Posts Tagged ‘entrepreneurs’

From empty slots to pop-up shops

Friday, June 28th, 2013

No-one can miss the increasing number of empty, shuttered-up shops on our High Streets. Even here in Harrogate- a town previously renowned as being ‘recession proof’ we have the largest number of empty shops around town that I have seen since moving here 12 years ago, with both Independent and household name businesses closing.

Are people spending less on the High Street and more online?

Are business rents and rates too high for the smaller independent shops to afford?

Are parking costs putting people off, driving people to drive to out-of-town shopping malls where parking is free?

Here at Chiggs we practice what we preach, and really try to shop at our local independent retailers- buying meat from the butcher; fruit and veg from an excellent, knowledgeable greengrocers right in the centre of Harrogate; cards and presents from the gorgeous Magpie Greetings  (where Baby Feed Wheels and Get Well Wheels are also available!); and last December we held Holly’s birthday party at Pots 2 Go ceramic cafe in town (also a Chiggs stockist!)

Various initiatives have been started to try to help independent businesses. Mary Portas was appointed by the Government to lead a review into the future of Britain’s high streets (as mentioned previously on the Chiggs blog )- her recommendations generated many column inches in the newspapers- and the annual Independent Retailer Month will again be running throughout the month of July.

Pop-up shops have also started, well, popping up- taking over empty retail units on short term leases. While providing some rent for the landlord and filling an empty shop, albeit temporarily, pop up shops also give entrepreneurs an opportunity to try out their business model without  a huge outlay and tying themselves into the financial commitment of a long lease agreement.

Pop Up Britain (part of Start Up Britain) has recently opened a flagship pop-up shop on London’s famous King’s Road.  The outlet will offer short-term opportunities to start-ups and micro businesses from all over the country over a 12 month period. The fabulous news is that Chiggs stockist Hello Baby Gifts has been selected from over 800 applicants to have a shop, and will be taking their gorgeous baby gifts, hampers and nappy cakes (and of course Baby Feed Wheels!) to Kings’ Road in the first 2 weeks of August.

BabyExpo Brighton free ticket offer.

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

BabyExpo Brighton is taking place on the 30th of June at Brighton Racecourse & Conference Centre, Sussex.

Aimed at providing information and shopping opportunities for young families and parents-to-be, there will be over 150 exhibitors attending, with displays, stalls and family-friendly catering.

A wide variety of activities will also be on offer: demo classes, parenting experts, book signings, face painters, baby massage, playzones, meet the midwives, the Natural Parenting Zone, and the ‘mumandworking’ flexible working zone for Sussex-based budding entrepreneurs!

Tickets can be bought in advance for a reduced price of £3 , or bought on the door for £4, however I have received an email from ‘What’s on 4’, who organise the event offering free tickets for the Brighton BabyExpo- click on the link here . As a bonus, goodie bags will be available for the 1st 500 visitors who are advance ticket holders.

Parentskool will be one of the exhibitors at the BabyExpoUK in Brighton- they offer fun, practical and evidence-based  antenatal classes for first time parents in Sussex and beyond, and as part of their classes recommend the Baby Feed Wheel as a useful, new parent feeding equipment must-have!

Baby milk powder ‘rationing’ hits UK supermarkets

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

I heard a report on BBC Radio 2 lunchtime programme yesterday about the shortages of baby milk formula hitting British supermarkets.  Due to an increase in demand in China for foreign made powdered baby milk, some UK shops (Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons) have said the purchase of certain brands would be limited to two units per customer per day.

Danone, who make Aptamil and Cow & Gate baby milk powder, apparently asked for the restrictions, and said most supermarkets were introducing a restriction of two cans per customer in order to prevent some individuals from bulk-buying baby milk for “unofficial exports”. Retailers have put the same limits on sales of SMA milk, despite the makers Nestle saying there were no stock shortages.

So what is going on? Foreign-made baby formula is popular in China- worried about potentially dangerous levels of hormones and chemicals sometimes found in Chinese baby formula, go to great lengths (and are willing to pay a premium price) to buy foreign brands. Their fears are not without foundation- in 2008 a locally-manufactured formula containing the industrial chemical melamine killed six infants and caused illness in another c.300,000.

Due to the higher prices Chinese parents are willing to pay, there are big profits to be made selling foreign formula, and it seems people have been buying in bulk to (unofficially) export to China, or send over to relatives. Since the introduction of restrictions in UK supermarkets, there has also been an increase in sales as Mums have been stocking up on their favourite brand- which in turn has led to shortages on the shelves.  On a local Harrogate Mums Facebook page, ladies are reporting near empty shelves in the local Morrisons and Asda.

It seems some entrepreneurs are hoping to make a quick buck without the hassle of international shipping, and cans of baby milk are selling on eBay for twice the shop price. 

Time for a “Keep Calm and Don’t Panic Buy” government poster?!