Backing small business in a time of crisis

Written by Chloe Roberts

Tags: charity communications crisis fundraising London Media

Here at Stand, we have a morning Stand Up meeting first thing where one of us presents on a topic of our choice, such as talking about which podcasts we’re listening to, great recipes or book recommendations. This week’s was led by Lucy Chapple, our head of client strategy, who’s topic of choice was supporting small business.

Supporting local has always been something we do at Stand. Back when we were in the office, we had weekly deliveries of fresh fruit and milk from the local shop and enjoyed many a trip to the street food market on Leather Lane.

But with the outbreak of coronavirus, which has left many small independents at risk, it’s become even more important. There are a whole host of ways you can show your support; from ordering gift cards to taking part in online classes, shopping locally – both on and offline – to keep our small businesses going through this difficult time.

Since spending time on the idyllic Cornish coast, Lucy has discovered a few new favourite independent businesses. Here, we’ve put together a list of some of our favourites from St Ives to west Wales.
Yallah Coffee

Kicking things off is Lucy with Yallah Coffee. Yallah’s special Colombian coffee grounds and beans are finding their way into coffee shops and restaurants across the country. Using a sailboat to import the beans into the UK made the first leg of their voyage almost entirely carbon neutral.

Beyond the carbon emission savings, the company is also helping to shorten supply chains – all of its coffee is single origin, highly traceable and sourced from the best and most sustainable farms.

Iris Violet
Laura’s choice is Iris Violet, the ultimate fashion and lifestyle destination store (until coronavirus forced it to shut its doors). Good news is, it’s all available online and stocking a whole host of incredible but affordable British, French and Scandinavian brands and unique handmade goods that aren’t currently available elsewhere.

Alis Knits
Eryl has chosen Alis Knits , a small, mainly Instagram-based business that creates really unique and cool knitwear, t-shirts and sweatshirts. From Alis’s home in west Wales and using skills she learnt during her Textiles degree, she does all the knitting herself and often focuses her designs around the Welsh language, which really speaks to her audience base.

What’s also great is now that she’s built a bit of a cult following on social media, she uses her platform to raise awareness of other small business, doing collaborations and sharing their posts and products, which is a great way to find a new generation of Welsh creators.

Giovanni’s Room
Chloe’s pick is Giovanni’s Room in Crouch End, a café-come-bar serving the best Italian coffee, wine and Aperitivo.

Giovanni’s specialises in meats, cheese and vegetarian boards and carefully selects its wines from small, independent Italian wineries. They’re also big on all things cultural and art-related, with an in-house library full of magazines, books and records.

One of the biggest factors in Chloe’s decision to move to Crouch End was just how many independent shops there are. There’s a real community feel to the place and Giovanni’s is so cosy, friendly and welcoming, you feel right at home.
For Rakhee it’s Gujutots, run by Smitty Hindocha.

Smitty spotted that lots of second-generation Indians, like Rakhee, are speaking to their kids in English (not Gujarati) and therefore, the third generation might miss out on this part of their heritage – the language their grandparents and ancestors spoke fluently.

She set up Gujutots – fun, face to face classes for kids age 0-5, to teach them Gujarati through songs and stories.

Then coronavirus happened, and she had to adapt her business model. So, she went online and offered classes via Zoom and increased the age range up to 12. Moving her business online meant there was no geographical restriction, so she now has customers all over the world! She also reduced the price of her classes to £5 per child and offers weekend classes so that parents who are home-schooling in the week can join.

As a result of these quick adaptations she is doing really well and spreading the joy of her beautiful songs to the nation’s Gujarati children.
23 Code Street
Salonee has chosen 23 Code Street, a coding school on a mission to empower all women from all walks of life with the skills and confidence to be technical.

The company was founded with the intention of creating a more diverse technology industry. The historic lack of diversity affects the products and services that are produced and who they are targeted at, so 23 Code Street is helping to build a workforce that is more representative of the people it serves, or should be serving.

Katie Marie Aromatherapy
Grace’s firm favourite is Katie Marie Aromatherapy.

Katie is a training aromatherapist and applies her knowledge to creating candles with essential oils for good. For example, to alleviate anxiety, promote calm and lift mood.

These mood boosting benefits have been a real lifesaver in lockdown! She hand pours all her candles, so each one is personal and unique, created with real passion and care, and the candles are natural soy wax, so are sustainable and not harmful to the environment.

Emmy Lupin Studio
Becky’s choice is Emmy Smith, the exceptionally talented illustrator behind Emmy Lupin Studio.

Raised in Nottingham and currently based in London, Emmy’s work centres around illustrating life through a female lens, with a focus on empowerment and positivity.

It seems everyone could do with a boost right now, so Becky’s been buying batches of cards from Emmy and sending these out to friends and family. Her designs are sassy, playful and empowering. Nothing like a bit of surprise snail mail to make people smile.
Beth recently bought from Chichester based Chi-Africa, a company with a purpose and a great back story. The company’s ethos is ‘Recycled.Reused.Reclaimed’ and it produces handmade, recycled garden sculptures created in partnership with craftsmen in Zimbabwe.

Beth bought three of their poppies for the garden. Every sculpture is really unique and sustainably sourced.


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