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Shop Small Or Loose Us All

It’s a tough world out there at the moment and never more so than for small independent business. Fall in high street shoppers and rise in rates/bills etc it’s a tough fight and one that people don’t always see.

So today I was very sad to read that a lovely small business in Exeter  had their weeks takings stolen from inside their shop. Small businesses work so hard to make money that this will be hard for them to get over but like most small businesses they are strong and determined and will survive this. But they will need help from you! We all do.

Shop small and shop local. We are seeing big high street names closing at an alarming rate so imagine how hard it is for small independent businesses and I don’t just mean wool shops or craft shops I mean your local butcher, green grocer, farm shop, florist, bakers, indie dyers, dress shops, deli and a whole heap of other shops that are run by one or two people.

I would like to give you all a little insight into what running a business on your own is like. It’s not just 9 to 5 shut the shop door and your day is over.

Personally I run the shop on my own, I have a husband in the military and a 7 year old son.  If he get’s sick or it’s a school holiday I have to have time off their is no other option. I have tried bringing him to the shop but after an hour he is bored. If my husband is away there is no sit and social of an evening as babysitters start at £10 an hour I would be working to pay the sitter. People ask why don’t I get someone in to cover these days, the simple answer is the cost and also I don’t have insurance to cover having staff (again this is another cost) many friends have offered to do it for free but the insurance is the thing that stops this.

I have had to reduce the opening times of the shop. I did this for a few reasons 1) My health. Many of you will know i’ve had sepsis twice this year and I am still struggling to get over this. 2) It’s not worth me being open 5 day’s a week I just don’t have enough customers to make paying the electricity bill worth while. 3) and this is probably the biggest reason. I need time to do the mundane stuff that comes with running a shop. I was finding myself doing invoices, stock take, accounts, website stuff at 1 am and this is not good for anyone.

So even though im not in the shop on Monday & Wednesday I am still very much working and at the same time getting my personal time back.

A typical day for me used to be up at 5.30 do the morning routine of getting my husband and son ready for work/school then open the shop at 9.15 work till 3, go get my little boy. Home by 3.30 then start the dinner do some house jobs, play with my little boy, do homework. 7pm is bed time this takes about an hour. 8pm switch laptop on, reply to emails, send invoices, order stock, do accounts, work on website. 11pm maybe go to be if it was a Tuesday I would be back at the shop for 6.30 till 9.30pm then I would come home and do the stuff I would normally start at 7. When you do all this and all you’ve taken that day is £4.85 it’s pretty deflating and makes you question what the heck you are doing.

December is seen as a busy month for shops as Christmas approaches so please do seek out those small little shops that make your high street vibrant, and different. People are always complaining how they don’t have a local yarn store, butchers, bakers or green grocer and the answer to that is if YOU DON’T USE THEM YOU LOOSE THEM!

So what is this waffle really about? Owning a small business is often a one person job and it’s a hard slog for not a lot in return. We do it because we are passionate about what we do and we want to stay on the high street but we are up against the big online stores and supermarkets and it’s tough. People think that buying on line is cheaper but at what cost is it really? I know for my shop on a lot of stuff im only a penny to 20p more expensive than the big on line retailers so ask yourself would you rather save that penny and support a big company or spend it local and keep a small independent business on the high street.

Don’t moan when we are gone.

Warm Woolly Wishes

Lucy x

 

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