At the same time, the housing market has slowed and house moves are key to the health of specialist retailers like Laura Ashley. As a result, like-for-like furniture sales were down 9% and demand for its decorating products, which include curtains and wallpaper, was down nearly 14%.

It is a great shame that this company was sold to Malaysian Holdings and shop closures are anticipated with further job losses.

Posted in British gifts, British travel, gifts, gifts for her, small businesses, stationery, support uk

Caroline Gardner

West London based Caroline Gardner is best known as one of the UK’s leading stationery and gift designers. Her signature look is an ever evolving modern classic, set apart by a distinctive and playful blend of modern hues and scale. A portfolio drawn together by Caroline’s distinctive design handprint of quirky use of colour and placement.

Caroline Gardner is to moving towards ‘naked’ cards by using an InFold, invented by the company, that holds the card and envelope together while protecting the corner. The branded paper InFold is affixed to the envelope using a plastic-free peelable label.

Caroline Gardner

Caroline Gardner is to moving towards ‘naked’ cards by using an InFold, invented by the company, that holds the card and envelope together while protecting the corner. The branded paper InFold is affixed to the envelope using a plastic-free peelable label.

The InFold design, for which the publisher has applied for a patent on, also provides the opportunity for the company’s branding.

“We feel strongly about reducing the amount of single use cellobags and so set about creating a way of keeping the envelope with the card,” explained Luca Bridges, marketing and independent sales manager of Caroline Gardner.

Posted in British gifts, British travel, chickens, countrylife, countryside, dog lovers, gifts, gifts for him, independent retail, interior design, small businesses, stationery, support uk

Penny lindop designs

ABOUT PENNY LINDOP DESIGNS

A veritable Noah’s Ark of fluffy woolly animals. Quirky art to make you smile.

“Hello, I’m Penny, the artist behind Penny Lindop Designs.

We are a tiny team creating cards, stationery and art work in our rural garden studio on the Norfolk/Suffolk border. We love animals, and it would seem that you do too. Our animal designs are all hand finished with our signature finishing touch of real sheep’s wool. These are distinctive creations which simply make people smile.

We are passionate about our raw materials and where they come from. Handmade papers, made as part of a Water Aid project, are used for most of our artwork; we love these papers, and that their production is sustaining a whole community in India where they are made. Much of our wool comes from small holders across the UK, often from rare or ancient breeds of sheep.

Whether you are looking for a simple card, a special gift or a little treat for yourself, our work is full of joy and offers something just a little bit different.”

Posted in British gifts, candles, countrylife, countryside, gifts, gifts for her, gifts for him, independent retail, skin food, skincare, small businesses

Clovelly candle company

  • The Clovelly Soap Company makes artisan soap and Candles by hand in a converted granary in Clovelly North Devon.
  • Husband and Wife team Sarah and Casie Harper make soap using traditional cold process techniques which give a gentle lather that is kind to your skin and the environment.
  • Scented with natural essential oils spices and botanicals giving subtle muted colours and great fragrance.They specialise in creating bespoke branded ranges for shops hotels B&Bs or stately homes and can work with your brand and colour scheme to make a range just for you.
  • Clovelly also make beautiful bespoke wedding favours tailored to your theme and colour scheme.Family run business in Devon.The Clovelly Soap Company is a small family-run business making beautiful, handcrafted soap, candles and body care products on the historic Clovelly Estate in North Devon. They are passionate about making products that you will love to use and gift.
  • Their recipes, inspired by nature, use spices, clays, flowers and pure therapeutic grade essential oils blended by hand to create their own unique scents.
Posted in #tropic #skincare # natural #kindtoskin #beauty # madeintheuk, animal welfare, box beauty, boxmakeup,boxsubscribe,Sshop, facemasks, sand and sky, makeup in a box, boxed subscriptions, boxclubs, freebie gifts, facial scrubber, benefits, gifts, gifts for her, gifts for him, home produce, independent retail, radiant skin, skin food, skincare

The move towards solid soap.

Five Reasons to Switch to Solid Toiletries

Solid toiletries are the new craze in the beauty world and not just for environmentalists. I switched to solid shampoo about two years ago and have slowly swapped out all of my shower products for solid equivalents. I’m completely sold and don’t feel the need to use liquids again. So if you’re still on the fence or aren’t sure what the fuss is all about, here are the top reasons you should make the switch to solid toiletries!

1. Solid Toiletries are (usually) made of natural ingredients

Natural solid toiletries bars, soap bar, solid shampoo and solid conditioner bars are great eco-friendly alternatives.

Solid toiletries go hand in hand with green living and most brands will avoid using chemicals and other harsh ingredients. This means solid toiletries are kinder to your skin and hair and also great for using while camping or traveling in areas with poor water treatment systems. You can wash at campgrounds or in rivers without worrying about the chemicals you’re putting into the water or onto your body. Do make sure you check the ingredients first though as not all brands are completely natural.

2. They can be plastic-free

Solid toiletries are great alternatives because you can by them plastic free and zero waste. One of the most important reasons to switch to solid toiletries.

