Posts Tagged ‘High Street’

New Year 2018, and marking 12 years in business!

Monday, January 15th, 2018

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Year period.

In the lead-up to Christmas, Chiggs passed a milestone, as I celebrated 12 years in business!
The 15th of December 2005 was the day I took delivery of my very first print run of Baby Feed Wheels… just 1,500 at the time, 500 each of blue, pink and lemon (or ‘yellow’ as they were known then) 🙂

The High Street has changed dramatically since those days, my cards were very quickly stocked in a number of card shops and baby goods shops, and I’ve supplied an enormous number of different retailers over the last 12 years. The vast majority of these independent shops, however, are no longer in business.

It’s tough out there for small businesses like mine! Over the last few months, as I’ve fulfilled orders from my remaining stockists, and my stocks of the latest print run of Baby Feed Wheels have reduced, I’ve been considering the future of Chiggs.

 

I feel I’ve come too far to give up on my small business now! Yes, times are tough, but I’ve made a few changes, tried to reduce overheads as much as possible, and in October I took delivery of another print run of Baby Feed Wheels from our lovely, fellow family-run printing firm in Lancashire. Here’s to the next 12 years in business!

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.

I’ve had a rash…

Friday, January 27th, 2012

…of trade magazines delivered this week, covering all the industry sectors Chiggs Wheels overlap- nursery, greeting cards and gifts. Mary Portas’s review into the future of the UK High Street, commissioned by the Prime Minister last May,  has created a lot of interest and debate. Greetings Today Magazine discussed the report in it’s leader, while Nursery Industry Magazine carried an in-depth article setting out Mary’s 28 suggestions- ranging from a National Market Day to encourage potential shopkeepers, to free parking schemes to help bring customers back in to town centres. There are a lot of sensible, and what seem to be implementable (might have just made that word up…) ideas, and it will be interesting to see what the Government response is. It seems the wheels of Whitehall turn slowly, as the official response is sheduled for “spring”.

Given the press coverage Mary Portas’s recommendations received, and the interest in small businesses and the future of the UK High Street, it seems pertinent to mention an email I received this week giving advance notice of Independent Retailer Month 2012, which will be running throughout July this year.  This campaign aims to encourage people to ‘shop local’ by highlighting the important role that smaller, local, independent retailers play in the communities they serve and the local economy they contribute to.

And in Chiggs’s unofficial role of Independent Retailer Cheerleader (self-appointed) we’ll be running a new series of blog posts- “Stockist Spotlight”- to give an insight into the businesses we are fortunate to work with, and supply with Chiggs Wheels. We hope it will encourage our readers to visit, support and buy from local or online ‘Indies’, or even provide the inspiration for someone to start their own business!