The bathroom is one of the biggest areas for plastic bottle use and if you can cut out a couple each month this is making huge progress! Again, some brands miss the whole eco-friendly aspect and wrap solid toiletries in plastic, but most will sell them in paper or cardboard packaging. Solid toiletries are an easy and effective way to cut down on plastic use and with the range on offer these days it’s not difficult to go completely plastic-free with your shower routine.

For more plastic-free ideas read our article: 14 ways to reduce your plastic waste.

3. Solid Toiletries last longer

One bar of shampoo isn’t the same as one bottle. No, solid alternatives will last 2-5 times as long as liquid equivalents which means you don’t need to shop as often and you get more value for money. I find that a shampoo bar lasts me at least six months, a face wash about a year and a block of soap about a month (for two people). This obviously varies between brands and products but solid products are concentrated as they hold no water so 100g of soap will last you a lot longer than 100ml of body wash.

4. They are great for travel

There are no restrictions for solid toiletries in your hand luggage.

If you travel with hand luggage, solid toiletries are the perfect solution to carry on liquid limitations. You can carry them on with you no problem and you won’t have any leaks or spills in your bag! We carry ours in a small Tupperware container but there are also plenty of metal tins and cases that work.

The fact that they last so long also makes them great for longer trips as they’re easy to carry and you don’t have to worry about finding your favourite products overseas. We travelled for 1.5 years with only solid toiletries and could stock up in countries with availability and they lasted us through the months in more remote areas. They were compact, effective and easy for taking along on our trip.

5. They take up less space

Whether it’s in your shower or in a backpack, solid toiletries simply take up less space than their liquid counterparts. Even if you have a bar each for shampoo, conditioner, soap and facewash you only need one shelf in the shower.

One of our most useful solutions for space-saving is to cut them in half and only keep half in the shower/travel case and the other half stored in the bathroom cupboard or shared with a friend! Use a hot knife to slice through your bars to make them more compact. Since even a half lasts a couple of months you can cut them into chunks and fit all your shower supplies into one small container and pop it in your carry on, gym bag or shower shelf.

For more minimalist packing tips read our article about packing light!

Our favourite solid toiletries brands

Blue Earth – This NZ based company makes a great range of shower products in a factory run on solar power. Their products are really affordable which is great news in the expensive world of sustainable living! Their products are available online and also from a range of stockists in NZ and Aus. We love the shampoo bar which foams really well and the lemongrass soap!

Website: www.blueearth.co.nz

Ethique – Another great NZ brand which is available instore in NZ, Aus and now Japan. You can also purchase online through Amazon. They make an incredible range of products which are completely natural and plastic-free. We love the solid laundry bar and shampoo for oily hair.

Website: www.ethiqueworld.com

Ethique has a great range of natural zero waste solid toiletries bars. Check them out and you will find plenty of reasons to switch to solid toiletries.

Lush – This was my first experience with solid toiletries and they’ve since increased their range to include face wash and deodorant as well as soaps and shampoos. Their products look, smell and work amazingly. My only gripe is that they aren’t all completely natural which means they aren’t great for camping, off-grid or developing areas where water goes directly into rivers, gardens or the ocean.

Website: www.lush.com

Amazing solid shampoos from Lush

Ecostore – This is our go-to for body soap as it’s really affordable and stocked in most supermarkets here in NZ. Their bar soap is great and they also do a range of products in bottles made from sugar-cane plastic. You can also find their bulk products at many waste-free supermarkets and refill your own bottle.

Website: www.ecostore.co.nz

Ecostore is a popular NZ brand and has a big range of soap bars.

Dr Bronner’s – These soap bars (also available as a liquid) can supposedly be used for anything; clothing, dishes, bodies, hair etc. We carried one in our luggage in case we ran out of anything while travelling and were unable to find a replacement in the countries we were in. If you want to go super-minimalistic this can be a good all-rounder!

Posted in #tropic #skincare # natural #kindtoskin #beauty # madeintheuk, Uncategorized

party skin

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Name a better duo for soft skin this winter… we'll wait 😍 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Use our Body Smooth Refreshing Polish in the shower to gently buff away dead skin, thanks to the exfoliating organic sea salts. The golden jojoba and macadamia oils left on your skin can also be used as a leg-shaving oil! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Once out of the shower, dry your body with a fluffy towel and massage in our irresistible Whipped Body Velvet Intensely Rich Buttermelt, taking in the sweet coconut and vanilla aromas until skin feels nourished and soft to the touch. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Hit like if you're suddenly craving a warm shower and this body care duo! . . . . . . . . . . #bbloggers #LoveTropic #naturalskincare #naturalbeauty #veganbeauty #veganskincare #crueltyfreebeauty #crueltyfreeproducts #plantpower #plantpowered #beautyblogger #plantbased #bblogger #tropic #greenbeauty #greenbeautyblogger #greenbeautyproducts #greenbeautycommunity #greenbeautylover #goodforyou #skincare #beauty #bodybutter #whippedmoisturiser #bodycream #bodysouffle #dryskin #naturalbodycream #bodybutters #vegancream

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